Before Preston Hollow was annexed into Dallas in 1945, the municipality seemed less than joyful.

Dancing, blaring music and speaking loudly were strictly prohibited. The rules resemble the plot of “Footloose,” although there was no Ren McCormack to help local officials loosen up a bit.

In April 1940, the 2-square-mile city banned the construction and operation of public dance halls and tourist camps. Three months later, Preston Hollow adopted an ordinance that prohibited “the use of loud speakers, whether for broadcasting of voice and music, at public places, restaurants, amusement houses within the City of Preston Hollow, and prohibiting and making it unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to use or permit to be used any phonograph machine, or any other kind of machine or device which emits or is permitted to emit noises, whether voice, music or otherwise … and prohibiting spieling or loud talking to invite or induce passerby to enter or patronize such public places, and providing a penalty therefor.”

Why Preston Hollow had such a disdain for noise is unclear, but a petition from homeowners in the Preston Road-Northwest Highway neighborhood suggests a few local businesses were causing a raucous, which upset residents.

The petition calls out drive-in restaurants, who “have befouled the air with obnoxious odors, illuminated the night with gaudy, glaring lights and signs. They have disturbed the peace with loud, raucous, amplified outdoor ‘music,’ and the din of blowing auto horns and ribald yelling and laughter of customers.”

If nothing else, Preston Hollow took their peace and quiet seriously. I’d love to know what restaurants are being referenced and if anyone in the neighborhood remembers what happened. Email or post a comment below if you can help us learn more.

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