Dallas' St. Patrick's Day Celebration Used to Involve Actual Irish People

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Danny Hurley
Frank E. McGowan is appalled.
Let's be honest: Apart from some obligatory references to the Emerald Isle's patron saint and the enthusiastic embrace of Ireland's most famous pastime (binge drinking), there's nothing terribly Irish about Dallas' St. Patrick's Day celebration. For revelers, it's about getting hammered; for the Greenville Avenue bars and restaurants that sponsor the event, it's mostly about making money.

Nothing wrong with either of those things, but it's worth remembering that it hasn't always been so. In 1960, for instance, there was real concern -- and a serious dispute -- over the authenticity of Dallas' observance of the holiday.

In one corner you had Fred E. Goodridge, third-generation Irishman, card-carrying member of the Irish-heritage group Sons of Erin and organizer of Dallas' 1960 St. Patrick's Day Parade. In the other was Frank E. McGowan, second-generation Irishman, member of the rival Irish-heritage group the Ancient Order of Hibernians and organizer of an Irish-only ball at the Statler Hilton.

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50 Years Ago, the Mayor Formulated Dozens of "Goals for Dallas." So, How'd We Do?

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J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson took over as Dallas' mayor at a turbulent time for the city. John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated on Elm Street, and residents and leaders were struggling to come to terms with the event and its aftermath.

Jonsson responded by preaching a forward-thinking optimism, urging constituents to have faith in the city's can-do spirit. This was given fullest expression in Goals for Dallas, a community-sourced enumeration of concrete objectives, both short- and long-term, the city needed to achieve in order to realize its potential.

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Esquire: The Right Hates Obama Like Dallas Hated JFK

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Dallas will never be able to completely escape blame for killing JFK. There's simply too much documentation of how reactionary hate-mongering gripped the city.

Esquire's Charlie Pierce dredged up one of those documents yesterday, a leaflet distributed in the streets of Dallas on the day of the assassination. Except that Pierce presents it not as an anti-Kennedy screed but as a "handbill distributed at a major American city in advance of the arrival of the president."

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Nick Beef, Whose Fort Worth Headstone Has Flummoxed JFK Enthusiasts for 15 Years, Is Alive and Living in New York City

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Flickr user Texican Chick
The story, too vague to be quite believable, not sufficiently fanciful to be cut from whole cloth, has for 15 years been whispered to the curious who go to seek the grave of Lee Harvey Oswald and come away wondering "Who's Nick Beef?"

That's the name on the gravestone that abuts Oswald's in a quiet corner of Shannon Rose Hill Cemetery in Fort Worth. Word was that it was the stage name of a comedian who bought the plot years back. It was said that he'd imagined it as a way for visitors to get around the cemetery's self-imposed prohibition on disclosing the location of Oswald's grave. Just ask, "Where's the Beef?"

Turns out, the story isn't too far off.

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Dallas' Entire Professional Baseball Club Once Got Arrested For Playing a Ballgame on Sunday

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There are still things you can't do on a Texas in Sunday. Buy liquor, for example. Baseball, however, is perfectly fine.

That wasn't always the case. On this day in 1905, the entire Dallas and Fort Worth professional ball teams were arrested for playing a couple of games at what was then Fair Park. Another man was taken into custody for selling lemonade.

The Dallas Police Department Museum, which brings us up this tidbit of historical trivia, posts the article that ran in The Dallas Morning News the next day.

Every member of the Dallas and Fort Worth baseball clubs is under bond to appear in the Corporation Court this morning to answer to a charge of having violated the Sunday law by working on Sunday, the particular case cited being the two baseball games played yesterday afternoon. Charges were also made against J. W. Gardner for violation of the Sunday law for keeping a public amusement running on Sunday and for causing his employees to work on Sunday. The same bond for the players covers that for Mr. Gardner.

The warrants were issued by judge Curtis P. Smith and were served just before the first game began. A bond was already made out and bore the names of C.A. Keating and C.A. Mangold as sureties. There are four cases against Mr. Gardner, two of each kind, or one for each game.

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Can the Alamo Plaza Sign Be Saved?

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Facebook
The iconic Alamo Plaza sign stood sentry over the corner of Fort Worth and Sylvan Avenue for nearly six decades. It remained there even after the roadside motel it identified was demolished to make way for the long-awaited Sylvan 30 development. Then, two weeks ago, it was removed.

The development's representatives have said that it's merely in storage and will return as soon as soon as they figure out what to do with it. But preservationists, as well as more casual fans of mid-century roadside motel architecture, are skeptical. Developer Brent Jackson had long promised the sign would stay put, according to Morning News' Roy Appleton. But there it went.

To ensure that the sign is returned to its rightful place on the side of the road, some concerned architectural enthusiasts have begun an effort to Save the Alamo Sign. Organizers were at the Oak Cliff Earth Day celebration over the weekend gathering signatures.

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Confederate Group Shuns Memphis, Moves Convention to Civil War Hotbed Richardson

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scv.org
There's been a bit of a fuss lately over the Memphis City Council's decision to change the name of three city parks, scrubbing them clean of any reference to the Confederacy in hopes of making them more inviting to residents who may not exactly have felt welcome in early-1860s Tennessee.

Gone are Jefferson Davis Park, named for the CSA's first president; Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, honoring a Confederate lieutenant general and the Klan's first grand wizard; and the straightforward Confederate Park. Temporarily at least, they'll be Memphis Park, Mississippi River Park and Health Sciences Park.

The switch has inspired a backlash from groups that celebrate Confederate heritage. Like the Ku Klux Klan.

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Home of DISD Pioneer Kathlyn Gilliam Could Become a Historic Landmark

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By the time she died in December 2011, Kathlyn Gilliam's reputation as a pioneering civil rights advocate had been tarnished somewhat by her role, cemented during 23 years on the DISD board of trustees, in establishing the race-obsessed bureaucracy that has long since stopped benefiting the district or its students.

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But that wasn't erase the decades of good work she did as a community activist and education reformer who served for decades on the front lines of the battle to integrate Dallas schools. It was that legacy that led Dallas ISD to name a collegiate preparatory academy in her honor and prompted fond remembrances from community leaders and Schutze.

Now, the city could make the South Dallas home she lived in for most of her adult life a historic landmark. It's a modest one-story affair at 3717 Wendelkin Street built in 1921 but well kept. The Landmark Commission will meet on Wednesday to discuss whether to grant the designation.

Lee Harvey Oswald's Apartment is Gone

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The Oak Cliff Blog
In October of 2010, Jane Bryant auctioned off put up for auction the front door of Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald's one-time apartment at 604 Elsbeth Street in Oak Cliff. (The sale was halted by litigation, and the door was later stolen). The door itself, with glass that had once been punched out by Oswald during an argument with his wife, was a testament to their brief and tumultuous time there. It also foreshadowed the building's ultimate fate.

In recent weeks, as it became clear the city would prevail in its half-decade long effort to tear down the dilapidated apartments, the door was joined on the auction block by various relics: a bathtub; a toilet; some floorboards; cabinets; individual bricks.

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The State Fair is Taking Donations to Pay For Big Tex, Who Sends Along a Slightly Morbid Holiday Greeting

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State Fair of Texas

For now, the State Fair of Texas is sticking to its story that Big Tex wasn't reduced to a scorched metal frame during this summer's conflagration but instead is recuperating at an undisclosed Texas spa. Not only that, but he's well enough to send a holiday greeting that the fair passed along this morning.

See also:
-The Tragic Tale of That Giant Santa Who Once Sat Upon Porter Chevrolet on Mockingbird

From the Christmas missive, we learn that Big Tex thinks enough of himself to write in the third person, is fond of making macabre references to his "accident" ("Thanks also to those at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas who are giving Big Tex a helping hand to get this message delivered. Big Tex needs that hand because right now his own hands are not real useful, know what he means?") and believes, falsely, that he once had a laugh with Elvis ("Big Tex reminded him his first name is still Big, and that nobody much knew or cared about Elvis' last name. 'You're just Elvis,' Big Tex said. Well, Elvis must have thought that was pretty funny. He laughed and said, 'We ain't nothing but a couple of hound dogs, you know it?")

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