Preface: Hopefully you’ve been following along in this series. If you’re new, the quick rundown: I fancy myself the “caretaker” of the Tower Hotel Courts in Dallas, even though it has been demolished for many years.
I was recently contacted by a stranger, Angelia McDaniel, who has ephemera from “my” motel. Her parents, John Dennis Rush, Jr. and Letha Floyace Grimes Rush stayed at the Tower Hotel Courts for their honeymoon in 1955. This initial contact with Angelia was the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack. While one can find pieces of ephemera for sale at antique stores or online, having the personal stories tied to the pieces makes it even more fascinating. Angelia has been very gracious in sharing her family’s stories. We’ve had a blast going down various rabbit holes during our research.
Part 3 showcases the journey from the wedding ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls to the Tower Hotel Courts in Dallas. As Angelia describes it, the “Honeymoon Road Trip”.
Angelia has the “PASS REQUEST” her father used to get leave from Sheppard Air Force base for the wedding. The Leave was effective February 5, 1955 with a “PURPOSE” of “Getting Married” and the “NO. DAYS OR HRS” of the leave was “3-day”. The “ADDRESS WHILE ON LEAVE” was 1663 Pearl St, the same one listed in the wedding announcement.
After the wedding ceremony the couple drove a 1954 Ford Customline from Wichita Falls to the Tower Hotel Courts in Dallas.
I used Google Maps to route the modern-day journey from the Air Force Base to the Tower Hotel Courts. Today the drive would take a minimum of 2 hours with toll fees or 2 1/2 hours without fees. See the Google Maps image below.
I asked my friend Tore Bellis what he thought about the time it took to travel. He returned with maps from 1955-1956 from the DFW Freeways website (of course he would!)
Using the 1955 and 1956 maps, I have highlighted in pink the journey the newlyweds likely drove from the Air Force base to the Tower Hotel Courts. Tore estimates it took 4 hours to drive, given the speed limit, traffic lights through cities, sightseeing, pit stops and who knows if they had a flat tire along the way!
Here’s a close-up from the 1955 map. The Tower Hotel Courts was located at Tom Field Circle, note how the red lines all converge like spokes on a wheel. This was a well known dangerous traffic circle where Highway 77, 183, 114 and Loop 12 meet. (It is no longer there.)
Here are photos from the “Honeymoon Road Trip”.
The new bride, Mrs. Letha Floyace Grimes Rush, posing beside the 1954 Ford Customline.
John Dennis Rush, Jr. poses next to a Texas statue. I gave it my best effort to try to determine where this was taken. It appears to be in the middle of nowhere, which could be anywhere in 1955! And there aren’t any trees which is not unusual for Texas. The “Texas” shaped statue throws me off – it seems like these types of photo opportunities are at the border – so Texas and Oklahoma. But the couple would have taken a short detour north of Sheppard Air Force base to reach the border. Anything is possible. But not sure how likely it is. If anyone has thoughts on the location please comment.
Also, these photos could have been taken after the couple arrived in Dallas or on the trip back home to Wichita Falls. It may have to remain a mystery. But they are a fun addition to the post.
Other observations about the two photos: she’s in short sleeves and he’s wearing a light jacket. The wonders of the internet – you can look up historic weather reports. Below is a screenshot of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NOAA). The average high during the date range was 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here is the room receipt from their check-in to the hotel. Take a look at the amenities. Television, Completely Air Conditioned Room, Telephones… Dancing Nightly in the Famous Bamboo Room. I wonder if the newlyweds dined and danced in the Bamboo Room!
The back of the receipt has great details. They stayed in room 60. The cost of the room was $7.00. The check out appears to be February 6th at 11:45. Angelia shared that she recognized her dad’s handwriting on the top of the receipt, “Rush, J. D.”
The receipt also has options for additional services, including Long Distance, Cigars & News, Express Baggage and Garage. I cannot decipher the handwriting toward the center of the receipt. It looks like it might be Feb 6 / ’55. The next line of text is a mystery. The first letter might be a “J”. If anyone has thoughts on this, please comment.
I used an inflation calculator from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine approximately how much the $7.00 room rate would cost today. $7.00 in February 1955 would be $68.95 in February 2021.
I have additional pieces of ephemera from Angelia that are related to the Tower Hotel Courts and Texas history that I’ll be sharing in upcoming posts. I hope you’re enjoying the journey as much as I am!