10. Oak Cliff Googie Architecture 2012
Astro Drive-In / Demolished example of Oak Cliff Googie Architecture
Googie architecture is a futuristic style with origins in Southern California, dating back to the emergence of mid-century modern. In the 1950’s and 60’s, automobiles were quickly becoming popular forms of transportation; consequently, buildings and signage supporting America’s Car Culture were designed to be noticed at higher speeds along highways. A fascination with spaceflight and nuclear power was also celebrated during the optimistic 1950s, with unique Googie elements to symbolize speed and energy. Googie signage displays bold angles, suggesting aerodynamic features with references to the Atomic Age.
Characteristics of Googie architecture include upward sloping roofs, cantilevered structures, large angled windows, illuminated plastic, bold use of neon, boomerangs, parabolas, atomic bursts and other freeform shapes. Many coffee shops, car washes and auto service stations exhibited Googie style. Googie was a family nickname of a West Hollywood business owner with a coffee shop named Googie’s (built in 1949, demolished in 1989), designed by John Lautner.
After WWII, Oak Cliff experienced it’s own growth from a business and housing boom. Convenience stores were built along Jefferson Boulevard to support the growing neighborhood. Hotels and auto service businesses lined Fort Worth Avenue and Highway 80 (Davis St.). Lancaster Road was developed as a major vehicular thoroughfare, where many old service stations have been re-purposed and are still standing. Signage played an important role and Oak Cliff has a few remaining examples of Googie style, many of which can be seen through signage. Here, we include a few beloved Oak Cliff buildings or structures as examples of Googie architecture. Some have already been lost, such as Astro Drive-in. Many mid-century buildings are at risk of decline due to the experimental nature of their design and materials.
2011 Architecture at Risk Status
1. Tenth St. Historic District - Since last year’s Risk List, the outlook for Tenth Street Historic District has improved.
A Neighborhood Association is beginning to form with the aide of Council Member Carolyn Davis, Meadows Foundation and other non-profit organizations.
2000 Roses Foundation has been working with the City of Dallas to acquire vacant properties with goals for rehabilitation instead of demolition. In May, the Texas National Guard assisted the City with demolition for selected properties in South Dallas, one being in the Tenth Street Historic District. The removal of this burned structure set wheels in motion for new development.
CityDesign Studio has included the Tenth Street Historic District in a new planning effort named LINC Dallas (Leveraging & Improving Neighborhood Connections). For more info, visit: http://www.dallascityhall.com/citydesign_studio/LINC.html
2. Jefferson Blvd. - Last year, Councilmember Delia Jasso assembled a group of people to discuss the future of Jefferson Blvd. Mayor Mike Rawlings has identified Jefferson Blvd. in his Grow South initiative to re-identify the street as a "Main Street" for Southern Dallas and Oak Cliff. When speaking about Jefferson, the Mayor always mentions the history of the street in a very positive light and has discussed it in private meetings about Jefferson. With the Boulevard's history being part of the dialougue about it's future, we feel very positive indeed.
3. Annabelle Clopton Bldg - Two new businesses have gone into the Annabelle Clopton Building since last year and both have done improvements to both the interior and exterior. While some of the renovations haven't been sensitive, the structure is in such disrepair that they are certainly better than the situation was before.