Ah, Here's That Stash of Old Downtown Farmers Market-Area Photos We Almost Forgot About

burtscafe1.jpg
Courtesy University of North Texas Libraries/Dallas Municipal Archives
You probably forgot -- I know I did -- but late last year we ran this old photo of the downtown farmers market courtesy City Archivist John Slate, who'd told us about 'em last summer and about how the giant stack was being sent to the University of North Texas Libraries' Portal to Texas History for digital archiving. Like I said: I forgot all about it. Till this afternoon, that is, when I was looking for something about the market for something else I working on.

At some point, I landed on the Portal to Texas History's site -- where, sure enough, there's page after page after page of old farmers market photos dating from the '40s to the '70s, with some clearly more recent than others. I could pick out any number of photos to highlight -- like the one at top featuring the legendary Burt's Cafe, which sat on Taylor Street long enough that I vaguely recall my grandfather taking me there in the '70s. (Sure enough.) And you coulda stayed at the Don Hotel.
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Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Amazing find Robert! I find it interesting cities like Los Angeles actively preserved and improved on their Farmers Market, especially by keeping the buildings intact and encouraging multi-generational mom & pop businesses to setup shop (i.e. no factory farms) along side bigger retail.

Dallas, it seems, likes to knock over its history to build gaudy shed structures that look both rickety and under-maintained My big question is when are they finally just going to spend the money to enclose all of the sheds and kick out the cars to boot??

Alexanderdertroup
Alexanderdertroup

Chirs ,Dallas is not the only city getting a clean sweep of its once glory of urban life and scwral.......great shot and who did such is the real content left.....I recall west Dallas As a kid, driving through..to get to Oak Cliff..in the 60s....with my folks....

Amy S
Amy S

Back in the late, late 1800's the amount of cotton being brought to Dallas for shipment across the nation dropped precipitously. This was huge, as cotton represented the majority of Dallas crops being shipped out. As ginning mills were being built in smaller towns along the railroad, it meant the farmers could ship directly, without the hassle of bringing their crops to Dallas. In 1898 a special meeting of the Commercial Club was held "to devise ways and means of improving Dallas as a farm product market." (DMN 5/25/1898)

By 1906 "Chickens by the Thousands" (DMN 9/1/1906) were a portion of the almost $250,000 in total farm product sold in the first half of the year. Many small farms took root where large cotton fields once stood, in what is now Garland, Mesquite, East Dallas, they would drive their wagons to the train depot, backing their horses up in perpendicular alignment to the boardwalks.  Those products deemed unshippable (too ripe) were sold to Dallas citizens along the street. But because they were deemed a nuisance (and they attracted a lot of rats), they were required to leave the city no later than 9 am, and could not return until 4 in the morning. Many farmers came early, sleeping under their wagons until the curfew was lifted, to be the first to bring their crops to the produce merchantmen.

Alexandertroup
Alexandertroup

They say the old farmers market has many tales.....Founded when the Railroad used to use the area for freightand passenger services, many Immigrants came to the area from Galeston and New Orleans, to this area...I can also recall a dig or two done in the area several of them exsposed the Africian Amercians who made up the early Freedman Towns had lived in the area first then the Russian and Polish Jewish Immigrants along with the Germans and Swiss....

While car culture sites like this make up a signage of that decade.....the kind of world we live in now is quite flat compared to the times that once made grey matter between dark and light an intresting black and white image...

Overall, I dont go to the Farmers Market today....the feeling is gone, the patina is lost and the vendors are in one area....a shame each decade has to have some kind of overhaul and yet this is a great shot of a time when it was.....Alexander Troup, Urban Historian... 

LaceyB
LaceyB

too bad downtown dallas isn't nearly as gorgeous as downtown nyc. But I do like downtown dallas prices much better. Something about high rise porn is just ridick. The higher the steel clean phallus the better.

Alexandertroup
Alexandertroup

ONEC UPON A TIME AGO...... I can recall as a kid seeing places like this...in the old FARMERS MARKET area...

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