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If Every Picture Tells a Story ...

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So, like I was saying, Friend of Unfair Park PeterK -- who scours the eBay for rare photos of Dallas, my kind of guy -- sent me this homegrown picture earlier this week, and while not as attention-getting as a downtown Dallas fire, it is intriguing. Looks very, I dunno, Our Gang. Except those boys in the back left don't look like they're much into wacky shenanigans. Looking for trouble, more like it.

I sent the picture to Steve Gaither at the downtown library hoping he might know more about it -- like, was Goodwin the name of a school, maybe. Or what did the old city directories list at 416 S. Clinton? Gaither more than happily accepted the challenge, and by 5:30 yesterday he'd returned with this much information: The "Goodwin" is Nathan V. Goodwin, a photographer who came to Texas from St. Paul in 1918 and died at the age of 79 in 1964; he lived at 416 S. Clinton at the time of his death, when he was survived by his wife. Goodwin had also been a soldier in the Army, and newspaper accounts from the 1930 and '40s list him as having been sent to San Francisco in 1906 following the earthquake, then to Alaska and Cuba.

But that "22" on the photo probably isn't the year from which the photo dates, because in 1922, the house was owned by one Ralph Buckley, the general manager of the Pierce Oil Company. Gaither also says the 22 doesn't refer to a Dallas school: Though there had been attempts to number Dallas's earliest public schools, he writes that "the largest number I saw was 7 [as] it looks like the numbers were abandoned pretty early." At which point Carol Roarke, manager of the archives, addw this note per Gaither's e-mail: "The black board that the photo is mounted on is more likely something done in the 1920s (considered an unnecessary expense in the 1930s). The bobbed hair on the teacher would have been very unlikely prior to the early 1920s."

I know, right? More questions than answers. And a lot of work for an old photo somebody from Sherman's selling for six bucks on eBay. Still.

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