Cowtown Yoostabes, Vaughn Boulevard Edition: The Middle-Class Mile

If Rosedale Street, running east to west, is Poly’s equator, . . .

yoostabe vaughn rosedale sighthen Vaughn Boulevard, running north to south, is Poly’s prime meridian.

vaughn 1957 cdVaughn Boulevard stretches a mile from TWU to Masonic Home. And the 1957 city directory confirms what we who walked, biked, and drove that mile and frequented its merchants know: Vaughn Boulevard was solidly middle class. Along its one mile in 1957 were ten beauty and barber shops, twelve cleaners and self-laundries, three liquor stores, two feed stores, two shoe shops, four TV repair shops, four auto repair shops, eight groceries, two surplus stores, seven gas stations, two florists, four pharmacies, one watch repair shop, two photo studios, four bookkeepers, seven places to eat, three places to drink, one dairy, one hardware store, one bicycle shop, one movie theater, one general-practice physician, one chiropractor, one clinic. And one church.

Here is a first sampling of some yoostabes along the Middle-Class Mile:

yoostabe vaughn city hallBuilt in 1914, this yoostabe the city hall and fire hall of the city of Polytechnic before Fort Worth annexed Poly in 1922. The building now belongs to TWU.

yoostabe vaughn partlowAs this ghost sign shows, the building later housed a pastry shop. In 1957 it was Bryan Bakery. Later it was Partlow’s.

yoostabe vaughn griddleFort Worth had a handful of Griddle diners. This yoostabe Griddle no. 2. It became the Poly Grill, which has closed. Next to the city hall building. Bottom photo shows the grill in more prosperous times.

post polyThe Poly branch post office is now Fresh Start House for veterans.

yoostabe vaughn hanebuttIn 1957 there were several single-family houses along the Middle-Class Mile. For you sports fans, in a big house on the corner of Vaughn and Avenue H, where the post office would later be, lived Elmer Hanebutt, TWC basketball coach 1956-1969.

yoostabe vaughn fobb63Warning: Digression ahead! At TWC in 1956 Elmer Hanebutt replaced Sam Rasco, who in 1963 would be coaching basketball at Forest Oak Junior High. In this photo, supplied by Gary Pillers, are (I think) Vernon Johnson (1), Larry Hensley (2), Phillip Barney (3), Joe Wylie (4), Jimmy Griffin (5), Donny Thompson (6), Gene Wilson (7), Jay Myatt (8), Norland Crow (9), Bobby Gillingham (10), Gary Gibson (11), Gary Pillers (12), Mike Wylie (13), Gary Elser (14), Steve Burris (15), Rickie Newberry (16), Coach Rasco (17), Dennis Ray (18).

(Scads more group photos from Polytechnic area schools and sports at http://www.poly67.com/groups.html and http://www.poly67.com/yearbook2.html.)

davis 3130 hBack to the intersection of Vaughn and Avenue H. On the corner across the street from Coach Hanebutt yoostabe another big house. Therein dwelt the Marquesa of Multiplication, the Duchess of Division, yes, the Queen of the Equation: Poly High math teacher Alton Ruth Davis.

yoostabe vaughn hermanIn 1957 this building housed Harry’s Shoe Repair. By the 1960s it housed Herman’s Shoe Repair. Herman Culbert would, in exchange for the school lunch money a boy had saved up, put taps on the heels of the boy’s shoes, much to the consternation of the boy’s parents. If a boy was determined to show that he was totally beyond redemption, Herman would put taps on the heels and toes.

Herman has much to answer for.

yoostabe vaughn crossingThis intersection of Vaughn Boulevard and Avenue N yoostabe where patrol boys of D. McRae Elementary enjoyed one of the perks of the high office: getting out of sixth-period class early to swap dirty jokes on the corner.

yoostabe vaughn knoxThis modest building was the office of Dr. Warren G. Knox. He made house calls.

yoostabe vaughn brannen groceryThis long building yoostabe Brannen’s drive-in grocery, a shoe repair shop, a photo shop, and a cleaners. It is now Rev’s Funeral Parlor.

yoostabe vaughn ray cloudThis vacant lot is all that remains of Ray Cloud Pharmacy at 1902 Vaughn, where many a boy sent by his parents to fetch a prescription squandered the money instead on a Revell model airplane. Inset photo of the sign is from an earlier trip down memory lane.

yoostabe vaughn wagon yardThe Wagon Yard is all partied out. Inset photo of the sign is from earlier times.

yoostabe vaughn theaterThe Poly Theater opened about 1952, operated by Imogene (1912-1990) and Boyd Milligan (1905-2000), who also operated the 7th Street Theater. The building has been derelict for years after the last owner, a church, left town owing delinquent taxes.

yoostabe vaughn theater sign skyThe theater’s marquee is dilapidated. Now showing: Blue Skies Above.

yoostabe vaughn houlihanWhere M&S Tires & Wheels is today just north of Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway yoostabe Robert and Kate Houlihan’s kingdom of commerce: their grocery store, dry goods and notions store, and toy store. Later an A. L. Davis supermarket yoostabe there.

yoostabe vaughn may cleanerMay’s Cleaners is now Poly’s Smoker’s Paradise (“Drinks Snacks Hookahs Accessories”).

yoostabe vaughn weldonsThis yoostabe Weldon’s Café, built in moderne style and opened in 1946 by Ivy Weldon and Edna Bodiford (parents of Sandy Bodiford, Poly High class of 1955, who married classmate Kenneth Copeland). Weldon Bodiford was a brother of James Bodiford, who in 1968 operated an auto repair shop across the street from Weldon’s. The café building last housed Diva’s Lounge (“Restaurant Extraordinaire!” “Fort Worth’s Finest BYOB” “Billiards Karaoke Hookahs”). Hmmm. That’s the second place with hookahs.

Indeed, since the 1957 city directory was printed, the Middle-Class Mile has (like us) changed. Some of the buildings we recall on Vaughn Boulevard are gone, some are shuttered, and the rest have new occupants. Thomas Wolfe reminded us that “you can’t go home again.” But you can go again to where the Poly equator meets the Poly prime meridian: the intersection of Rosedale Street and Vaughn Boulevard. Then point your shoes south and walk that mile of Vaughn Boulevard as Memory Lane.

But please, no taps.

To read more about Vaughn Boulevard:

Cowtown Yoostabes, Vaughn Boulevard Edition: Driving the Middle-Class Mile

Cowtown Yoostabes, Vaughn Boulevard Edition: Don’t Be Afraid of . . . The Dark

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16 Responses to Cowtown Yoostabes, Vaughn Boulevard Edition: The Middle-Class Mile

  1. Martha Bell says:

    I am overwhelmed with the amount of information you’re able to offer. After reading this reply from you, I pulled up your Ellis Empire post and found it most interesting. When I was out driving past the Houlihan’s house just last week, I also drove by what I NOW know was the Ellis house! I had seen an aerial pic of it and noticed the pool appears half empty and green. I might have to drive by there again, now that I know what I’m looking at! I am enjoying the heck out of reading your posts. Thank you for filling in alot of blanks for us older Ft. Worthians who don’t know all this history!

    • hometown says:

      I know, I know–it’s a sickness. But seriously, I grew up knowing less about my hometown than most other natives. Then, about nine years ago I got on a bicycle and began to see Fort Worth for the first time.

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