I tell every person I meet that I’m an East Dallas girl. I love East Dallas. In fact, I love it so much that when some friends were moving to Dallas from Santa Fe, and they asked me what area of town they should search for a home, I said, “Well, you can’t live anywhere else but East Dallas.”
We have trees, White Rock Lake, and the Arboretum, the most beautiful place in Dallas. So when I decided to buy my home, I looked all over East Dallas. Being single at the time and living on one income, I couldn’t afford Lakewood or Little Forest Hills, the so called “in and desired” places, but I still had to live in East Dallas. While on my home search, I stumbled across a beautiful little house in Casa View. Not knowing much about the neighborhood, I decided to drive around at night and on weekends to see what the real neighborhood life was like. I found it quiet, well maintained, and affordable. So 15 years ago I bought my little house.
During this time, I have seen a lot of change. I have seen my little neighborhood grow and prosper. Several of us like-minded neighbors got together and formed a neighborhood association. We started holding monthly meetings, neighborhood picnics, and pool parties. We branded our neighborhood with street-sign toppers and with the name “Casa View Haven.” When a program wanted to move formerly homeless people into a nearby neighborhood apartment complex, instead of protesting the move, we decided to welcome them and help them get started. We started a furniture and household donation center, put together welcome baskets, and hosted move-in parties.
We joined with other Casa View communities and formed “The Greater Casa View Alliance.” The Alliance drafted an “area use plan” with the city of Dallas to plot future development and improvements. We built Little Free Libraries, celebrated the renovation and grand reopening of the Harry Stone Recreation Center, helped establish and brand other nearby neighborhood associations, like “Little Casa View.”
We eat the best cheeseburgers in Dallas in our cars at the Dairy-ette — don’t even think about skipping the fries. Crime in our pocket of the neighborhood has dropped to one of the lowest rates in the city, and in turn, our property values are soaring. Today a house that goes on the market in Casa View Haven is often sold within hours.
These are all of the tangible things I love about Casa View. What I love most is that I met my husband while living here. My single household has become a family home with stepchildren and six large dogs. I know my neighbors. My best friend Leslie Moore bought a house around the corner from me. I made another best friend, Amanda Buckley, when we started the neighborhood association and formed a neighborhood Bible study together.
When my husband became ill last year, it was my neighbors who brought me food, offered to sit at the hospital with me, mowed our yard, and called and prayed with me. It was my Casa View neighbors who helped welcome him home and continue to ask about him and care for us.
One Sunday morning, we opened our door to find a lemon pound cake, left by Todd Crane, a friend and neighbor. He did that simply because I commented on a Facebook picture that it looked good. That’s emblematic of life in our neighborhood, where we know the names of almost everyone on our block, as well as throughout the neighborhood. Next-door neighbors are like part of our family.
This is my East Dallas. This is my Casa View. This is my neighborhood, and these are my neighbors, friends, and family members. Don’t you wish you lived here too?
Tami Beck Fowler is operations director for Redeemer Seminary and has lived in Casa View since 2001.