D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Happy 100th Birthday, Hockaday

All through the 2013-2014 academic year, the Hockaday School in North Dallas has been celebrating its 100th anniversary. The prestigious institution for girls held its first classes on September 25, 1913. Some of the city’s leading citizens had summoned Miss Ela Hockaday to Dallas to establish a college preparatory school for young ladies.

Sixty-five years later, Prudence Mackintosh (who’d earlier taught at Hockaday) wrote about the history of the school, which opened first in a small house on Haskell Avenue, soon moved to a campus on Greenville Avenue at Belmont (then part of the Caruth farm on the outskirts of Dallas), and later to its current home on Welch Road along Forest Lane. Her story is one D Magazine’s 40 greatest ever.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Tall Tales of a Legendary (By His Own Account) Newspaperman

I find myself craving chili and rice, specifically the chili and rice served by Shanghai Jimmy, who ran a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Live Oak Street downtown in the 1950s and ’60s. It was an era when men were men and reporters were unashamed of making up the news if they couldn’t find any, if a fellow named Jack Proctor is to be believed. Which, based on Blackie Sherrod’s October 1975 D Magazine article (one of our 40 greatest stories ever), he almost certainly is not.

Sherrod writes with great affection for Proctor, his fellow newspaperman, press box regular, and chili-and-rice aficionado. Proctor invented his own vocabulary — a tattoo was a “too-tat,” a jail was a “gowhoose” — and sometimes interviews. Sherrod writes of the time in the 1930s that Proctor wanted to visit a girlfriend down in San Antonio and so he convinced his editor he’d landed an exclusive with Clyde Barrow. Trouble is, at the time Proctor was supposedly meeting with Barrow, the notorious criminal was positively identified having shot a highway patrolman (a “highway petroleum” in Proctor’s parlance). And so the reporter was asked to move on to some other newsroom to find employment, which he did.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: A Brother’s Murder

Dan Carney grew up in Highland Park but had moved away for many years — for college, a stint in the Peace Corps, and his first newspaper job in North Carolina — when he got a jarring phone call from his father early one Saturday morning in 1987.

He learned that his brother Paul had been brutally stabbed late one night while walking from a bus stop to where he worked, a halfway house for prison parolees in East Dallas. At the intersection of Bryan Street and Fitzhugh Avenue, someone had taken what must have been an ice pick to Paul’s face and head over and over. There was severe brain damage. Two of the wounds reached all the way to his brain stem. He fell into a coma, kept alive by machines in the Baylor intensive care unit, and died a couple weeks later.

No suspect could be found. No motive could be established. Paul Carney’s death seems the definition of a senseless killing. But Dan Carney was a reporter, wounded by the loss of his brother, and so he was drawn to discover whatever he could about his brother’s life, to try to make any sense that he might of this crime.

I hope I never have to report on anything as personal and painful as the story Dan Carney wrote for the August 1988 issue of D Magazine, which we’re recognizing today as one of our 40 greatest.

Carney is now an editorial writer for USA Today. I reached out to him and asked for any thoughts he might share about this story, 27 years after his brother was attacked on February 27, 1987. Here’s what he had to say:

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Native Americans Gather on the Cement Prairie

You might visit the corner of Peak and Bryan streets today to eat at Bangkok City or Vietnam or maybe get a drink at Bryan Street Tavern. Back in 1975 it was known as “The Corner,” a “cluster of depressing, ramshackle bars” around which thousands of Native Americans who were relocated to Dallas from rural areas across the Great Plains would cluster to support each other as they looked to start new lives in the big city.

In the second of the 40 greatest stories in D Magazine‘s history that we’ll be highlighting this year to celebrate our 40th anniversary, writer Doug Holley spends time among American Indians at the bar Tom & Jerry’s, which had been welcoming them since the late 1950s.

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When You Could Buy a Highland Park Home For $70,000

In looking through a 1975 issue from the archives of D Magazine for unrelated reasons, I happened across a story (which appears to be incomplete online) featuring a number of couples who had moved into East Dallas and discussed why they were choosing to invest in the neighborhood. Among them:

Don and Judy Templin had wanted to buy a house in Highland Park. The have lived there for a year in a rented place, but had begun to outgrow it.

They found a large one-story on St. John’s that they thought might fit their buying capability — around $40,000.

“As it turned out, we looked at it and liked what we found, but it cost too much,” says Templin, a young attorney. “I think it sold from $60,000 to $70,000.”

And then they witnessed what might have been the dawn of the teardown age:

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: The Starck Club’s Prince of Ecstasy

I couldn’t help thinking back to an ancient regret of my own when reading the story of Rodney Kitchens, a man who literally brought Ecstasy to the legendary Starck Club at its mid-’80s hedonistic heights. The article, which first appeared in the October 1989 issue of D Magazine, is the first of the 40 greatest stories in our print product’s history that we’ll be highlighting over the coming months. Read the whole thing here. Our excuse for revisiting the past is the 40th anniversary of the first issue of D, an event we’ll officially celebrate this fall.

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