The Real History of Ross Ave.

Categories: Schutze
Where the Ross Brothers are buried, really, from the Save Ross Web site

Speaking of Ross Avenue, a Web site has been created to save the street -- at least, its original name. The site, which comes complete with a petition, warns people that renaming Dallas’s proud Ross Avenue for the late Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers Union will “dishonor part of Dallas' history and the Ross brothers.”

But the site offers little in the way of history of the Ross Brothers. This is an unfortunate oversight. The Ross brothers were two of the most interesting and important figures in Dallas history. Why? Jump to find out.

Leviticus and Menthol Ross were direct descendants of our nation’s beloved flag-maker, Betsy Ross. Their grandson, Steve Ross, parlayed a New Jersey funeral home into the world’s biggest media and entertainment conglomerate -- Time Warner.

In 1903 the Ross brothers came to Dallas from France, where the family had been living as expatriates. They were trained as pharmacists. It was here, in a shabby shed at the back of the large Ross Family Estate on Poultry Row that the Ross brothers invented their famous cough drops.

In the 1920s the Ross Brothers waged a long and bitter court battle with the infamous Goss Brothers Gang, from whom they had bought their land. The Rosses claimed the Goss Brothers had duped them into believing Poultry Row was the city’s most fashionable avenue. Menthol Ross introduced as evidence fanciful brochures that the Goss Brothers had sent him in Paris, depicting Poultry Row as the equal of the The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The Rosses told the court of their mother’s long battle with depression after discovering that Poultry Row was, as she put it, “a fetid Slough of Despond.”

But in the true spirit of the time, the Rosses made the most of their situation. It was in an attempt to find a cure for their mother’s melancholy that they invented their now famous drops, the “secret ingredient” of which, a mixture of mint oil and thalium, was named “menthol” after one of the brothers. Their famous slogan, seen on sides of barns across the rural South, was “Ross Brothers Cough Drops, now with menthol!” It caught on, and the Rosses became wealthy beyond their most fantastic dreams.

The Rosses lost their case in court against the Goss brothers but vowed they would one day nonetheless avenge themselves. Leviticus Ross told The Dallas Post Facto, a daily newspaper of the time, “We will clean this city of Gosses and in the process turn Poultry Row into the splendid avenue of our sainted mother’s dreams, God rest her soul.”

Their dream came true. In 1924 the city renamed Poultry Row “Ross Avenue,” and the entire Goss family was driven from the city by a mob of ax-wielding inebriates.

In a speech to the mob reported in The Dallas Post Facto, Leviticus Ross said, “May the sun never set again on a Goss on Ross Avenue.”

In the 1950s, a local wag established a used car lot on Ross Avenue, which, for reasons never made clear, he called, “Goss on Ross.” It no longer exists.

In 1974 Steve Ross attended the semi-centennial of the naming of Ross Avenue. During an emotional speech before the Dallas Improvement League, Ross vowed to “make a movie that will tell the entire wonderful saga of Ross Avenue.

“I’m gonna call it Moon Over Ross Avenue,” Ross boldly vowed. But when the film finally was released in 1997 it was called Moon Over Broadway and bore only scant relation to the street in Dallas that had served as its inspiration.

The entire Ross family now lives again in France. Thais Ross, an actress, is a frequent companion of Paris Hilton, the celebrity. The descendants of the eccentric Goss Brothers are devout and law-abiding Baptists who now own the entire small city of Terrell, Texas. (All facts from Texas Almanac.) --Jim Schutze


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36 comments
theehermanos
theehermanos

My Uncle, Gene Goss, Made Ross Avenue what it was.  He had  slogans like " Get to work Late cars", "Start to work Cars" ,"A Free set of Jumper Cables with Every Purchase'.  He would take in trades like Pigs, Alligators, which the alligator ended up in the Public Pool Nearby, and things you could only imagine.  His Funeral was attended by hundreds that respected him for giving them a loan for a car when no one else would when times were really tough economically.  A mail Box 30 feet in the air on a pole for Airmail, and a tree house with ladders for his German Shepard's named appropriately named Rip and such.  They watched from the tree house and came running down the ladders when someone would try to sneak into the car lot.  Gene was named aptly.The Mayor of Ross Avenue".  Many famous people of Dallas would come just to be in his presence, as would the famous couch from The University of Austin Football Coach from way back then in the 70's.  His was very famous back then. Kyle, better known as baby. 

Joe luther
Joe luther

Gene Goss owned Goss on Ross Used Cars at the corner of Central and Ross. Many articles in both Dallas newspapers (back when big cities had two papers, one morning and one evening) chronicled his exploits. A famous pitch of his was, "Go-to-work cars $49.95." he sold a lot to po' folks of old Deep Elum. His bumper stickers were unique: "I didn't say they were good, I said they beat walking" and "My cars will make a pusher out of you." He was originally known as "Goss on Ross, the Tradin' Hoss". When he was forced to move further out Ross Ave due to widening Central, he changed his sign to read, "Goss on Ross, the Train' Gelding".

Janessa Robak
Janessa Robak

The Avengers Was my favorite comic book ever. Most people would agree, What do you guys think yours was?

jill williams
jill williams

they are very funny and my friend jewel doesn't give a crap

joey77
joey77

Ross is the one-and-only choice. Ross Avenue was the gathering place for the largest Human Rights march in Texas history, in 2006 with 500,000 people. The Cathedral of Guadalupe on Ross Ave, a gathering of thousands of Hispanic parishioners every Sunday. DISD headquarters is located on Ross Ave. Were, last year 0% of kindergarten students in Dallas ISD were hispanic. It is about diversity, inclusion, resecting, and honoring latinos and our contributions to Dallas.

Julie
Julie

Lies or not; the people in support of the renaming of Ross Ave to Cesar Chavez would NOT be forgetting the GREAT legacy of the Ross brothers or the history of Dallas . The section where the family resided will stay as is: Ross Ave; in addition, a historical marker will be placed in their honor on the corner of Ross and Market. What is the problem people?

Bill M.
Bill M.

I love faux history! In many ways it's more illuminating than journalism. I think each generation has a duty to pass along to the next a few entertaining lies.

MapleLeafHagman
MapleLeafHagman

as a Texan now living in New England, I can tell you for a fact this would never happen here. People in New England cherish their history, maybe because it's all they have. While everyone else has been moving west since it's founding, the citizens of this small state know that their history is their lone attraction.

When they ask me, after discovering I was born and raised in Texas, about the differences between the two states, I tell them Dallas would rather tear it down and build something new. I guess we prefer to look at pretty things than honor the past.

Mike
Mike

I thought this was quite entertaining, actually.

Majus
Majus

Renaming the City Council to "Poultry Row" would be appropriate given the number of chicken fuckers on it.

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

I have this feeling the only thing which will survive Jim's satire will be the Betsy Ross 'connection'.

Who is going to vote against Betsy Ross?

Jb
Jb

Excellent history lesson.

Can we rename The Dallas City Coucil to "Poultry Row?"

JimS
JimS

AndyN: you have cracked the code.

AndyN
AndyN

Good old Goss on Ross, the tradin' hoss. "Hope you make it home".

robert
robert

PICK ANOTHER F-ING STREET...ONE OF THE MANY PLANNED OR UNDER CONSTRUCTION! Good grief do people have nothing better to do or contribute than to pick a fight over the name of a street?

warden62
warden62

Amazing that you wasted a part of your day writing this crap. Thankfully I only wasted 3 minutes reading the comments and was able to skip your POS blog post.

For the record
For the record

Emilio, you are a joya (no, not a joto, AFAIK). Unfortunately, the USDA has detected a single case of salmonella sniffles on a cabra on a small farm outside Brownsville, and therefore there will be no barbacoa on 16 de septiembre under the fragrant lemon trees along the banks of the sailboat-sailing Trinity River.

Imitation and flattery, and all that.

JimS
JimS

I just hope the true story of the Ross brothers never comes out. The you're going to see people with some serious egg on their faces.

ignoreLander
ignoreLander

It's all so simple -- by mocking the "history" of Ross Ave, Schutze is trying his quaint little best to make those of us opposed to "Chavez" look like fools. But guess where that designation lands, Jim? He's been beating that dead horse for 2 weeks with increasingly unfunnier little fables.

jamal
jamal

no, the menthol thing did, and betsy ross, and everything else in the whole friggin post. look, i'm not proud of myself.

James Parker
James Parker

Actually, the main plaza at Farmers' Market is already named for Ceasar Chavez.

Lindsay A Graham
Lindsay A Graham

It was the Paris Hilton reference that clued you in? And not, say, that one of the brothers was name *Menthol*? Or, maybe, that Thallium is a poison? "The Dallas Post Facto"?

jamal
jamal

i guess i should have read the damn thing first, rather than just assume it was literal. the brain-dead piece in the DMN pissed me off so much that i had to jump in and comment on that article without actually reading this one.

why would i ever think jim was siding with the white man? paris fucking hilton?

geez.

AL
AL

Get off Jim's back. This piece is as accurate, well reasoned, and helpful toward getting the problem in question resolved as anything he's written all year.

JC
JC

Ah, satire. The last refuge of the scoundrel.

JimS
JimS

As any good University of Michigan graduate would tell you: In Darkness Dwells The People Which Knows Its Annals Not.

Matt Minyard
Matt Minyard

Maybe Farmers Branch could rename themselves Cesar Chavez. That might pass.

Emilio Velasquez, Jr.
Emilio Velasquez, Jr.

Se�Schutze, you would make it appear with your mocking denigration of the Ross Ave. that the hand of El Decherd Grande still rides heavy upon your knee. It reads like the recent �Se�Steve! Blow come to Jesus column.

Has �Se�Steve! promised you a �Se�Steve! JennyBurger Franchise location in exchange for your capitulation on renaming the Ross Ave.? Will it perhaps be located in the space the Woodard's occupy now?

Oh, woe, WOE!!!

How have we descended into this nest of serpents and darkness, dragging the soul of Se�Schutze into the pit as well?

Where is our happy Trini Lopez Parkway, shining like a ribbon beneath the lemon trees alongside the sparkling blue waters?

Where, oh, where are our cabras now? Spirited away by the chupacabra Trey to his village of Potemkin north of Ponder?

Oh, woe, WOE!!! AIIEEE!!!!

Emilio

megan
megan

I think that the idea on the site of renaming the farmer's market after Chavez would be a great compromise and a very fitting tribute.

Heywood U. Buzzoff
Heywood U. Buzzoff

Sadly the powers that run Dallas care as much for the history of the city as much as they care about the tax payers, quality of life, and public safety -- not at all!

jamal
jamal

You might send that information over to that fucktard columnist at the DMN. He wrote a piece over the weekend where he acquiesced to the idea of re-naming the street, primarily because in his infinite research, he found that the Ross brothers' only contribution to Dallas history was having been land owners.

I guess the black & white series with Ragland still has him feeling all multiculturally warm inside.

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