Posts Tagged ‘dallas’

The Votes are In. I’ll drink to that!

Posted by    |    November 3rd, 2010 at 9:44 am

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Election Night Watch Party hosted by the Keep the Dollars in Dallas Campaign (KDID).  If you aren’t familiar with KDID, they are the group that was formed to support the petition and election effort to change the current alcoholic beverage sales laws in the City of Dallas.  And, if you haven’t heard, the voters elected to pass both of the wet/dry propositions on the ballot.

KDID committee members celebrate at an election watch party at Pappadeaux on Oak Lawn

What does drinking have to do with real estate (wow, that’s open to lots of interpretation)?  But the main theme here is that changing the antiquated wet/dry laws in the City of Dallas will help create a level playing field for all developers, brokers, restaurants and retailers in Dallas.  And the local commercial real estate community, having a lot at stake here, got involved with the cause early.

(more…)

An Education in Retail

Posted by    |    October 12th, 2010 at 11:48 am

When you hear the word “recession,” do you go “la la la la” and put your fingers in your ears in an attempt to block out the sound?  Yeah, me too.  But some things just can’t be ignored, especially by industries that have been hardest hit.

Take the retail industry, for example.  The last three years have been brutal – to sales, to store openings, to general industry morale.  But never an industry to get down for long, retail is forging ahead bravely and thoughtfully.

I recently had the opportunity to get inside the brains of some of the top retailers in the country and learn how they are facing today’s economy and serving today’s consumers at the annual Retailing Summit hosted by the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University.  This year’s theme was “The Evolving Consumer: emerging issues and future outlooks.”

(more…)

Home on the Dallas Range

Posted by    |    August 25th, 2010 at 11:07 am

Little did I know that when researching the history of retail in Dallas I would come to find oodles of history about all parts of the city.  A couple of the nuggets I found explain the history of some of Dallas’ early residential neighborhoods.

One of the earliest suburbs of Dallas was Oak Cliff, first settled around 1837 by William S. Beaty and the Leonard and Coombes families (www.oakcliff.com/history.htm).  Then along came William and Mary Hord who relocated from Tennessee and opened a boarding house.  Not long thereafter, the area became known as Hord’s Ridge. 

The first known permanent residence in Oak Cliff was a cabin built in 1845 by William Hord.

The area began to slowly expand with the completion of the Cleburne and Rio Grande Railway in 1880.  Oak Cliff was more formally originated in 1886 when  John S. Armstrong and Thomas L. Marsalis shelled out $8,000 to buy a 320-acre farm on the south bank of the Trinity River.  The two began dividing the acreage into 20-acre blocks, and, according to the Handbook of Texas Online, “Armstrong and Marsalis began to develop the land into an elite residential area, which by then end of 1887, had proved to be a tremendous success with sales surpassing $60,000.”

(more…)

A woman’s contribution to development

Posted by    |    August 23rd, 2010 at 9:11 am

So, we’ve learned about the men who began some of Dallas’ most historic retail companies.  Although nearly all women of those early times served as homemakers, some even taking in a little money as seamstresses or teachers, one stands out as having had great influence on the development of the city.

In the year 1847, Alex and Sarah Cockrell planted their meager roots in Dallas County.  Alex was an involved and respected businessman having opened a sawmill, a gristmill, a lumberyard and a freighting business. 

In 1852, Alex added to his business portfolio when he purchased  the Trinity River ferry and ferry license from John Neely Bryan.

In the early 1850s, Sarah began to become more involved in her husband’s businesses taking over the books since Alex had never learned to read or write. 

Sarah Horton Cockrell

(more…)

Transportation feeds development

Posted by    |    August 16th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

After the Dallas retail boom brought on by the railroad, yet another mode of transportation pushed retail to the suburbs.   Streetcars, which began to spring up in Dallas in the late 1800s, boosted the decentralization of downtown and mobilized consumers around the city.

Before automobiles became commonplace at the homestead, streetcars were the main mode of transportation in urban areas.  In fact, according to Robert A.Rieder in the Handbook of Texas Online, “The electric streetcar represented the most significant development in city transportation.”

(more…)

Riding the Retail Railroad

Posted by    |    August 13th, 2010 at 8:23 am

The Jewish immigrants who landed at the Port of Galveston ended up in Dallas at some point.  Are you wondering why they chose to leave the lovely coastal town of Galveston for landlocked Dallas?  It was the railroad.

In the 1870s, Dallas was still a relatively small city with little connection to the outside world.  The city’s growth had stalled with no easy way in for those wishing to relocate. 

However, in 1872, Dallas got just what it needed to finally experience explosive growth.  On July 7 of that year, the last tracks of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad opened for business.  And on July 16, “the first excursion train stopped at a spot located approximately where Pacific Avenue crosses under Central Expressway today.  A crowd made up almost entirely of men celebrated with a barbecue feast of roasted buffalo.”  (Mike McAllister, Hidden History of Dallas).

(more…)

The Long Road to Retail

Posted by    |    August 11th, 2010 at 8:33 pm

The Jewish immigrants who wrote some of the most important retail stories in Dallas history (Neiman Marcus, Sanger Harris, Volks Brothers) took root in North Texas via varied routes of entry.  Until the early 1900s, nearly all Jewish immigrants began their U.S. journey by sailing into Northeastern ports.  Beginning in 1907, however, Galveston became their main port of entry.  But why the switch from the traditional ports of entry to a port thousands of miles to the south?  The Galveston Movement, of course!

(more…)

Dallas Truly is the “Shopping Center”

Posted by    |    August 9th, 2010 at 11:33 am

If you were ever in doubt that the city of Dallas gave birth to retail in the United States, doubt no more!  Did you know that Dallas is the home of the very first planned shopping center in the country?  Moving on from the concentration of retail department stores located in downtown buildings, area developers were coming up with new ways to bring retail to the masses.

Highland Park Village (HPV), which received its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 2008, was conceived by Edgar Flippen and Hugh Prather in 1928 and opened in 1931.  According to the designation record:

“…Highland Park Shopping Village represents a pivotal point in the evolution of the shopping center as a distinctive building type in 20th century American architecture.”

(more…)

The Shopper’s Architect

Posted by    |    August 6th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

The great retail department stores of downtown Dallas had much more in common than their Jewish founders and luxurious merchandise.  Some of the most iconic and innovative buildings in downtown Dallas were all designed by the same architect.

George Leighton Dahl is known as the brains behind the design of the Neiman-Marcus Building (1927, 1618 Main St.); the Titche-Goettinger Building (1929, 1900 Elm St.); the Volk Brothers Buildings (1930); the Mayfair Department Store (1947, 141 Elm St.); and Philipson’s Fashions (1949, Elm at St. Paul).  He even designed 32 stores for Sears Roebuck.

Dahl was an adaptive architect.  According to the Handbook of Texas Online, “In contrast to contemporaries O’Neil Ford and Howard R. Meyer, who developed their own unique styles, Dahl, as critic David Dillon noted, remained a stylistic chameleon who produced works to suit the needs and tastes of his clients.”

(more…)

First-Hand Account: Priceless

Posted by    |    August 5th, 2010 at 9:46 am

So we now know about the European immigration that brought retail to Texas.  Let’s look a little closer at the roots of retailing in Dallas by exploring the history of one of the first major merchants to set up shop downtown.

Emanual Meyer Kahn (dba E.M. Kahn’s) was born in 1849 in Alsace-Lorraine, France.  According to the publication Pioneer Jewish Texans, he arrived by ship in Georgia and began working as a merchant.  From Georgia he moved on to Mississippi and then Dallas.

(more…)