photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Established: During the early 1920s, by developer Claude Cain, who purchased farmland from Eli Sanger of Sanger Brother’s Department Store in 1914. Soon after the purchase, he built “Ravinia” at 2918 W. Jefferson Blvd. on more than 7 acres. He later developed the surrounding neighborhood and named many of the streets for his children. Until recently, the secluded “Ravinia” mansion remained vacant, which made it the source of neighborhood ghost stories. Owner Sarah Seay Campbell purchased the estate in the ’90s.

Population size: 150 homes

What you’ll find: For those who have not been south of I-30, a topographical replica of Bluffview awaits: trees, hills, creeks, and a quiet hush amid beautifully maintained Tudor and bungalows, Spanish revival stucco, and mid-century modern ranches.

Average Home Price: $175,000

Lot value: Not applicable, as these houses are rarely torn down.

Average house size: 1,200 square feet

Why live there? Carolyn and Paul Bush bought a 1,800-square-foot home on Duval Drive last December, because Carolyn had grown up in Kessler Plaza and wanted to stay in the area. Paul works downtown, so Realtor Dori Warner at Keller Williams marched the couple down to Ravinia Heights. Carolyn believes their home is a Dilbeck, perched on a quarter-acre lot with a creek running through it, which backs up to the Jefferson Mansion. “For $190,000, how could you ever top that?” Carolyn says. As for crime, they had break-ins in Kessler Plaza, though none here. Designer Mil Bodron, known for his ultra-modern style, is a recent convert to the area’s quaint appeal. “I like it because it has history and charm,” he says. “I saw this delicious Mediterranean home for sale there. One house dates back to 1913.”

Local haunts: Fiesta on Jefferson, Tom Thumb in Kessler Plaza on Hampton and 12th. Restaurants include Kavala on Davis, El Ranchito on Jefferson and Llewllyan, Morelia Mexican Restaurant on Jefferson, and the restaurants and shops of Bishop Arts 10 minutes away.

Who’s buying: Young couples, families, artistic types who love the feel of the vintage homes and terrain such as recording engineer Stuart Sikes (he’s worked on White Stripes’ White Blood Cells and the Grammy-winning Van Lear Rose by Loretta Lynn) and adventure-seeker Charles Allen of the Trinity River Expeditions, who guides weekend canoe trips down the Trinity River.