Who was Margaret B. Henderson? Learn about this remarkable Irish immigrant and the rule she displayed prominently in her classroom.
Cornerstone Ceremony for New Masonic Lodge
Sixty-five years ago a ceremony took place commemorating the construction of what would become one of the largest buildings in Elmwood: the 10,908 sf Landmark-Gibraltar Masonic Lodge.
According to this blog by a Master Mason, the cornerstone ritual "is probably the only Masonic ritual, other than a Masonic funeral, that the public will ever see conducted. When the brethren are sharply dressed, and well-rehearsed, it's an awesome thing to behold."
Oak Cliff Masonic Lodge #705 has been part of the Elmwood community ever since. The mid-century brick and stone building contains two meeting rooms and a dining facility on the first floor as well as a library and study rooms on the second floor.
Just after New Year's Day this year, Waxahachie resident Larry Burns shared the following story about Dallas-based BeautiControl Inc. on the Facebook group Dallas History Guild. We were surprised to learn that one of our own buildings played a role in the early development of this iconic company, which was purchased by Tupperware Corp. in 2000 and by Youngevity International in 2017.
A Grand Boulevard That Never Was
Not to be confused with a section of Elmwood Blvd once named Kessler Blvd,* Dallas long ago had plans for a 100-foot-wide road that would loop from the Houston Viaduct through the Kessler Park and Stevens Park neighborhoods, turn south and follow the natural path of creeks near what is now Kiest Park before looping back north. A 1925 story in The Dallas Morning News is the first mention of this road.
Oak Cliff author Gayla Brooks wrote a wonderful history of the Kessler Loop for Oak Cliff Advocate, theorizing it was the automobile that ended plans for a road designed for horse-and-buggy transportation. But plans for the southern part of the loop continued well into the 1940s when cars were everywhere, so it's possible that two other factors played a role: funding and changes in transportation policy.
The Great Depression slowed most construction projects nationwide, especially ones that were not shovel-ready and later advanced under New Deal programs like Dealey Plaza's triple underpass and many buildings around White Rock Lake. And shortly after WWII, federal dollars focused on building the Interstate Highway System, which prioritized city-center to city-center connections. It makes sense that local roads like the Kessler Loop were shelved for national projects like I-35.
A larger road, the Outer Kessler Loop, did advance and became part of what today is Loop 12, with a segment named after county commissioner George W. Ledbetter.
*On October 14, 1942 the Dallas City Council voted to rename a section of Kessler Boulevard to Elmwood Boulevard "to eliminate confusion" with the proposed Inner Kessler Loop.
One of the only remnants of the Tennessee Dairy farm, established by Lindsley Waters in 1907, exists along Edgefield Ave between Elmhurst Pl and Balboa Dr. The northern portion of a stone wall protecting part of the 640-acre farm is remarkably preserved – while the southern portion could be mistaken for a pile of rubble, sadly. A middle portion is gone entirely, which begs the question whether preservation or restoration is desirable and even possible with grant funding.
Tennessee Dairies Inc. would be called a tech startup today: the technology used to pasteurize and deliver milk was revolutionary, and its contribution to the health and quality of life for early Dallas residents can't be brushed aside. While the stone wall represents a small portion of the dairy operation, a marker of some kind shouldn't be out of the question.
To gain access to funding, it may be necessary to first obtain historical designation through the Dallas County Historical Commission, which is charged with applying for state-approved historical markers and may provide up to 50% of the marker cost through its new Under-Told History Markers program. While the deadline for 2018 has passed, we will look at starting the process for 2019.
Do you have any photos or anecdotal information that could help us in applying for this designation? Write a comment below or send an email here.