If Rosedale Street, running east to west, is Poly’s equator, . . .
then Vaughn Boulevard, running north to south, is Poly’s prime meridian.
Vaughn 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:
Built 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.
As this ghost sign shows, the building later housed a pastry shop. In 1957 it was Bryan Bakery. Later it was Partlow’s.
Fort 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.
The Poly branch post office is now Fresh Start House for veterans.
In 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.
Warning: 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).
Back 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.
In 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.
This 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.
This modest building was the office of Dr. Warren G. Knox. He made house calls.
This 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.
This 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.
The Wagon Yard is all partied out. Inset photo of the sign is from earlier times.
The Poly Theater opened in 1951, 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.
The theater’s marquee is dilapidated. Now showing: Blue Skies Above.
Where 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 and variety store. Later an A. L. Davis supermarket yoostabe there.
May’s Cleaners is now Poly’s Smoker’s Paradise (“Drinks Snacks Hookahs Accessories”).
This 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: