I came across a letter which my dad wrote to a client in 1975. In a previous conversation with the client, he had mistakenly said that the client's office was on Magnolia Avenue, whereas in fact the client's office was on West Berry Street. My dad explains in the letter his memories of those two streets:
One must go back to the middle 1930's, when I as a young man spent my summers working in the offices of Kimbell Milling Company at 2100 South Main.
Both Magnolia and Berry were an integral part of my traffic pattern. They were virtually the only east-west thoroughfares in South Fort Worth, since this was before the days of Rosedale to the north and Seminary Drive to the south. Both were important streets. However, they were different.
Magnolia probably was the largest shopping area in South Fort Worth, in addition to being something of a cultural center. It contained such outstanding establishments as the Paris Coffee Shop, owned and operated by Smitty the Greek, where Kimbell employees who were working nights could enjoy delicious pie a la mode by adding 15 cents to their supper allowance--the only overtime pay we received before the enactment of the 25 cents per hour minimum wage law by Congress. Also on Magnolia was Renfro Drug No. 11, a store which my father never passed if he came within five blocks of it. And, of course, there was the Tivoli Theatre.
Berry Street, by way of contrast, was largely undeveloped, and even the built-up part was architecturally somewhat less than attractive. The two structures I remember best, for example, were an icehouse near the railroad tracks and Brother Joe Scheumack's Evangelical Temple. But it did provide a convenient and quick route from Kimbell's on South Main to my home on Stadium Drive. I remember that I once was proud of the fact that I made it home from the office on one occasion, in midday, in less than six minutes--a feat which required negotiating Berry Street at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. I am no longer proud of that fact; I am merely thankful that I lived through my teens.
I thought y'all might enjoy the references to the businesses then operating on Magnolia and Berry.
Magnolia Avenue, West Berry Street
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