That ammonia smell in Oak Cliff
February 01, 2021 06:55AM
My father used to remark about smelling whiffs of ammonia somewhere in Oak Cliff
where there was an ice plant. Anyone know which company that might have been and
exactly where? This would have been in the 1920s and 1930s.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2021 04:05AM by Dennis H.
Re: That ammonia smell in Oak Cliff
February 01, 2021 10:48AM
Dennis, IIRC, there were two ice plants in Oak Cliff back in the day, though my memories don't extend back to the thirties, which was before I was living in Oak Cliff, and even before I was born for that matter. One was in the Winnetka Heights neighborhood around Clarendon and Lewellyn, and one was near (might have been a part of) the Oak Farms Dairy plant on Jefferson near the Houston Street Viaduct.

I remember smelling ammonia in West Dallas in the mid to late 1950s when I helped my father in his produce business, delivering to grocers and selling at retail stands. The strong, not just a whiff, odor was in the vicinity of Hampton Road and Singleton, but I don't recall the source. There was a fair bit of industry in the area, but I don't recall an ice plant.

Dave McNeely
Re: That ammonia smell in Oak Cliff
February 01, 2021 11:48AM
One was on Polk St about 2 blocks South of Jefferson.
It had a large, maybe 3 stories tall, wooden cooling tower
with lots of ice picks stuck in the wood. Too dull to use or a
game or both?

I might be misremembering, but I believe that plant had an
ammonia leak that caused an evacuation of several surrounding
blocks



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2021 04:43PM by Frank.
Re: That ammonia smell in Oak Cliff
February 01, 2021 10:20PM
Frank, your memory is better than mine. Polk Street is correct, not Lewellyn. Was that not the Southern Ice Plant? Isn't it a community center of some sort now? Or was at one time?

Dave McNeely
Re: That ammonia smell in Oak Cliff
February 03, 2021 10:10AM
old man from dallas Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Frank, your memory is better than mine. Polk
> Street is correct, not Lewellyn. Was that not the
> Southern Ice Plant? Isn't it a community center
> of some sort now? Or was at one time?

Dave, some of my family lived in the 800 block of S. Polk. The streetcar
ran down Burlington and it was less than a block N. to their house and
about 1/2 block S. to Cedar Creek. My cousin and I spent much of our
childhood in that creek. It came out from underground a block W. of
Polk, then continued thru the Zoo and emptied into the Trinity.
My memories of those years are stronger than what I did last week.
Stay safe.
Re: That ammonia smell in Oak Cliff
February 03, 2021 12:56PM
Hi Frank, For a brief time in the mid-fifties I lived on Story St. just a block or so from the zoo. The zoo was free back then. I spent a lot of time there, but mostly exploring Cedar Creek. Some classmates (fifth grade) at Peeler Elementary School and I used to go to the culvert and follow the creek downstream to the zoo, quite interested in how it grew as it went. I saw my first darters (a group of some 250 species of smalll perchlike fishes that are bottom dwelling, mostly in gravel and boulder bottomed streams) in that creek, and it may have been a part of the inspiration for me to become a fish ecologist. There probably wasn't a better place in Dallas for a kid to grow up back then than Oak Cliff. Too bad I didn't get to experience Oak Cliff throughout my early years, but I did get a good bit of it.

Dave McNeely
Re: That ammonia smell in Oak Cliff
February 04, 2021 08:05PM
Back in the late sixties/early seventies I worked the North Oak Cliff area and during the very early morning hours, especially when there was no wind and very humid conditions, I would notice the ammonia odor around North Zang Boulevard/North Marsalis Avenue and East Colorado Boulevard and always felt it was coming from the dairy operation located nearby.

Amazing enough, if the wind was from the north or northwest the odor from Nuehoff Packing located just west of the downtown area would overwhelm the ammonia odor and if the wind was from the south and south east the sewage disposal plant located in East Oak Cliff on Sargent Road near Morrell Avenue added to the mix.

When working the North Central Expressway area, sitting near the expressway and Mockingbird Lane beginning around 1:00 a.m. brought the fragrance of baking bread from the Mrs. Baird Bakery or you could continue your travels east on Mockingbird Lane to Greenville Avenue and detect the odors from the Dr Pepper Bottling Plant, especially when they bottled their Root Beer.
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