The Year Was 1947: Scooters, Shooters, and Baby Buggies

The year was 1947. Inventor Edwin Land demonstrated the first “instant camera,” his Polaroid Land Camera. A GI imported America’s first Volkswagen: He had bought the 1946 VW from an Army PX in Germany and shipped it to New York. The movie Best Years of Our Lives won the Oscar for best picture. Don Henley, Don Felder, and Joe Walsh were born. Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel died. And readers of Fort Worth newspapers read these ads and articles:

1947 deltaYou could buy your Delta ticket in the Texas Hotel and wing it—from Fort Worth’s Meacham Field—to Miami for $60.75.

1947 meacham aerialMeacham Field in the 1940s. (Ritchey Flying Service photo from Fort Worth in Pictures, 1940.)

main american airways 1933Detail of the 1933 American Airways (later “American Airlines”) building (upper-right corner in aerial photo) at Meacham Field.

1947 greyhoundOr you could dog it to LA for $26.15.

1947 bairdsBaird’s bakery made angel food cake.

1947 baird summitAnd heaven was located on Summit Avenue. Baird’s had moved from 1410 West Terrell to Summit about 1946. (Smith photo from Fort Worth in Pictures.)

1947 baby shoes“Beauty, Utility, Sentiment”: If I interpret this ad correctly, the Infants’ Department of Monnig’s Department Store would Perma-Plate a pair of baby shoes and mount them with an ashtray as a gift for Mom on Mother’s Day. $10.50. Cigar not included.

ebay shoesNot trusting my interpretation, I did some research. The baby shoes-ashtray combo—the ne plus ultra of home décor, I think you will agree—was not uncommon in mid-twentieth century. (And thus may explain the low test scores of my generation.) This one is for sale on eBay. Fair warning: I will not be outbid.

1947 monnig housesMonnig brothers William (1866-1947) and George (1869-1919) had begun their dry goods company in 1889. The homes of William Monnig (as in the school) on Leuda Street (1905) and of George Monnig on Broadway Avenue (1910) still stand. The 1910 house replaced a house lost in the South Side fire of 1909. Note the hitching post.

1947 anderson 1877Andre Jorgensen Anderson had been dead three years in 1947, but his store lived on. Anderson, born in Norway, had opened his first store in Fort Worth in 1877. In 1884 he helped Timothy Isaiah “Longhaired Jim” Courtright escape from the lawmen who were going to take Courtright back to New Mexico to stand trial.

1947 striplingFull-page ad by W. C. Stripling (as in the school) in the Fort Worth Press.

1947 boswell cushman johnsonA three-fer: 1. Boswell Dairies brought milk (including chocolate milk!) to your front door. Boswell Dairies began about 1924 on the farm of W. E. Boswell (as in the school) near Saginaw. His wife Margie Belle was a noted poet. 2. Many a kid yearned for a Cushman scooter. 3. And Fort Worth civic leader J. Lee Johnson Jr. (mentioned in that snippet of news) was the son of the widow of gunfighter Clay Allison.

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