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

Time for a second trip down Memory Lane, better known as Vaughn Boulevard, the Middle-Class Mile (see Part 1).

vaughn 1957 cdVaughn Boulevard in the 1957 city directory.

vaughn alleyMost of the residential streets that intersect Vaughn Boulevard have alleys. This aerial photo shows the alley between Avenues L and M.

yoostabe vaughn alleyAlthough most of the alleys have been sealed off at the ends of each block, the alley between Avenues L and M is still open. Adults, of course, laid out alleys to accommodate utilities and garbage trucks. But when we were kids, alleys—no matter how forbidding, no matter how goathead-carpeted or broken glass-littered, no matter how barking dog-infested—were our expressways. We took short-cuts down alleys, climbed over fences, and cut across the front and back yards of all neighbors, even Mr. Garrett the grouch. And lived to tell about it.

yoostabe vaughn dukeAt Thannisch Avenue, this yoostabe the café of Raymond and Juanita Duke. Daughter Dianne Duke Robinett attended D. McRae, William James, and Poly schools. She died at age thirty-nine, outliving her father by thirteen years, her mother by only two years.

yoostabe vaughn crum watchBack when watches were not disposable, John Crum had a repair shop next to Duke’s café.

yoostabe vaughn poly drugAt Strong Avenue, this church yoostabe Poly Serval Drugstore. The combined smells of this store’s varied stock gave it, like the Mott’s on Rosedale, a composite scent like no other.

yoostabe vaughn worth storeWorth Food Store was next to Poly Drug.

yoostabe vaughn westernerAt Strong Avenue, on this lot yoostabe the Westerner drive-in restaurant.

yoostabe vaughn lyles dairyAt Fitzhugh Avenue, this yoostabe Lyles Dairy.

yoostabe vaughn quinn tvAcross Vaughn from Lyles was Jimmy Quinn’s TV repair shop. The current owner told me that when he bought the building, the attic was filled with old new television sets.

yoostabe vaughn dairy queenAt Crenshaw Avenue, this slab yoostabe the Dairy Queen, home of that addictive soft serve ice cream. And see the white car parked on Crenshaw? Where that contemporary brick house is yoostabe the frame house of the family of Luke Aunquoe.

lukeLuke and I were buddies in junior high and tramped many a mile together. Once we walked to a dry cleaners on Forest Park Boulevard to sell coat hangers for spending money. Luke, a member of the Kiowa tribe, died in 1999 and is buried in the family cemetery in Kiowa County, Oklahoma.

yoostabe vaughn manningAcross Crenshaw Avenue from Dairy Queen was Manning’s Surplus Store.

vaughn tunnel panelThe storm drain tunnel in the bend of Vaughn at Ada Avenue. Ah, but that will be a topic of the third and final post on the Middle-Class Mile: Cowtown Yoostabes, Vaughn Boulevard Edition: Don’t Be Afraid of . . . The Dark.

yoostabe vaughn poly hardware unmarkedDo you know what this building yoostabe?

yoostabe vaughn poly ace hardwareThat’s a trick question. This is not a yoostabe. This is a still-is. A real rarity on the Middle-Class Mile. In fact, it is perhaps the only still-is on Vaughn Boulevard. After almost sixty years Poly Hardware still is operated by the Robbins family. The store has passed from brothers Joe and Bill to son Terry to grandson Robert. As a kid I bought fishing tackle and BBs for my Daisy air rifle at Poly Hardware.

yoostabe vaughn duaneDuane has been a sales clerk at Poly Hardware for forty years. He told me that, alas, the store no longer sells fishing tackle and BBs. Just as well, I guess. I’d probably just put some bluegill’s eye out.

Want to take a narrated video tour of the Middle-Class Mile from Poly Freeway to Rosedale and back? Then buckle up and please keep your head and arms inside the vehicle at all times:

This entry was posted in Cowtown in Motion, Cowtown Yoostabes, Downtown, All Around, East Side, Life in the Past Lane. Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Tim Rippin says:

    Where’s the Poly Theatre? Or did I miss it?

  2. Max Torrence says:

    What year did the Clover Drive-in close and what is on that corner now? Max, Class of 65

  3. earl belcher says:

    I see you found the lair of the Poly beast. You are lucky to be alive. It’s kind of like the rabbit cave monster in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Did you have the holy hand grenade of Antioch?

    • hometown says:

      The killer cave bunny! I spent hours in that tunnel as a kid and don’t remember being afraid. But going back as an adult, I got spooked before I got too far back in there. I mean, I could still see the entrance! Chalk it up to the curse of being “grown” and realizing what might happen. As a consequence I was very disappointed with the video footage I had when I got home. So I decided to use what little footage I had to make a video making fun of my fear.

  4. earl belcher says:

    Great. Great. Great. I recall all of this. The video’s super duper. Unique Cleaners was there in the 1950s. The original Dairy Queen was at Vaughn and J.A. Taco Stand is there now. It was vacant a long, long time. But all the restaurant gear was there as if it would reopen the next day. I loved the alleys when I was a kid. There is another tunnel from the old Atlantic Mills below Holy Name Catholic Church. It ends at Sycamore Park by the old ball field. Thanks, Mike.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Earl. A labor of love to drive Vaughn Boulevard: the main drag of a lot of us as young’uns. And I know that tunnel from Mitchell-Avenue J-Beach to Cobb Park Drive-Maddox. Has a dogleg in it. We walked it one time not knowing that the Conoco (“hottest brand going”) station over the tunnel in that triangle sometimes dumped gasoline into the tunnel. The Fort Worth Press somehow found out about our “sewer rat” explorations and printed a feature on us. The parents of one of our “gang members” had not been aware that he was consorting with known sewer rats, read the Press story and the part about gasoline, and grounded him! He grew up to be an electrical engineer. I grew up to be . . . well, we’re still waiting.

  5. Gary says:

    Good Morning Mike, Great post and video. In 1955, I think, we moved from Montague, a little south of the Poly Freeway (before it was built) to the Glencrest Elementary area. Seeing all that there was to do and get into along Vaughan almost makes me regret that move. We still often shopped along Vaughan, but I particularly remember The Griddle. Was the Mr. Garrett mentioned above the father of one of our classmates? I never called James Anderson anything other than Andy.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Gary. It was (mostly) fun to go back to our old main drag and shoot the videos. Mr. Garrett was the “old man” across the street on Burton. Probably not as old as I am now! For some reason I keep wanting to call James “Wally.”

  6. David Clay says:

    I am amazed at how the neighborhood looks now…grew up on Hanger St. 5th house down (next to the last house on the right) … the creek ran right behind the house. Anybody remember the horse that was kept back there. We rode it bare back a lot! The creek area kept us very entertained. Used to explore it from Atlantic Mills all the way to the sewer pipe. Later we moved to Ave L … the only two story house on the block. Hanger house is torn down but the Ave L house is still standing. I also remember Bud Anderson paying us boys to help assemble the bikes as they came in. 10 cents each…LOL We were cheap child labor. The Sting Ray craze kept us pretty busy. Wasn’t the place across from Peacock’s Gro. a Catering business? I remember all the roach coaches parked behind it. Thanks for posting these memories!

  7. SallyCampbell & Ike Renfield says:

    Sort of off topic–we would love to watch every video you have ever posted but we have inefficient dial-up. It’s all we can afford. So please don’t conclude that all your readers don’t WANT to see the video posts.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Sally and Ike. I know that even at the lowest YouTube “quality” setting video clips don’t play well on dialup. I post the clips in 1080 high definition in case some folks can take advantage of the highest quality.

  8. Chuck Harvey says:

    Mike, do you recall the talking crow that tge Robbins had at Poly Hardware? Back in the back yard there, they had it caged. The original owner caught it sacs baby and split it’s tongue. And it could talk as well as a mynah bird ad I recall. But that is the problem isn’t it? I can recall some things that just aren’t so.

    • hometown says:

      Chuck, I started to include the crow and the monkey but took them out. I remember the big cage in the back yard. Someone at Bishop and Thannisch also had a crow in a big cage. Heck, WE had a crow, too. My father brought him home from Bowie one day. Loved to eat dry dog food and hoard anything shiny.

  9. John Hunnicutt says:

    My dad bought Bud Anderson’s bike shop and I worked there for a couple years. I remember it flooding one year and wading through the water in that alley. Been in that drainage tunnel several times myself. Yoostabe a house on Ada close to the tunnel. We were going to move in to it but it burnt down the day after we had about half our stuff in there. Maybe 67

    • hometown says:

      There was a modernistic house in the bend just south of where the restaurant is now that we called the beatnik house. There were always two sports cars parked there, and we imagined the tenants to be wild bachelors. Very near the mouth of the tunnel. Went to school with Bud’s son James.

  10. Patti Whetstone says:

    I enjoyed this so much! I grew up on Ave. N— 2 houses down from SS Dillow school. Wonderful memories in Poly. Wish I could go back to those days!

  11. Marlene Richardson says:

    I still have dishes from the give-away at Hooluhahs. (I doubt that is spelled correctly.) I was just a little girl back then. My first bicycle technically was from Anderson’s. Santa left it under the tree my first grade year. It is interesting that the bike matched exactly a used one that my dad had me “try out for size” just a few days earlier.

    • hometown says:

      Houlihan’s dishes! I remember the wooden floors. We were fortunate: Vaughn had–at walking distance for many of us–almost everything that distant Rosedale had.

  12. Ramiro Garza says:

    Wow. I am blown away. Born in late 1948, I can relate to the late 1950, and late 1960 era on Vaughn St. “growing up”. Like many people, I suspect, I compartmentalize my life from that time, to early college life, war years, work, marriage-children etc. Thanks Mike. Good work. Just one gripe, I was too chicken to scamper across peoples yards, and travel down the sewers. Wish I had.

    • hometown says:

      You know me–I am NOT a brave person. Back then I was just dumb. Well, dumbER. Or maybe it was just a safe world, and I somehow knew it. We all did things that would give today’s parents the fantods. An example of that is coming up in tomorrow’s post.

  13. Mike Marshall says:

    I’m not sure but I believe Weldon’s Cafe was owned by Sandy Bodiford’s father. She lived up the street from me on Foard. She married Kenneth Copeland, who in high school was an aspiring pop singer. He had one record hit the top 40, Pledge of Love in 1957.

    • hometown says:

      Mike, if Weldon wasn’t her father, then his brother James was, I suspect. I think Sandy was in my sister’s class of 1955. Cute as a bug. Editor of the yearbook. I have an mp3 of that Copeland song. I see that the Weldon’s cafe building has been painted in the last two weeks. Maybe it’s going to reopen.

  14. Diane Reid says:

    I too watched the video. It brings back such good memories and sorrow to see how run down Poly has become.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Diane. Was saddened to hear that Burge Hardware closed. It had been in operation even longer than Poly Hardware has been.

  15. Loved the video! I lived on Littlejohn when I was 13 then moved to Avenue C. We ate at the Griddle System (loved the secret sauce)and I walked to the Poly Theatre where I fell in love with Rhett Butler! What sweet memories you’ve brought and I thank you!

  16. Steve Allie says:

    Another great post! We were at the DQ when the awning was hit by lightning. She used to give a free sundae for a A honor card. Big name out of Poly Hardware was Tommy Robbins, all-state basketball player.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Steve. There were more Robbins boys than I was aware of. I had met only Bill and Joe and Terry until I met the grandson the other day. Spent many an allowance in that store.

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