From the archives: Police raid nabs “scantily clad folk”

We’re always snooping around in newspaper archives for one reason or another, and they often turn up something juicy, even when they don’t answer any questions.

Recently, we read that country music song-writing great Lefty Frizzell lived in Dallas as a teenager. That sparked a little obsession, and I’ve been trying to figure out where in Dallas Lefty lived, whether he went to school or worked here, and any other tidbit I can find. So far, I’ve come up empty with that. Does anyone have a clue?

Anyway, in an archives search related to that, I came up with this totally unrelated news story from Sept. 16, 1929 about a whiskey raid in Oak Cliff. Police raided an art studio on Beckley Avenue and found eight people drinking whiskey in their underwear. The headline is awesome: “Scantily-Clad Folk Arrested”.

The men and women in the studio for the most part were wearing only underclothing as officers succeeded in entering when barred doors were opened for more merrymakers.

The police found a gallon and a half of corn whiskey in that raid.

On that Saturday night, police seized a total of 330 bottles of beer, 124 gallons of beer in the making, 47 gallons of whiskey, 12 pints of gin and 45 gallons of choc beer. The police probably had the best parties back then.

The story also says “a negro ballpark east of Oak Cliff was raided”, and police found men illegally gambling there, although all but one got away. There was a “negro” ballpark that abutted the Trinity River Levees, not far from the whites-only park that closed in the mid-60s. That’s probably where this happened.

Also in the story: “Two Mexicans were arrested also in West Dallas for questioning in connection with recent burglaries in and near Cement City.” Ugh.

It might sound romantic at times, but just a reminder: You don’t really want to time travel to the Jazz Age. Here’s the full story:


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