Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2010 Page: 3
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Jn recent issues we have featured stories from
Dallas's past that have been "lost" or
"forgotten." They seldom appear in published
histories, or if they do, it's only briefly, almost in
passing.Yet they are stories that can add much to
our understanding of the development of the city.
And information is available in letters, photo-
graphs, newspaper articles, court records, and
other archival sources. It just takes patience and
persistence on the part of researchers.
George Guess is largely forgotten today.
Unlike other early Dallas mayors, he doesn't even
have a street named for him. He died young,
leaving no immediate descendants. But he served
on the Dallas City Council during tumultuous
times, and his Civil War experiences were
unusual, as he became for a time almost a "man
without a country," wanted by neither the Federal
nor Confederate sides. His is definitely a story
worth telling. Relying heavily on Guess's wartime
correspondence with Sarah Horton Cockrell,
Thomas H. Smith reconstructs a multi-faceted,
contradictory character, belligerent yet despon-
dent, romantic but fatalistic. In the end, Smith
concludes, Guess was profoundly unlucky.
For a city that has always boasted among its
assets squeaky-clean government, influential
churches, low crime rates, and a morally upright
citizenry, it comes as a surprise to learn that in the
early 20th century, Dallas's City Commission
defined a neighborhood on the edge of down-
town in which prostitution could be legally con-
ducted. And it did so with the support of the
police department against opposition by church
groups and neighboring property owners, even in
defiance of state law. Gwinnetta Crowell carefully
documents the various steps in the campaign that
eventually closed the "Reservation," as it was
called, in 1913.
In the midst of this battle, in 1912, Dallas
advertising salesman hosted a national convention
that brought thousands of their fellows to the city
for events ranging from a huge parade of auto-
mobiles to a picnic supper on the grounds of the
Dallas County Club. Mark Rice's photo essay is a
reminder of one of the city's most enduring char-
acteristics: a deep desire to impress visitors and
provide them with unforgettable hospitality-a
spirit still present in planners for the upcoming
Theater has really blossomed in the Dallas
area in recent years. Each week it seems as though
a dozen or more professional and amateur com-
panies produce plays or musicals at venues ranging
from the new Wyly Theatre to converted store-
fronts. Set designs vary from elaborate to sparse. In
the 1920s and '30s, the Dallas Little Theatre
formed an imaginative partnership with local
artists, who designed sets, programs, and posters
and exhibited their work in a gallery of the DLT's
Maple Avenue building. Emily Grubbs traces this
relationship with such legendary artists as Jerry
Bywaters and Alexandre Hogue. The Dallas Little
Theatre folded in 1943, the building was torn
down years ago, and the role of these artists would
be forgotten except for the sketches, programs,
and photographs preserved in archival collections.
Dallas history is filled with such colorful but
largely unknown stories. We plan to bring you
more in the future.
Fall 2010 LEGACIES 3
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2010, periodical, 2010; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146050/m1/5/: accessed July 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.