Deep Ellum in the 1920s


Deep Ellum in the 1920s. The photo looks north from what is approximately today’s Hall St., at the intersection of Main or Elm. In the background is the Texas Baptist Sanitarium, located at today’s Baylor Hospital. (Thanks to Steve Bozich and the Traces of Texas Facebook page for this photo.)


It was about 15 years ago at the Dallas Public Library’s downtown location that I came across, on their 8th floor, an original copy of the New Deal-era Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State. FDR’s Works Progress Administration compiled this guidebook through the work of the Federal Writers Program (with help from the Texas Writers Project and the Texas State Highway Commission), and the book is nowadays available to freely read online. The first edition was published in 1940.

There is a wealth of information on Dallas. The guidebook’s entry on Deep Ellum is also noteworthy. The language reflects white attitudes at the time:

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