The Newspapers reported, in 1876, that Sycamore (Akard) and Pacific was the most dangerous nighttime intersection. Robberies by “the gang” were, one paper said, “not infrequent.” Bank robberies became fashionable, with the robbers getting away on horseback, after one such robbery, because there were not enough north-south streets in the downtown area: none from Poydras to Sycamore because of the T&P freight yards along Pacific. A definite step toward metropolitanism came April 1, 1876, when the Herald (which had been a daily since 1874) carried its first Associated Press dispatch. (It went daily when a telegraph wire enabled it to get “outside” news in sufficient quantity to print each day.)
St. Matthews Episcopal moved to a site far up on Commerce, opening the cathedral May 5, 1876—almost the same day as the dedication of Temple Emanu-el down the street. The Herald, one hot July day, asked editorially, “Does it pay a street railway company to permit open buckets of butter to stand in the cars and ruin the dresses of the ladies?” We can read between the lines, of course, and visualize a publisher’s wife coming home from a ride on the mule cars with an undiscovered grease spot of magnificent proportions on her hem.
The land near Browder Springs was given to the city in 1877 by J. J. Eakin to become the first city park. An improvement in the water system (which drew its water from Browder Springs) took place when baked clay pipes, two feet in diameter, were laid in Main and Elm streets, from Murphy and Market to River. The standpipe up on Harwood was now “an iron tank.”
In February 1877 the Presbyterians shocked Dallas, not religiously but economically, by voting to pay the pastor $1,000 per annum—a princely sum. And that same year the city, through a newly appointed board of trustees, took charge of all the public schools within Dallas city limits and made them free. But nearly five years later, Dallas had erected no school buildings, and a proposal to tear down the public market (southeast corner of Main and Akard) and use the site for a public school was hooted into oblivion: too noisy, too near saloons, no playgrounds—”All they know about is money; not children,” a mother accused. The plan was never pushed.
Courtesy Dallas The Deciding Years by A. C. Greene.