The Year Was 1930: Helpy-Selfy, Scarface, and Poindexter

The year was 1930. Gandhi led a march of two hundred miles to the Arabian Sea with seventy-eight disciples to protest England’s monopoly on salt in colonial India. Hostess Twinkies were invented. The Motion Picture Production Code (Hays Code) began its imposition of guidelines on the depiction of sex, violence, crime, and religion in movies for the next forty years. Warner Bros. released its first cartoon series, Looney Tunes, which ran until 1969. Sean Connery was born; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died. And readers of Fort Worth newspapers read these ads and articles:

1930 poindextersJust forty-five cents down would get you this $4.95 ($68 today) table lamp at Poindexter Furniture and Carpet on Throckmorton at 5th Street downtown.

But there is history in this ad.

1930 poindexters postcardThe building that housed Poindexter’s in 1930 was built in 1914 as the Chamber of Commerce auditorium.

1930 poindexter pader 12-28-13The chamber of commerce built the building to host conventions, musical and theatrical productions, and other public events. In 1921 a  national KKK official addressed an audience there. On December 28, 1913 the Star-Telegram announced that pianist Ignacy Paderewski, violinist Maud Powell, and opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini would perform.

1930 poindexters 1-22-14 to open On January 22, 1914 the Star-Telegram printed a full page on the new building and the people who made it possible. The building was designed by Sanguinet and Staats.

1930 poindexters 1-22-14 photoClip is from the January 22, 1914 Star-Telegram.

1930 poindexters grand opening ad 1-23-14The building opened on January 23, 1914. Clip is from the Star-Telegram.

The next day, after J. Frank Norris was acquitted of arson, a victory rally was held in the new auditorium.

chamber-building-paddockThe building was featured in B. B. Paddock‘s 1922 History of Texas. In the left background can be seen the dome of First Methodist Episcopal (South) Church at the corner of West 7th and Taylor streets. That lot is now the Oil and Gas Building.

In later years the chamber building was modified for commercial use and lost its auditorium and elevated three-arch entrance. In the 1950s the building housed Phoenix Furniture Store. In the 1960s it housed the Lord’s Supper display. In the 1970s Fort Worth National Bank replaced this magnificent building with magnificent parking lot.

1930 poindexters chamber from airNext door the home of First Christian Church, Fort Worth’s oldest congregation (1855), survives.

1930 poindexter FCC old 1907The current First Christian Church building (opened 1916) replaced this one depicted in Greater Fort Worth, 1907.

theaters 3The Tivoli on Magnolia Avenue had Clara Bow in “a merry mixup of matrimonial errors”; the Majestic had sixty talented Fort Worth youngsters; the Worth had Kay Francis, “the screen’s best dressed woman.”

1930 atwaterIn 1930 a console radio was a piece of furniture. Atwater Kent advertised two models for $109 and $121 (less tubes). That’s $1,500-$1,650 today.

1930 helpyIn 1930 Fort Worth had seventeen Helpy-Selfy stores offering “free Yellow cab service Saturday.”

1930 helpt 9-15-29 dmnJack Long had begun the chain of stores in the 1920s and sold franchises. A few of the Helpy-Selfy buildings survive. Clip is from the September 15, 1929 Dallas Morning News.

1930 cities service stationA Cities Service gas station opened April 19 on Park Hill Drive (not Park Place Boulevard) at Lubbock Avenue. Cities Service became Citgo.

yoostabe parkhill stationThe building today houses Parkhill’s Jewelry & Gifts.

1930 caponeProminent Chicago businessman Alphonse Capone was named treasurer as a merger was announced among competitors in the South Side adult beverage industry.

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One Response to The Year Was 1930: Helpy-Selfy, Scarface, and Poindexter

  1. Walter Moores says:

    The Hay’s Code didn’t take full effect until 1934. 1933 produced a plethora of raunchy movies: Mae West movies, “Golddiggers of 1933,” “Red Headed Woman,” “Baby Face,” and many more.

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