Today in New Orleans History

June 8

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Dorothy Dell Dies in Car Crash
June 8, 1934

Dorothy Dell with Shirley Temple in Little Miss Marker (1934)

Born born into a socially prominent family (descendants of Jefferson Davis) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Dorothy Dell Goff moved with the family to New Orleans at age 13.  As an aspiring singer, she was "discovered" by composer Wesley Lord, and signed a radio contract. At age 15 she won the title of "Miss New Orleans" in 1930. That same year she won the International Pageant of Pulchritude in Galveston, Texas.  She and Dorothy Lambour/Lamour were close friends during their pageant days.

After working on the vaudeville circuit for 32 weeks, she moved to New York in 1931. After seeing her perform, Florenz Ziegfeld, arranged for her to appear on Broadway in the Ziegfeld Follies, and she followed this success with her role in the production of Tattle Tales in 1933.  

She moved to Hollywood in December 1933 and was signed to a contract by Paramount Pictures. Shemade her debut in Wharf Angel (1934). The film was a success and the reviews for Dell were favorable; Paramount began to consider her as a potential star. Her most important and substantial role followed in the Shirley Temple film Little Miss Marker. Her next film Shoot the Works led to comparisons with Mae West, and her rendition of the ballad "With My Eyes Wide Open, I'm Dreaming"became a hit record. Paramount scheduled her to play opposite Gary Cooper and Shirley Temple in Now and Forever in what was to have been her first major starring role as a romantic lead.

On June 8, 1934, Dell agreed to a car ride to Pasadena with 38-year-old Dr. Carl Wagner to meet his mother, whom he wanted to show "how sweet a little movie star can be." After the meeting, they went to an all-night party at an inn in Altadena, California. Afterward, while driving to Pasadena, the car left the highway, hit a telephone pole, bounced off a palm tree and hit a boulder. Dell was killed instantly. Wagner, who was driving between 50 and 70 miles an hour, died six hours later in a hospital.  Dorothy was 19 years old.  She is interred in Metairie Cemetery in her home town. (WIKI)

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The Atlanta Constitution reported on June 8, 1909 that the first car of Georgia peaches ever shipped to New Orleans departed for that market.

Glendy Burke, before he became the 29th mayor of New Orleans, had a paddle steamer named for him -- a name which inspired Stephen Foster compost the song "Glendy Burke".  Burke served from June 8, 1865 until June 28, 1865.

The Magazine Streetcar first ran on June 8, 1861.  By the 1910s it traveled from Canal Street, up Magazine and Broadway to South Claiborne Avenue.  It ceased on February 11, 1948 to be replaced by a trolley bus and later by diesel bus service.

CLARK, Daniel (the younger), merchant, land speculator, politician. Born, Sligo, Ireland, about 1766. Education: Eton and other colleges in England. Parents immigrated to Germantown, Pa. Arrived in New Orleans in 1786; employed by uncle, also named Daniel Clark, as a clerk in mercantile firm; given a post in the office of Governor Miró (q.v.); became partner in uncle's firm which was shipping agent for Gen. James Wilkinson (q.v.) in 1787; began land speculation after New Orleans fire of 1788; acknowledged by Governor Gayoso (q.v.) as acting vice-counsel in New Orleans in 1798; retained that position until 1801; became an American citizen in 1798; inherited business firm and plantation near Natchez, Miss., when uncle died in 1799; appointed by President Jefferson as American counsel in New Orleans, 1801-1803. Secretly married Marie Julie (Zulime) Carrière in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1802 or 1803. Daughter, Myra, born in New Orleans December 27, 1806; never publicly acknowledged wife or child. Elected as the first delegate for the Territory of Orleans to the Ninth and Tenth congresses and served from December 1, 1806, to March 3, 1809; was unsuccessful candidate for reelection, 1808. Wounded Governor Claiborne (q.v.) in a duel on June 8, 1807. In 1807 denied involvement in the Aaron Burr (q.v.) conspiracy; published in 1809 Proofs of the Corruption of Gen. James Wilkinson, and of His Connexion [sic] with Aaron Burr. Retired from political life and devoted himself to business interests. Died, August 13, 1813; interred St. Louis Cemetery I. In a will dated 1811, named his mother as principal heir to property which, in part, consisted of about one-third of the city of New Orleans; lawsuit (based on an alleged 1813 will) by daughter, Myra Clark Gaines (q.v.), and later by her heirs, was argued in the American courts from 1834 to 1890. From

 Prytania Streetcar Line First Runs
June 8, 1861

The New Orleans City Railroad Company was chartered on June 15, 1860. By 1861, twenty-six miles of horse railroad track had been laid. Service began on the Camp and Prytania Line on June 8, 1861. Streets of the original route included Canal, Camp, Prytania, Toledano, Poeyfarre, and Magazine. The Prytania Streetcar began operation on as a mule-drawn car line. It was called the "Silk Stocking" line because its route included the streets of the tony Garden District.   Various route changes and consolidations took place over the years.  Railway companys experimented with several potential substitutes for horsecars. The ammonia motor was tried on several lines, including the Prytania, but was considered to be impractical. By the 1890s all lines were electrified -- the Prytania Streetcar Line on September 15, 1894. Uptown residents could easily ride to Canal Street in the speedy and comfortable streetcars until October 1, 1932 when the line was discontinued.



The Prytania Streetcar Line was serviced almost exclusively by the "Prytanias," a luxurious class of electric cars just as distinctive as the elegant "Garden District" neighborhood. Fifty cars were ordered on April 21, 1910 from the St. Louisi Car Company.  The exteriors were painted yellow and orange and their numbers ran from 355 to 404.  Mahogany interiors surrounded patrons seated in St. Louis rattan seats. They looked out of Robertson windows that slid conveniently into side panels when open. The "Prytania" cars were designed for double-end operation and the prepayment of fares, the first of its type in New Orleans. 

The 800 model cars replaced the Prytanias on September 16, 1923.  The Prytanias were then shifted to lighter traffic routes.  A public's changing preference for private transportation made streetcar operation unprofitable.  According to a New Orleans Public Service Inc. newspaper announcement, the Prytania Streetcar Line discontinued operations on October 1, 1932 and the Nashville Bus Line began service over a part of the territory formerly served by the line. Prytania Street, itself, was not included.  Remaining Prytanias were scrapped that same year.  The Prytania streetcar barn was located on Prytania Street between Robert, Pitt, and Upperline.  After the city acquired the property, a 1936 ordinance dedicated it for "public purposes".  The location is now a shopping center, fronting Prytania, with a CVC pharmacy (4901 Prytania) as its anchor.  Main Source:

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Abreviations used on this site: NOPL (New Orleans Public Library), LOC (Library of Congress), LDL (Lousiana Digital Library), HNOC (Historic New Orleans Collection), WIKI (Wikipedia).

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