Municipal Archives

​Emil Fretz - Mary Ellen Holt Collection, 1854 -1928 and undated

​Collection 2017-005


Office of the City Secretary
Dallas Municipal Archives
1500 Marilla Street, 5D South
Dallas, Texas 75201​
CreatorEmil Fretz; Mary Ellen Holt
TitleEmil Fretz-Mary Ellen Holt Collection
Dates1854 -1928 and undated
Quantity2.71 linear feet
AbstractPhotography collection of Emil Fretz and research files on Swiss, French, Belgian and German pioneers of Dallas, Texas
LanguageRecords are in English
Scope and Content

Collection consists of research files containing newspaper clippings, genealogical notes, and census information regarding early European immigrants to Dallas, Texas, as well as a large section of notes and clippings regarding the life and career of Swiss-born Dallas immigrant Emil Fretz.
The research files on Swiss, French, Belgian and German pioneers of Dallas were used in the writing of Mary Ellen Holt's Swiss Eyes on Dallas: Late 19th and Early 20th Century Pictures by Emil Fretz (Word Merchant Press, 2016). Though the research files primarily regard Swiss families, they also document French, Belgian, and German families, a number of whom were settlers in the La Reunion colony located in what is now parts of the Dallas neighborhoods of Oak Cliff and West Dallas. The files were used by Holt to identify and augment information on Fretz' photographs. The newspaper clippings are photocopies of downloaded articles dating from 1856 to about 1926.

Included is a series of photographs made by Emil Fretz, an amateur photographer. Subjects include of his family, friends, and activities in Texas. Collection consists of albumen prints and snapshots made mostly between 1898 and 1928, though many are undated.

Of particular note are images of the community of the freedmen's community Little Egypt, White Rock Creek prior to development of White Rock Lake, early Dallas parks, and residences in the neighborhood surrounding Liberty Street, formerly known as Germania Street.

Emil Fretz (1858 - 1928) was a Swiss immigrant and barber who came to Dallas in 1870, was appointed to the first Dallas park board in 1905. His appointment began a 22-year career in public service that extended into his retirement years. One of the major accomplishments during his tenure was the establishment of Trinity Play Park in the disadvantaged area known as the Cotton Mills. Upon his retirement from the board in 1927, Trinity Play Park was renamed Fretz Park in his honor; a second Fretz "North" Park opened in 1964, and after the first one was closed it became the sole Fretz.

Mary Ellen Holt is an antiques dealer and local historian in Dallas, Texas.


The collection is organized into two series, research files and photographs.


Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from the Dallas Municipal Archives.  All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.


EmilFretz-MaryEllenHoltCollection,1898-1924 (Box <x>, Folder <y>), Dallas Municipal Archives

Related Material


Index Terms

Dallas -- Texas -- History
<Add all others>

Container List 

BoxFolder​​Title, Date
​Dallas immigrant family research notes and clippings:
11Arnold, 1903 and undated
​2​Arnoldi, 1899 and undated
​3​Boll, 1890 and undated
​4​Barbier, 1885-1887 and undated
​5​Beilharz, 1891-1907 and undated
​6​Bohny, 1886-1910 and undated
​7​Bopp, 1888-1889 and undated
​8​Boulay, 1875 and undated
​9​Buhrer, undated
​10​Chiesa, 1889-1896 and undated
​11​Bourgeois, undated
​12​Capy, 1891-1908 and undated
​13​Charpentier, 1893 and undated
​14​Coiret, 1886 and undated
​15​Desseau, undated
​16​Eiesenlohr, 1886-1899 and undated
​17​Farine, 1885
​18​Feickert, 1900-1902 and undated
​19​Frichot, 1893 and undated
​20​Frick, 1887-1897 and undated
​21​Gaspard, 1886 and undated
​22​Gouffre, undated
​23​Gouhenaut, undated
​24​Grisset, undated
​25​Grossman, 1886 and undated
​26Guillemet, undated
​27​Guillot, 1886-1888 and undated
​28​Hall 1886-1887 and undated
​29​Hauck, 1891-1906 and undated
​30​Henry, 1889 and undated
​31​Hess, 1921 and undated
​32​Hiltpold, 1887 and undated
​34​Jones, undated
​35​Knepfly, 1885-1891
​36​Lagogue, undated
​37​Lamotte, 1910 and undated
​38​Leake, 1897-1916 and undated
​39​Long (Lang), 1874-1877 and undated
​2​1​Loupot, undated
​2​Mayer, 1885 and undated
​3​Meisterhans, 1885 -1913 and undated
​4​Metzer, 1886-1916 and undated
​5​Moser, 1883-1886 and undated
​6​Notzli, undated
Nussbaumer, 1886-1891 and undated

​8​Peterman, 1887 and undated
​9​Peak, undated
​10​Priot, 1887 and undated
​11​Python, undated
​12​Reik, 1885 and undated
​13​Reinle, undated
14​Remond​, undated
​15Rohner​, undated
​16​Norsch, 1890 and undated
​17​Reverchon, 1906 and undated
​18​Santerre, 1889-1894 and undated
​19​Schoelekopf, 1902 and undated
​20​Vorien (Voirin), undated
​21​Waespi, 1887-1926 and undated
​22​Wied (Wild), undated
​23​Wilson, undated
Biographical research notes and clippings on Emil Fretz and related subjects:
​3​1​Fretz, Emil A., 1886-1928 and undated
​2​Fretz, Charles E., 1922 and undated
​3​Fretz, Emil A., Jr., 1908-1930 and undated
​4​Fretz. Emil - obituaries, 1928
​5​Fretz - general, 1881-1896 and undated
​6​Fretz  notes on Knepfly family, undated
​7​Dallas history, 1885-1900 and undated
​8​Dallas Herald [newspaper], 1908 and undated
Subject clippings and notes:
​4​1​Manuscript writings by Mary Ellen Harris Holt on Dallas topics, undated
​5​1​Dallas balls and dances, 1886-1909 and undated
​2​Dallas bars and saloons, undated
​3​Bicycling and sports in Dallas, 1886-1915 and undated
​4​Bois d'Arc bricks and paving in Dallas, undated
​5​Dallas celebrations and holiday, 1885-1909 and undated
​7​Circuses in Dallas, 1887 and undated
​8Civil War and Reconstruction in Dalla, 1868 and undated
​9​Confederate monument, 1867-1929 and undated
​10​Criswell's Brass Band1893-1899 and undated
​14​German Ladies Aide Society, 1887-1896 and undated
​15​Guild Building and Charles Guild, 1893-1900 and udated
​Little Egypt, 2011
​Military guards of Dallas, 1859-1903 and undated
​Maifest, 1887-1897 and undated
​Oak Lawn Park and Reunion of Queen City Guards, undated
​20​Order of Kaliphs of Texas, undated
​21​Paget, Ormond, 1888-1899
​22​Railways - Dallas, 1886-1906 and undated
​Saengerfest, 1883-1904
​24​Spanish American War, 1898 and undated
​25​State Fair of Texas, 1886-1904 and undated
​26​Trinity River, 1891-1908 and undated
​27​White Rock Creek, undated
​28Dallas neighborhood additions, undated
​29​Dallas addresses, undated
​30​Census of 1860, 1860
​31​Census of 1870, 1870
​32​Churches of Dallas, undated
​33​La Reunion Colony, 1900-1924 and undated
​36​Ship passenger lists, 1854-1870 and undated
​37​Probate and divorce notes on Swiss immigrants, undated

Photographs: People
​6​1​Arthur Fretz, 1904 and undated
​2​Jacob Fretz family, 1917 and undated
​3​Emil Fretz family, undated
​4​Fretz family group photos, undated
​5​Jacob Buhrer family, 1901
​6​Louisa A. Feickert, undated
​7​Dave Metzger, undated
​8​Unidentified African American family on White Rock Road, undated
​9​Identified and unidentified children, Germania Street area, undated
​10​Fretz family vacations - Colorado, 1898-1900; 1924
​11​Fretz family vacations - Mineral Wells, Texas, undated
​12Second Texas Infantry, Company K, Dallas Guard Zouaves, 1898
Photographs: Buildings, places, and subjects:
​7​1​Fretz family residences, 1902 and undated
​2​Fretz family farms [White Rock Creek and Forney Road], 1921 and undated
​3​Dallas homes, identified and unidentified, 1900 and undated
​4​Unidentified Dallas hotel bar, undated
​5​Guild building fire, 1899
​6​Saint Paul's Sanitarium, 1900
​7​Dallas parks [Fair Park, Oak Lawn Park, City Park], 1898 and undated
​8​Trains, 1901 and undated
​9​Trinity River at waterworks, 1901
​10​White Rock Creek, 1916 and undated
​11​Dallas parades and festivals, 1900 and undated
​12​Galveston, Texas [ocean liner], undated