Exploring History on Harry Hines Blvd.


There’s a conspicuous blue building on Harry Hines Blvd.  I drive by it daily.  Its sign has big unmistakable letters identifying it far and wide.  And in case there’s any doubt, there’s also a large beckoning banner: Open to the Public.

Now before you panic and wonder what type of business on Harry Hines Blvd I’m speaking of, I’ll identify it.  It’s Janitor’s World.

Aside from my dreamy imaginings of a building full of cleaning supplies, this place has an even more compelling reason to attract my attention.

History!

The building started out as the Star Lite Rollercade.

Click the link to read a Dallas Morning News article from October 30, 1960 that discusses the steel structure.  You’ll also see a black and white photo in the article.  I love the sign. DMN-Newsbank-Delta Steel Buildings Co.

Here’s a color postcard of the Star Lite Rollercade.  Source: the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Below is a current photo of the building.  (Courtesy of my new dash cam!)  Notice how the facade has changed.  (Click image for larger view)

 


With all my research and fascination— I had to visit.  I wanted to see if it felt like a skating rink inside.  I feared the worst.

My friend Tore and I walked in last Saturday.  I was immediately distracted by the aisles of cleaning supplies.  Tore pointed to the floor.

The original floor remains.  Not in the entire structure. But a good portion.  I imagined myself transported to the former skating rink days.  And if you need help being transported, here’s yet another Dallas Morning News article dated November 6, 1965.  It’s a charming discussion of the youth, their music and the Star Lite Rollercade.  DMN-Newsbank-ComboCraze-StarLite

Now let us admire the floor….

We were greeted by an employee who asked if we needed any assistance.  I hesitated but replied, “this is going to sound weird— but we came because we’ve read this was an old skating rink.”

The employee replied, “yes it was.  In fact we had an elderly woman visit us who said she used to skate here as a kid.  The owner of the building has photos of this place when it was a skating rink.”

The employee went on to explain the back portion of the building had the flooring removed since it’s more of a warehouse space.  I had to see.  Take a look at the steel from the Delta Steel Buildings Company.  Even though this was my first visit, I felt such a connection to this building!

We walked up and down every aisle.  I admired the weathered wood flooring as well as the tantalizing professional grade cleaning supplies.  There were wall mounted air fresheners and countless scents to choose from.

I discovered cleaners I never knew I needed.  Sponges and scrapers.  My own janitorial cart.  Floor buffers. Toilet paper dispensers.  Vacuum bags.  Tile cleaners.  Products called defoamers— which apparently help get rid of excess foam residue in carpet.

We spent a long time there.

Ever wonder what the restroom at a Janitor’s World is like? It lives up to its name.  It’s well stocked with supplies.  I felt inspired.  🙂

Of course I purchased items. Bought exciting new cleaners for the home.  The prices were fair too.

The cashiers were friendly and very concerned about a clean appearance.  The cashier commented that she wasn’t thinking when she wore a white t-shirt to work (I think she had already gotten it dirty).  Then there was a young woman at the other register.  She was in a painter’s suit, painting the register counter white.

There was a refreshing sense of pride in this store.  I am glad the Star Lite Rollercade building is in good hands and is serving the community as Janitor’s World.  I hope it remains this way for years to come.

 

I still haven’t stopped thinking about the wall mounted air freshener that I need for the office.  I predict I’ll be returning soon.

And yes, you too can visit. Just know it closes at 3 pm on Saturdays. Because Harry Hines Blvd. 😜

 


This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t end it by referencing the postcard link again.  The back of the postcard lists the owners of the Star Lite Rollercade:  Lester & Geraldine Young.  If you missed that detail, visit the postcard link here:  Star Lite Rollercade.  Source:  the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

I was able to locate their obituaries.  Mr Lester Young seems like quite a loved grandfather and great-grandfather.  He passed away on January 16, 2014.  He was 85 years old.  Mrs. Geraldine Young passed away recently – on October 2, 2018.  She was 89 years old.  May they Rest in Peace.


 

 

Hopefully this little post inspires you to observe and learn more about your own city or community.  It can make a daily commute much more interesting.  If you are interested in researching, here are a few tips I’ve learned:

  • Get a library card – particularly one that subscribes to Newsbank.  With Newsbank you’ll have access to a treasure trove of newspaper articles.  I newly discovered the Plano Public Library subscribes to Newsbank and I’m able to access it from the comfort of my iPad.
  • You can also visit many libraries and access Newsbank without having a library card.  I have done this method at the Dallas Public Library downtown.

 

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