Here's a Photo From When Central Expressway Was a Muddy Ditch

Categories: Transportation

centralexpressway-before.jpg
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Say what you will about the highway-building mania of the mid-20th century. It led to an unsustainable car-dependent culture, choked off the city center and divided or destroyed neighborhoods. I seriously doubt, for example, that the shacks above were inhabited by well-heeled white people. But these photos, from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, are cool.

The one above, taken in 1947, shows the future route of Central Expressway. The one below, taken from the same spot in 1949, shows the completed road.

centralexpressway-after.jpg

The photos were presented by the Dallas Chamber of Commerce to the Texas State Highway Commission in 1952 as they were lobbying for money to build a loop from the downtown industrial district north to the Denton County line. For some reason, they also included a cartoon:

InterstateLoopCartoon.jpg


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
16 comments
theDivaLea
theDivaLea

@Clay_Harrison That's a great link. Reminds me of how, into the 80's, there were still gravel roads in cities like Richardson.

timetomoveon
timetomoveon

First picture looks like most of South Dallas/Fair Park today.

annebent
annebent

Oh, I miss those 50' entrance ramps to Central.  The only thing missing in the second photo is the stoplight to allow people to time their entry.  Those were the days!

jharris214
jharris214

Take me to the Helio-port, mac, and step on it. 

pacojavi712
pacojavi712

@Dallas_Observer That loop would've come in handy to avoid the High Five.

todd
todd

Does anyone know the location of where the pictures were taken? 

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

Helio-Port, I like it.

 

Anyone remember the "Helio-Port" at NorthPark Inn?

J_A_
J_A_

Hot wheels track!

phe
phe

I love stuff like this, and it's been lacking since that Wilonsky guy sold out to The Man. More of this, Eric! Please!

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

the cartoon could be a Calatrava designed mixmaster.

Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

They should have built the highway around the trolley line - would have saved millions when it came time for light rail.

BenS.
BenS.

 @todd 

100% sure it was at what is now US75 and Hall. In the far distance where the homes end on the left side is the Hall Park/Recreation area. Main reason I know this is because Hall had the only overpass on lower Central. The rest of Central Expressway up until Walnut Hill was below grade with underpasses. Originally known as Freedman's Town, then North Dallas Freedman's Town, then State-Thomas. That area is nothing compared to the old Mill Creek area in Deep Ellum or the tar paper shacks of West Dallas in the same era.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @todd yeah, along the railroad that became Central. 

 

Sorry, could resist

noah.jeppson
noah.jeppson

 @Chuck_Schick Those are the tracks for the main line Houston and Texas Central Railroad (thus the Central Expressway name). The interurban line ran roughly where DART rail travels today.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...