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Palestine Texas: Late-1930s Street Scene

Palestine, Texas was founded in 1846 by the Texas State Legislature, it is located one-hundred and twelve miles southeast of Dallas on the eastern side of the Lone Star State. The historic railroad City is the county seat of Anderson County.

This photo containing parked cars on a wide street in Palestine was taken in the late-1930s. One of the earliest automobiles in this scene is a two-tone Model “L” Lincoln sedan visible on the lower left-hand side of the image. This Lincoln is not equipped with front-wheel brakes which dates it to 1925 or earlier; only the “Police Flyers” used in law enforcement were fitted with front brakes beginning in 1924.

Share what you find of interest in this photo via contributor Benjamin Ames.

26 responses to “Palestine Texas: Late-1930s Street Scene

  1. The Lincoln Model L has the Judkins-designed three-window sedan body Style 133. They were built by their various standard body suppliers Anderson, Towson, Murry or Babcock. No doubt originally purchased by an oil or ranching family since Lincolns were very expensive cars.

    A ’35 Studebaker is visible up to the right next to the stake truck. The car on the lower right with the split belt-line, pipe bumpers and wire wheels I think is an Auburn.

    • I think your right but I wasn’t positive. A buddy had a ’31 Buick back in the 70’s. There known for cracked exhaust manifolds and that thin bar with the Buick emblem between the headlamps breaking. A great car none the less.

    • My first car (1957) was a 1931 Buick model 8-57 (small series 4-door) and my second car (1960) was the same. The first one was referred to as the “first type” by GM having the double bumper, soldered together brass oil cooler, open driveshaft and non-syncro mesh transmission. The “first type” was built from April, 1930 until December, 1930. The “second type” came out January, 1931 and had the single bar bumper, screwed together pressed steel oil cooler, enclosed driveshaft and syncro mesh transmission into second and third gear.

  2. The last black plate for Texas appears to be 1937. Also, unless the wires on the poles are very thin, are we to believe electrical service was just coming in?

      • One conversation per wire yet the telephone technology of the era did allow the first version of a conference call due to the features of the shared service aka party line.

        • Yep, our number was 417J, the “J” indicating a subdivision of the 417 line. Then one day, the telephone guy came out and bolted a dial to the top of that device. And we had to learn about CLEarbrook, OXFord and SHErwood.

    • Pretty much par for the course. Here in Illinois we have:
      Des Plaines: dess PLANES
      Marseilles: mar SALES
      Versailles: ver SALES
      Bourbonnais: bur BON ess
      And the ever popular New Athens: noo A thins

  3. due to the great distances involved, Texas was pretty car mad from early on. But once some hot V-8’s started appearing in cars like Buicks, Oldsmobile and Pontiac, things got crazy. All my uncles had one of those and a pickup for work use, but we would fly through the cotton fields on narrow roads at night barely staying under 100 mph in the mid 50’s! Went back for a family reunion in 75 and the daughters of the sons of those uncles carried on that fine tradition, albeit with less imposing vehicles! Yahoo!

  4. I’m surprised that we don’t see more than one open car – like a model A roadster or similar. I would think all these sedans would be pretty hot most of the year.

    I can’t figure out how to expand the image so have to live with viewing minimum detail. If someone wanted to chime in with instructions on how to expand the images, I’d enjoy learning the process.

  5. This is the 300 block of West Spring Street between N. Queen and N. John Streets. I was wondering about the preponderance of cafes in the photo. It turns out that this photo shows the businesses across the street from the Missouri Pacific LInes Passenger Station. The Missouri Pacific used the abbreviation “MoPac” which explains the name of one of the cafes. The Missouri Pacific eventually became part of the Union Pacific Railroad.

    While the year of the photo is uncertain, in 1935 the businesses shown here were the following. Not everything in the photo matches up perfectly with the 1935 listing, but enough to confirm the location. Every building shown in the photo has been demolished.

    303: White House Cafe
    305: A B Taxi Line
    307: Garner’s Cigar Store
    309: Mo Pac Cafe
    313: O’Neill Cafe
    315: Hotel O’Neill (the big unmarked building at the left)

    Anderson County, Texas received the lowest block of license plate numbers from 1923 – 1942, but the lowest numbered plate issued in the county varied by year (usually 101, 201, 251, or 301). Suffice to say, the Lincoln shown in the photo was registered in Anderson County.

    One interesting feature of the city is that it has a ring/loop road. Texas Loop 256 goes entirely around the city.

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