Katherine Backus Durbin Collection

Summary: Donor is part of the Backus family, who owned and operated Backus Laundry and Cleaning Services on Berry Street. She is the daughter of Ed Backus and Lottie Oakley Backus, who started the laundry business around 1919-1920 at Oakley Farm located near the site of the present day TCU Stadium, Oakley Farm was run by the donor's grandparents, James Calvin Oakley (1852-1923) and Mattie Rebecca Hawkins Oakley (1855-1939). Durbin graduated from Paschal High School in 1938 and became a manager of operations of the Backus Laundry business. In 1941, she married Arnold Durbin, route manager of the laundry trucks. Her father-in-law, Eugene Durbin, was an employee at Meacham Field in the 1920s. Durbin donated the following items related to her family history to the Archives after visiting with her former business teacher, Lesbia Word Roberts, at a Paschal High School reunion.

View the Katherine Backus Durbin image gallery.

Backus and Oakley Families

Photographs (all copies of originals)

  • Portrait of James Calvin Oakley and Mattie Rebecca Hawkins Oakley, undated
  • Back-Us Laundry and Dry Cleaning at 1555 W. Berry, undated
  • Back Us Laundry Cleaners, 1551 W. Berry and 2111 Evans Avenue, undated
  • Children from Oakley Dairy Farm on car with Spot the dog, undated
  • Lottie Oakley Backus and Ed Backus in front of second laundry truck, undated
  • First employee, Lando Harris, undated
  • Lottie Oakley Backus and Ed Backus, undated
  • Katherine Backus Durbin putting clean clothes in car in front of Backus Laundry and Cleaning, undated (image shown)
  • Men in overalls with Edward A. Backus in the middle, 1919-1920
  • Katherine Backus with Lael Backus and first laundry truck, circa 1920s
  • Mattie Rebecca Oakley and Katherine Rebecca Backus, taken at Oakley Farm on Mother's Day, circa late 1920s
  • Backus Laundry sign attached to a water tank between Backus Laundry and Ray Neighbors Drug Store on Berry, 1935
  • View from dining room of Colonial Country Club, showing creek winding toward TCU Stadium (site of Oakley Farm), October 2000

Family History

  • The Oakley Farm, by Katherine Durbin, undated
  • Backus Laundry History, by Katherine Durbin, undated
  • Deed Records transferring title of Oakley farm from H.T. Flynn to J.C. Oakley, October 29, 1915

Katherine Backus Durbin in front of Back Us Laundry, undated 

Pictured: Katherine Backus Durbin in front of Back Us Laundry, undated

Fort Worth Air Port, undated 

Pictured: Plane at Fort Worth Air Port, Meacham Field, undated

  • Deed Records transferring title from G.R. Patterson to J.C. Oakley, September 3, 1919
  • Presbyterian Messenger, 9th Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, program for funeral of Rev. George Morrison Oakley, brother of James Calvin Oakley, November 1936
  • "Back-Us Laundry Grew With the Berry-TCU Area" in Fort Worth Press, July 7, 1950
  • Postcard advertisement for Back Us Laundry on 1551 W. Berry and 2111 Evans Ave., undated

Meacham Field


  • Airport employees, including Eugene Durbin, with William G. Fuller, Meacham Field manager, undated
  • Meacham Field hangar, late 1920's
  • "The Skyliner" American Airways plane, undated
  • Ryan M2 airplane belonging to J. F. Dexter, General Contractor, Dallas, Texas, undated
  • Battle Fleet Fighters, five planes in formation, undated
  • Fort Worth Air Port, Meacham Field, undated
  • Aviator turning propeller of airplane, undated
  • Crash of U.S. Mail Express plane near a house (Railway Express Agency), undated
  • U.S. Army, Curtiss P-10, A.C. 27-227, parked on runway at Meacham Field, undated
  • American Airways passenger plane, undated
  • NAT first passenger plane presented to Amon G. Carter, undated
  • Unknown man in front of plane, undated
  • Caricature of unknown pilot, undated
  • Pilot in flight suit by open cockpit plane, possibly Wiley Post, undated
  • Mechanics and spectators by crashed bi-plane, undated
  • Three engine plane, undated
  • NAT bi-plane flying over terminal with farm buildings in background, U.S. Mail Express, undated
  • NC-15-W plane, likely a sea plane, undated
  • Small bi-plane on grass with two open cockpits, undated
  • U.S. Mail plane in front of hanger, pilot in cockpit, undated
  • U.S. Navy bi-plane in front of hangar at Fort Worth Air Port, undated
  • "Dallas Spirit" in airplane hangar, undated
  • Curtiss F807 airplane outside hangar, undated
  • Man in suit next to plane, possibly Wiley Post, aviator for Will Rogers, undated
  • Plane on tarmac at Fort Worth Air Port with man turning propellers, pilot in cockpit, undated (image shown)
  • Cargo plane on ground, undated
This page was last modified on February 12, 2021


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