The Ross Brothers
by Darwin Payne    Fri, Aug 15, 2008, 03:03 PM

SUC50366.JPGWhen the effort to change the name of Industrial Boulevard to Cesar Chavez Boulevard failed, the Dallas City Council’s Trinity River Corridor Project Committee inexplicably set its sights on historic Ross Avenue, recommending unanimously that this major artery become Cesar Chavez Avenue.

Many are gasping at the temerity of such a possibility. While, historically speaking, Industrial Boulevard is wet-behind-the-ears, having been developed primarily after World War II, Ross Avenue is another story entirely. Its fascinating history, intertwined solidly with the essential history of Dallas, goes back at least 140 years.

Opponents to the change are circulating petitions, and they have developed a website, http://www.saveross.com/. Letters to the editor and e-mails are being generated.

Earlier, I related some of the historic personality of the street in a column in The Dallas Morning News ("We can’t roll over Ross’ past," July 26, 2008), available at dallasnews.com/extra. Now it seems appropriate to turn our attention to the Ross brothers themselves.

As to the origin of Ross Avenue’s name, all that the media has acknowledged—and rather lamely—Is that it was named after two brothers who happened to be real estate developers and who happened to own property through which Ross Avenue was carved.

There is more, much more to the fascinating lives of these colorful Dallasites, described in a history as "kind and courteous in manner."

Born in Georgia fourteen years apart, they came to Dallas in 1866 and brought color and vibrancy until their deaths three and four decades later.

William W. Ross (b. 3-30-1821) was the first in town to succeed at planting a kitchen garden even though his neighbors doubted it could be done in hot and dry Dallas.

Andrew J. Ross (b. 9-8-1835)—called "Captain Andy"—kept fine dogs and often brought home a bag of ducks after a morning’s hunt.

The brothers, who seemed inseparable, both served in the Confederate army. Andrew was adjutant (captain) in the 22nd Texas Cavalry, and William was a private in the 9th Texas Cavalry.

In Dallas, they lost no time in proving themselves to be responsible citizens, as Kelvin Meyers, archivist of First United Methodist Church , located on Ross Avenue, has discovered. Church records of November 1868 show both men on the building committee for the new church facility on Lamar Street. Andrew’s wife, Catherine, or "Kitty," served on the Ladies Aid Society that raised the money to build the steeple for the new church.

The Rosses continued to be members of the church until their deaths. The First Methodist pastor presided over the funerals of Andrew in 1905 and Kitty in 1910, and probably also over the 1895 funeral of William and perhaps that of his wife Josephine in 1885.

It is likely that today’s First United Methodist Church is on property once owned by the Ross brothers.

It was the Ross brothers’ father, David who probably intrigued them with the idea of Texas. He made an extended exploratory trip in 1838 when Texas was a republic, and when he returned to his family in Georgia he undoubtedly regaled his boys with tales of this new land. In 1854, when Andy was 19 and his older brother William 34, they came themselves, settling in Smith County.

There, with Tyler as the county seat, William is said to have planted the first orchard and demonstrated the area’s possibilities as a fruit-growing center. Wines from his vineyard, according to the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, published in 1892, were "widely known for their purity and delicacy of flavor." William, according to that book, established a reputation as the most successful horticulturist and wine merchant in the state, and wrote authoritative articles on the subject.

In Dallas, the brothers bought property, evidently a great deal, north and northeast of John Neely Bryan’s original city plat, and they stayed in this city to the end of their lives on the street bearing their name.

Pioneer G.E. (Ed) Cornwall in 1923 recalled Ross Avenue’s origin in this way:

"My father took the credit for opening the road since known as Ross avenue. We graded the road through J.M. Patterson’s pasture from Lamar street to Akard street, and cut the trees and ditched the roads from through String Town and Freedman Town to Jack Cole’s place now at the intersection of McKinney and Cole avenues. . . .After the street was opened A.J. and William Ross settled on it near Akard street, and later the thoroughfare was named for A.J. Ross, who was for many years a prominent citizen."

City of Dallas minutes for Dec. 3, 1868, reflect that Ross Avenue already had its name, for the possibility of grading Ross Avenue is discussed. The thoroughfare, incidentally, was the first in town to be labeled "avenue" instead of street. Years later, it became the first local street to be macadamized (layers of crushed stone bound with tar or asphalt).

When W.H. Gaston moved to Dallas in 1868 or 1869 he bought property where the Belo Mansion now stands at Ross and Pearl. He later recalled:

"My nearest neighbor was A.J. Ross, who lived on the road now known as Ross avenue, near the corner of Akard Street. His brother, William Ross, a bachelor lived with him. William Ross was perhaps the first man who attempted to cultivate a kitchen garden in Dallas. He selected for his garden spot the land on the west side of Masten street [now St. Paul] between Ross avenue and the creek. . . . Nobody believed that vegetables would grow here, and the people laughed in advance at the failure of his venture which they regarded as a matter of course. But, thanks to an unusually rainy season, and plenty of water in the creek from which he irrigated his garden, Mr. Ross produced vegetables enough to supply half the town."

The 1875 city directory places both brothers at 349 Ross Avenue (near today’s Belo Mansion), where they were living when Gaston encountered them. Both are listed as farmers. Three years later William, using his proficiency as a gardener, is the proprietor of "Central Garden." The 1886-87 directory also describes Andrew as a "fruit farmer."

By 1891 Andrew had built a new home in Ross Avenue Heights at the northeast corner of Greenville and Ross. William lived there with him, as he did through the years.

Andrew’s occupation by then was listed as "real estate owner" an acknowledgement of the property the brothers had been selling along Ross Avenue as it became "the Fifth Avenue of Dallas," perhaps the most prestigious address in town, site of magnificent houses now gone. (The Belo Mansion and the Dallas Women’s Forum remain as examples of these stately homes. One or two others have been converted to commercial usage. Photographs of the vanished Ross Avenue homes are in William L. McDonald’s Dallas Rediscovered, published in 1978 by the Dallas Historical Society.)

Throughout the 1870s and 1880s one finds in the Dallas Herald countless references to the brothers and their property transactions.

Although William is always referred to as a bachelor, he was married, however briefly, to Josephine, who died in 1885 at the age of fifty-two and is buried next to him at Greenwood Cemetery. They had no children. City directories through the years inevitably show William, and presumably Josephine, as living at Andrew’s home.

It is Andrew who became the more prominent of the two. Some accounts say Ross Avenue was named for him alone; others give credit to both brothers.

The Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas states that "Ross avenue, one of the finest thoroughfares in Dallas city, is named in honor of these gentlemen."

A 1914 book, A History of Texas and Texans, declares that Andrew J. Ross was "a distinguished citizen" in whose honor Ross Avenue was named.

An obituary of Andrew’s son, Jack, who died in 1910, declared that "the late Capt. Andrew J. Ross . . . was one of the best known men in the State."

Besides Jack, Andrew had two daughters and another son who died at the age of nine.

Jack became a pharmacist and worked for a decade or more at a drug store at Elm and Lamar streets. Afterwards, he became involved in the real estate business (Ross & Scott, 257 Main Street), and lived at the northeast corner of Ross and Florence streets.

In 1888 a Dallas man who later would be acclaimed as "the Grand Old Man of the Texas Bar," Harry P. Lawther, joined the Ross family by marrying Andrew’s daughter, Mary. He would serve as president of the Dallas Bar Association in 1929, president of the State Bar of Texas in 1932-33, and president of the Dallas aldermen in 1891.

By 1894 Andrew had retired, listed as such in the city directory. No occupation is given for William, who surely was retired too at the age of 73. A few years later, in the 1898 through 1901 directories, Andrew is described simply as a "capitalist."

William died Nov. 14, 1899, at his brother’s home at Ross and Greenville. He is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in the family plot.

Andrew died on Sept. 16, 1905, also at his home. Burial was at Greenwood Cemetery. His death merited a fulsome obituary in the Dallas Herald. He was "an old and well-known citizen of Dallas," a "great hunter and a lover of fine dogs." For a man his age he was "very strong, and only last winter he had gone out frequently and would come back with a good bag of ducks."

Few would deny that Ross Avenue, for ample reasons other than the Ross brothers themselves, is a historic street. The very name recalls a rich and varied heritage. Even though City of Dallas standards specify that "a historic street name may not be changed," City Council members hold the power to lift this restriction by a three-fourths vote.

So much of Dallas history already has been eviscerated; are we now to lose Ross Avenue, too?

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Comments (38)add comment
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written by Sharon Boyd , August 13, 2008

And now, Angela Hunt has got the council to close down a 30 year old Dallas business on Ross Ave -- Woodard Paint & Body.

Comparing Woodard to the used car lots on Ross Ave is like comparing a ripe banana to an orange. Both can be purchased at a grocery story.

Angela Hunt and the East Dallas control freaks hate Dallas businesses. Don't count on her to fight for keeping the name of Ross Ave.

Hunt's good buddy, Dr. Garcia talked about looking to the future today when she voted to close down a long-time Dallas business, put scores of well-paid people out of work and derive Dallas taxpayers of the sales tax revenue from Woodard's million dollar business.

This is all so un-American, not to mention not Dallas. We are having our history and heritage taken from us, and most people could care less.

As the poet says - "the world ends with a whimper ..."



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written by John Mc. , August 13, 2008

This casual dismissal of all historical relevance is shameful. Having lived here over 50 years, I am constantly reminded of blatant insensivity to this city's historical roots. If you don't know where you came from, how do you know where you are going?
Although I am sympathetic with a Latin memorial, Ross Avenue is not the answer. Why trade a piece of our city's history for political expediency? Incredibly, no one has yet explained why generic street names are inappropriate substitutes.. i.e. Elm, Main, Live Oak or Central Expressway.



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written by Terri B. O'Neill , August 14, 2008

There have been some very good suggestions for alternatives to renaming Ross Ave. written in Letters to the Editor of the Dallas Morning News. The most logical one to me is the changing of Marilla street, near the Farmer's Market to honor the farm worker's advocate & activist, Cesar Chavez. How appropriate! Renaming Ross is simply disrespectful of our history, and another example of the disregard in which we hold the past. Why rename anything? Why not hold out for a new facility, park or playground to remind us of Mr. Chavez's contributions?


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written by Citizen , August 14, 2008

Task Force Gathers Facts for Historical Marker
Segment of Ross Avenue To Remain

Dallas, Texas – August 13, 2008: Weeks of research into the history of the Ross brothers, Andrew Jackson Ross and William W. Ross, has led to this request for the public input. With the help of Dallas Library staff, volunteers went through public tax records, birth and death certificates, Dallas Morning News Archives and reels of microfilm. Their search was to find a living relative, significant contributions to the city of Dallas or other information that could be used for the proposed historical maker to remember the Ross brothers leading to the designation of Ross Avenue. This project was initiated by the Cesar Chavez Task Force after a meeting of the Trinity River Project Committee announced that it would change Industrial Blvd. to Riverfront Blvd. and proposed that Ross Avenue be renamed Cesar Chavez Ave.

Task Force Chairman, Alberto Ruiz said, " in no way do we seek to overwrite the history of Dallas but only to ensure that it becomes more reflective of the community today." Along with the proposed historical marker the Task Force also plans to leave the segment of Ross between Greenville Ave. and Live Oak St. unchanged. Citing records from the Dallas public library that indicate this as the area where the brothers resided and owned property (they also owned 2 plots near the corner of Ross and Field).

A book on the history of Dallas county finishes with this statement regarding the Ross brothers: "They are kind and courteous in manner, strictly honorable in all their dealings, citizens of whom Dallas County is justly proud."
The Cesar Chavez Task Force is deicated to enriching the documented history of the Ross brothers by estabilishing a historical marker on the corner of Ross Ave. and Market Street on the Arch that leads into the West End area. If anyone in the public can provide more information in this search for the History of the Ross Brothers they are asked to contact Mr. Lloyd Bockstock in the Genealogy Section of the Dallas Public Library, 214-670-1433/34, or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .



--
Alberto Ruiz
www.cesarchaveztaskforce.com



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written by carolyn j. barta , August 14, 2008

Terri has a good idea, although Marilla is probably not a big enough street to satisfy Hispanic activists. But why not name the Farmer's Market for Chavez? After all, he was a leader of farm workers.


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written by Austin , August 14, 2008

Please, please, do not rename Central Expwy. It is one of few freeways left in Dallas that does NOT have someone's name slapped on it. It is absolutely maddening for newcomers here to figure out the unmarked "names" of freeways as it is. CF Hawn, LBJ, Stemmons, Woodall Rogers, RL Thornton - enough already.

Houston got it right. The Gulf Freeway goes to the Gulf. The Katy Freeway goes to Katy. The West Loop is on the west side of town. The North Freeway goes north. The Southwest Freeway goes southwest. The EastTex Freeway goes to East Texas. What could make more sense than that?







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written by Rob , August 14, 2008

Here we go again....

People keep suggesting streets to be re-named as a "compromise". Everyone seems to have forgotten this whole thing is being based on an internet/phone survey. It wasn't a real vote. We shouldn't be naming any streets based on internet/phone surveys, it's a ridiculous way to run a city. Either put this to a real vote in November so we can see what the people of Dallas really want, or drop the whole thing.



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written by Bill Betzen , August 14, 2008

Professor Payne, thank you for what you have written. I knew there had to be more information that we have been able to locate on the Ross brothers. Thank you! The issue however is a pragmatic question about history. Who knew even the crude outline of this history six months ago in Dallas? I doubt even 100 people knew a fraction of what you have written above. A well written historical marker on the most walked intersection, where North Market crosses Ross, the entry to the West End, would be much more respectful of the heritage the Ross brothers left than a relatively anonymous street name. More people in one day would read the history, such as you have gathered, than will know it in all of Dallas in 10 years if there are no changes. If Cesar Chavez Avenue is given as the name for Ross Avenue, and a historical marker is dedicated on one, or more, places along the Avenue for the Ross brothers, then more people will read this history every day than even knew about it 6 months ago. Do you doubt that?

I also am a history teacher, now teaching computer, and I agonize over how little people know of their own history. I love the computer because of it's abilities to give you instant access to facts that help put history together. But lack of personal awareness of ones own heritage and history are the major factors correlated with our outrageous dropout rate in Dallas.

The history of Freedmans town, that bordered Ross Avenue, and the history of Little Mexico, that also bordered Ross Avenue on land now covered in part by Fountain Place, are histories about which very little was recorded. It was especially not recorded in our infrastructure, with very few exceptions. Minority street names are exceptionally rare in Dallas.

We say removing an anglo name is "disrepsectful of history." What about the Black and Hispanic communities in Dallas that do not even have their history and heritages reflected on their own streets in any way proportional to their work in the building of this great city?

Do we need to have another 'accomodation' and move a minority name to a smaller street in a relativey obscure part of town? Is that what Dallas is still doing in 2008? Look at the blogs on this topic. Dallas is again showing itself to the world. History is not Anglo only.

My students must see that in the streets and infrastructure of Dallas. Their dropout rates have gone down 11% due to a focus on their own history. Now I want another 11% drop, so they will risk "only" a 41% dropout rate.

Please, let's make this a positive event so more history on all sides, all ethnic groups, is remembered and respected. Sacrifice will be needed. Do you not think that sacrifice was something the Ross brothers did for the Dallas community of 1870 and thereafter?

The Ross brothers must be remembered in more detail by more people.



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written by Leslie Brosi , August 14, 2008

Dr. Payne, thank you for educating us about the Ross Brothers, key figures in Dallas history who were early settlers in the area and landowners on Ross Avenue. It does not honor the City to replace the name of Ross Avenue with the name of a second honoree. It does, however, make good sense to consider another city street for re-naming purposes. I would support naming streets in honor of community leaders who (1) have direct ties to Dallas, (2) who have made positive contributions to the Dallas community, and (3) the re-naming does not involve streets that have already been named previously for individuals who have made a positive impact on the City of Dallas.

Re-naming Ross Avenue would be like giving someone a 2nd-hand wedding dress. Ross has already been "spoken for" by the Ross Brothers.

In lieu of California's Mr. Chavez, I propose a different honoree: Mr. Francisco F. "Pancho" Medrano, who was a long-time Dallas resident and labor activist. Mr. Medrano inspired generations of community leaders, and his legacy lives on today. If Live Oak became Francisco "Pancho" Medrano Avenue, Dallasites would learn about Mr. Medrano and be inspired by his life.

Whether it's the Ross Brothers, Mr. Chavez, or Mr. Medrano, we don't need to re-name streets, effectively "erasing" history. Groups should work together and understand that history belongs to ALL of us.



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written by byx , August 14, 2008

Did Cesar Chavez ever step foot in Dallas? I mean, c'mon - couldn't they get someone local?


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written by dallaskink.com , August 14, 2008

Hey, this is Dallas.
Shiny and New.
If it's old, surely we can replace it with something chrome and glass.

Sad.



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written by Lee , August 14, 2008

I agree that the Farmers Market would be a good spot to recognize Chavez. There is ALREADY a Cesar Chavez Plaza at the Farmers Market. How much more do these people need?


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written by john k. , August 14, 2008

FYI, Ross Ave. was the first major city street to set the traffic signals to turn green for vehicles going 30 mph. I still is set for that speed.


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written by Pat A, , August 14, 2008

If we are going to CHANGE the name of a roadway, why not change George Bush Freeway (190)to CESAR CHAVEZ. Naming Hwy 190 George Bush was premature.


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written by carolyn j. barta , August 14, 2008

Wasn't the George Bush freeway named for George H.W., the 41st president, not George W., No. 43?


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written by Michael123 , August 14, 2008

Great op-ed Professor Payne. Your recent op-ed printed in the(DMN)Dallas Morning News and DMN's editorial last Sunday are greatly appreciated.

Dallas'Hispanics will not obtain respect by wiping out the significant history belonging to one of Dallas' pioneer (Ross brothers) families over 107 years ago.

Cesar Chavez Task Force member Mr. Bentzen's push to have the public accept the notion that it is OK to rename Ross Avenue and replace their legacy with a historial marker somewhere where pigeons will use it to relieve themselves of their waste is an insult to the intelligence of Dallas' citizens.




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written by Holy Roller , August 14, 2008

190 is named for George HW Bush, not the current moron. Another moron, Tony Goolsby, wants to name Central Expressway after the moron, George W Bush. Don't believe me? Check out the bill that was referred to committee. http://www.legis.state.tx.us/B...ill=HR1375

But on topic, Chavez should either get something like Central, or Maple.



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written by BJC , August 14, 2008

While I could support a street for Mr.Chavez, I cannot support a city that does not following the very rule it made.The changing of Ross Avenue is in clear violation of the street name changing rule and the City Ordinance that state historical street names cannot be changed.When the government violates its own rules the Citizen no longer have power. Using zoning to close an 80 year old good business in against the Constitution of the USA. I hope the Woodard's will fight this to the Supreme Court of the USA.It is just wrong.Thanks Councilman Salazar for the fight, this is another reason 14-1 is BAD for Dallas.


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written by average joe , August 14, 2008

Amen to BJC. Single member council districts have all but killed any kind of overall vision that Dallas once had. With very few exceptions, councilmembers - regardless of their own personal convictions - go along with the councilmember whose district contains the zoning file/issue. This is ridiculous! Under 14-1, each councilmember is "mayor" of their own council district, with them calling all of the shots (and increasing the chances for potential corruption, e.g. Hill, Fantroy). Sure, the intentions of single member districts were honorable, but they simply don't work. Now that the "jeannie" is out of that bottle, good luck ever changing it. My fear is that the Ross Avenue issue will end up like other cases where no one on that council will stand up for what is right, and defer to a small, but vocal group. Note to other cities: avoid internet surveys, or be prepared for their results!


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written by Michael123 , August 14, 2008

Right on Avergae Joe. Just make sure councilman Dave Neumann stays 100 miles away from the next street rename internet survey. Speaking of history repeating itself. The links below say it all:

http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/08/giving-ross-avenue-the-busines.html

http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/08/giving-ross-avenue-the-busines.html



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written by Rafael Rodriguez , August 14, 2008

I suspect the Cesar Chavez Task Force will now attempt to the best possible extent, express their collective reasoning as to why the renaming of Ross Avenue in honor of Cesar Chavez is good for the City of Dallas. The trouble they face, however, will be in justifying their intention to literally wipe away from Dallas' map, a historical footprint of a Dallas pioneer family that has been in existence for over a century in the City of Dallas.

Respect? Cesar Chavez would not have allowed his memory to have been used in this manner. The irony in this whole fiasco is that Cesar Chavez was trained by a man named FRED ROSS as a community organizer for the Community Service Organization (CSO). Where is the divine wisdom displayed as Dallas' Hispanic community seeks respect? If we continue insisting on changing the street name, we are essentially tampering with the memory and legacy of the Ross Family. I don't think these actions will gain "respect" for the Hispanic community. On the contrary, it will only serve to further divide our city along ethnic lines. For this reason, I believe the memory and legacy of the Ross family should be left undisturbed.






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written by Ross Ave , August 15, 2008

Reply to Mr. Betzen - It is a shame to see a history professor be so disrespectful of history. This is not a race issue but rather about poorly using city tax funds in tight times and punishing the businesses along Ross who have made significant financial investments on a 140 year old major Dallas thoroughfare. Everything you state about honoring the Ross brothers would be a much better option to apply to Cesar Chavez and allow us to leave Ross and its' history alone at a cost of $0.

You say, "A well written historical marker on the most walked intersection, where North Market crosses Ross, the entry to the West End, would be much more respectful of the heritage the Ross brothers left than a relatively anonymous street name. More people in one day would read the history, you have gathered, than will know it in all of Dallas in 10 years."

I am offended that you say Ross is an anonymous street Why would this same historical marker that you claim will be so great not have the same effect for Mr. Chavez.

You also state, "We say removing an anglo name is "disrepsectful of history." What about the Black and Hispanic communities in Dallas that do not even have their history and heritages reflected on their own streets in any way proportional to their work in the building of this great city?"

You want the Black and Hispanic communities to have street names that reflect their history but you don't want these street names in their communities where it will help educate the residents of the community. How does this make sense?



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written by Bill Betzen , August 15, 2008

There are several errors/omissions in the preceeding dialogue:
1) Ross Avenue had never been designated as a "Historical street name" in Dallas and does not fall under the change prohibition.
2)The Cesar Chavez proposal respects the memory of the Ross brothers much more authentically than anything the alleged "Save Ross" side has come up with. Nobody can deny that this proposal by the Cesar Chavez Task Force has revived an awareness of the Ross brothers family history in Dallas. Will the history of these brothers again sink into the same anonymity they suffered from 6 months ago if the Cesar Chavez renaming proposal fails? At least with the Cesar Chavez proposal the actual history of the family will be posted on a public historical monument in a heavily trafficed area and read daily by hundreds of people. That is more people every day that probably knew that history in Dallas 6 months ago.



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written by Els , August 15, 2008

Fort Worth Avenue. It's a glorious avenue that
crosses over the Trinity as it enters the
downtown corridor from North Oak Cliff. There is a revitalization push for the entire area. Yes, Fort Worth Avenue is loaded with historical significance. But what better way to get this revitalization kick started than by renaming it Cesar Chavez Boulevard?



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written by michael a. , August 15, 2008

This is bad after worse. It was stupid in the first place to re-name Industrial to make developers happy. It was stupid secondly to let the public pick the name, especially if you're going to ignore them when you get an answer you don't like. The next batch of stupid was to try to appease that group at the expense of our city's history.

Dallas is always running from their history. I guess since the assassination. Hispanics have contributed greatly to Dallas's success, if you don't believe that then you are as stupid as the city staff that started all this. They deserve to drive on a road that makes them feel proud too. Try this... drive around and count all the streets named after white people, you'll get tired.

If and when they ever build the Trinity River Park, there will be prominent roads there. Roads that can be named after Chavez or any other Hispanic role model you wish. Leave the city's history alone though, both Ross and Industrial.

And for God's sake, don't name any road after that idiot George W. Bush. If you do that, you have no room to complain when they want to name a road after some other criminal.



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written by Michael123 , August 15, 2008

Yo, Bill, more people know more today than ever before, the total disregard you and the Cesar Chavez Task Force have towards respecting Dallas' pioneer families and the role these families had in the development of the City of Dallas. You guys are really becoming A#1 flunkies with a twisted agenda.


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written by jay , August 15, 2008

Being obdurately fixed on renaming 150 year-old Ross Avenue because it was the site of the illegal alien protest march is not going to be beneficial to hispanics in Dallas. This is causing enmity, not sympathy for any future causes.

Dr. Garcia asked for respect for her community. The longtime citizens are asking for respect for our history.

Oh and respect for our laws might also be beneficial.



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written by ellum08 , August 15, 2008

Mr Betzen,

One correction to your statement;
1) According to the definition section of the City ordinance governing Street Naming and Name Change Process of the Dallas City Code Section 51A-9.300
'Historic Street Name' means a street that commemorates: A) A person who significantly contributed to the cultural, economic, social, religious, or political heritage of the city.
I certainly think that the Ross Brothers fall under this category, and I am pretty sure the City Attorney's will interpret this as the case as well.

As far as your assertation that no one knew who the Ross Brothers were six months ago, I would argue that the same could be said of Cesar Chavez.



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written by Michael123 , August 16, 2008

The Cesar Chavez Task Force wants to do away with the name Ross on Ross Avenue so bad and real quick it now appears they are even proposing to have Ross Avenue chopped up into segments just so they can get their way in some form or fashion to rename all or some portion of Ross Avenue to Cesar Chavez Avenue.

I can’t imagine a majority of the Dallas City Council would be in favor of this. This would amount to literally throwing away and/or minimizing the 107 years of history of a pioneer Dallas (Ross brothers) family. Do you think the Cesar Chavez Task Force realizes the negative public publicity this group now has on its back? The information below is part of an email the Cesar Chavez Task Force emailed to their supporters Friday, August 15, 2008. On word folks, Ridiculous!!! - Check out part of their email below:


Partial Cesar Chavez Task Force Email: August 15, 2008:

Subject: Campaign in Support of Cesar Chavez Ave., join La Causa...


Please fill out this form and fax it to Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert (214) 670-0646 and members of the City Plan Commission (214) 670-4210. You can also send it to your City Council Member by placing a cover page indicating their name. You may also call City of Dallas elected officials directly and leave a message of support (see attached list).


For sample letters of support please see go to: http://www.cesarechavezboulevard.com/letters.pdf

For those with internet, please write comments to Mayor and all Councilmembers at once by visiting:

Dear elected official,
I support the initiative to have Ross Ave. in Dallas, TX renamed in honor of César Chávez and the many important contributions of his legacy. Currently, there are no downtown streets dedicated to the contributions of Hispanic leaders. We encourage you to support this initiative and to join us in this celebration of progress and social justice in the city of Dallas. By honoring César Chávez in this way, we will be sending a strong message that this is a community of fairness and inclusion.
Furthermore, a detailed historical marker for the Ross brothers has been proposed for the entrance to the West End, near the corner of Ross Ave. and Market Street. This memorial will allow many more people to learn details about the Ross brothers and the development of the area along Ross. A segment of Ross Ave. will also be preserved under the original name between Greenville Ave. and Live Oak St., where the brothers once resided.





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written by jb , August 17, 2008

How much money is going to be spent on yet another
"feel good/nothing gesture"? Changing the name of a street is expensive AND a pain.

I guess it is a lot easier to do flash because substance is so much more difficult. Right now, the single most significant barrier to the American Dream is a lack of education and our community leaders spend their time on street names. zukkt



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written by ellen amirkhan , August 17, 2008

If an historical is "good" enough for the Ross brothers, then Leave Ross Ave alone and put an historical marker in the West End for Mr Chavez. Since a small minority think this is better than a street name to raise awareness, award the historical marker for Mr. Chavez and leave Ross alone. One only has to read the hundereds of blogs to see that this "survey" gives a much different picture than the straw poll telephone/internet survey.


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written by k Norman , August 19, 2008

Who is going to pay for all the street signs, maps, letterhead stationery, etc that must be changed each time ya'll change a street name? I am tired of my taxes paying for foolishness! If a few people want a change, let THEM pay for it!


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written by Bill Betzen , August 23, 2008

"As far as your assertation that no one knew who the Ross Brothers were six months ago, I would argue that the same could be said of Cesar Chavez."

Have you ever searched for how many articles and books have been written about the Ross Brothers and about Cesar Chavez? Try it. It shows how well informed the original statement quoted above is.



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written by Tax payer Julie , August 26, 2008

Without a doubt the Ross brothers contributed to the history and livelihood of our beloved Dallas. But as Citizen eloquently stated the renaming of Ross Ave. to Cesar Chavez is to ensure that it becomes MORE REFLECTIVE of the community today. are you suggesting that even though the Latino community is growing and contributing to the economy of our city, they do not have a say on whom they should honor, how, and when?


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written by joey77 , September 02, 2008

It is NOT about immigration, but about HONORING AN AMERICAN HERO of Latino descent. ROSS IS THE ONE-AND-ONLY-CHOICE. Ross Avenue was the gathering place for the largest Huan Rights march in Texas history, in 2006 with 500,000 people. The Cathedral of Guadalupe on Ross Ave, a gathering of thousands of Hispanic parishioners every Sunday. Cesar Chavez used the Lady de Guadalupe as a symbol of peace during his movement. DISD headquarters is locatd on Ross Ave. Last year 70% of Kindergarten students in Dalas ISD wre Hispanic. The Mayor agreed that he would suport the recommendations of the Latino city council members and asked them to cooperate with the community. It is about diversity, inclusion, respecting, and honoring Latinos and our contributions to Dallas. Preservation of a segment of Ross where the family resided as is and include a HISTORICAL MARKER IN HONOR OF THE ROSS BROTHERS N the corner of Ross Ave. and Market. Cesar Chavez is OUR NATION LEADER who deserves to be honored.


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written by Mr Fred , September 05, 2008

More reflective of Dallas? If you haven't seen east Dallas lately, drive down Fitzhugh, Henderson and Belmont. You'll find many square blocks of former apartment buildings razed, making way for upscale condos, townhouses and apartments.

The current (or recently past) residents of the area were hispanic, but that's not who is moving in now.

Should we rename Ross Avenue each time a different demographic group becomes the majority -- or even a plurality -- in that area? Ross-Chavez-Eistein-AlAmir...

The Latino community of Dallas was snookered when the city voted to name Industrial to Cesar Chavez and millionaire developers didn't like it. Elba Garcia said she wanted "respect" but promptly backed down from the money men.

There's your street! Industrial is MUCH higher profile and MUCH more tied into the history of Latinos in Dallas than Ross ever was or will be.

But, no one - NO ONE - in Dallas ever stands up to the money men. They get their way. And why don't they want Industrial called Cesar Chavez? Because the intended buyers of their developments are racists? Or why? Why, exactly? When will we read that answer in the Dallas Morning News?



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written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , September 18, 2008

I am glad to hear that there is more history behind the Ross brothers than the media mentions, but I truly do not understand why it is suddenly becomming extremely important to find out more about the Ross family. I would have liked to hear more about them before the proposal. I think that if people would have cared to learn more about this street before the proposal, their opinion would have been respected more.


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written by Bill Betzen , September 19, 2008

Today has been a truly confusing day. It appears it is possible Industrial Blvd will be renamed Cesar Chavez Blvd. If that happens, and therefore Ross Avenue remains as Ross Avenue, I would be incredibly puzzled if those supporting the "Save Ross" efforts would not want to still establish a historical marker in the West End to honor the lives of the Ross Brothers. Once Industrial Boulevard is finally named in honor of Cesar Chavez I would be honored to join with others and make my own $100.00 donation toward such a historical marker. The Ross Brothers should never again sink into the anonymity they suffered from 6 months ago. Would any Save Ross people want to join in with me if this happens? We should not forget our cities history!



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