History in Pearls

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Aaron Gentry, Reid Slaughter, and Raelyn Munneke with Miss Princella

In 1906, when Princella Hartman was born, Teddy Roosevelt was president, only 8 percent of homes had a telephone, there were only 8,000 cars in the U.S. and the maximum speed limit was 10 miles per hour. The average wage was 22 cents an hour, the population of Las Vegas was 30, and less than 15 percent of homes had a bathtub. Oh yes: the average life expectancy in the US was 47 years.

Princella Hartman is a curve-breaker. She turns 104 years old next week, and there will surely be a grand celebration at her home in Uptown. We interviewed this perky, attractive woman for youplusdallas.com and all left feeling blessed by her wisdom, her relentless honesty, and her refusal to dwell on anything negative, including the withering racism she faced after moving to a very segregated Dallas in the early 1960s. The State Thomas neighborhood she first moved into was a place where blacks were not allowed to enter through the front door. Time has slowly healed that wound, and “Miss Princella” (as she is called) now counts dozens of her neighbors as good friends. They come and go from the collection of 1880s Victorian-era homes that make State Thomas an architectural gem and an official historic district. For longevity, for courage, and for her simple southern hospitality to our team, we say well done, Miss Princella. And Happy Birthday.

UPDATE: More than a year after this first report, Miss Princella is still going strong! You go, girl!

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7 Responses to “History in Pearls”

  1. David Dean says:

    What a great story! Happy Birthday Miss Princella!

  2. David Cathey says:

    An incredible example of living history. Happy Birthday!

  3. Jack Bradshaw says:

    This story is so fantastic. What a great example of inspiration!

  4. Sarah Beauregard says:

    Wow! …Miss Princella looks like she could run circles around me! Can’t wait to watch her interview!

  5. Jeff Hinson says:

    I would love to hear more about story of the St. Thomas neighborhood.

  6. tvick07@mac.com says:

    What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing her story and this wonderful piece of living history.

  7. Meredith McKee says:

    So cool – A living legend right here in State/Thomas. What a beauty too!