Back in 1913, When Dallas Had a Red-Light District and Bike Messengers Dropped Off, You Know, Prescriptions
Lewis Wickes Hine
I've been trying to dig up some of Lewis Wickes Hine's reports written during his sojourn to Dallas in 1913 on behalf of the National Child Labor Commission, when he met 6-year-old newsie Louis Shuman and 15-year-old cotton spinner Rosy Phillips. So far, no luck -- they reside deep within the bowels of the Library of Congress and appear to have remained unpublished even at this late date. At least the photographic archives are easily accessible.
This week's lost boy, however, has no name. Hine referred to him only as "Fifteen year old delivery boy for Linders Drug Store." The kid, according to Hine, has "just returned from a trip to these Houses." What Hine's referring to are the whorehouses in Frogtown -- so named, wrote David Kirkpatrick, "because of the calls of frogs that came up the stream from the Trinity River." The officially sanctioned red-light district would eventually come to be known by another name: the Reservation.
According to Hine, Linder's was "located on the edge of the Reservation, Griffin Street." But where, exactly? Carol Roark, manager of the Dallas Public Library's Texas & Dallas History Division, spent the better part of 15 minutes this afternoon tracking down exactly where the drug store was -- and who owned it. It wasn't immediately clear from old city directories, she says, because "a lot of the businesses that served people in the Reservation didn't have reason to advertise their services widely, because they had a dedicated clientele."
Roark did eventually find the precise location: 519 Griffin Street, near the Ross Avenue intersection. She also located the owner: Edward O. Linder.
After the jump, another photo of a messenger boy actually riding his bike through the Reservation.
The cutline for this photo reads, in full: "Messenger boy in the heart of the Reservation delivering messages. Prostitutes run back and forth. Business beginning at mid-day. I saw messenger boys and delivery boys for drug stores from fifteen years upward. Some still younger told me that they go there. This was in spite of a strong agitation being waged to close up the resorts. Location: Dallas, Texas."
Lewis Wickes Hine
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