To see the future Main Street of Dallas/Fort Worth, drive northwest toward the D/FW airport, staying faithful to a farm-to-market road through a maze of farms, markets, and shopping centers, then circle three high school football fields, avoid the dead end of Lake Grapevine, and finally whoa up the team in the city of Southlake.
Just south of the Denton County line, a serene landscape of trees and rolling hills surrounds a cluster of post-modern buildings painted in colors usually found only on certain doctors and dentists on the golf course: wild mustard yellows, poppy oranges, Sangre de Cristo reds, jacaranda purples, Hi-Yo silvers. What appears to be a campus for avant-garde performance artists designed by Timothy Leary is actually the regional headquarters of IBM, one of America’s most conservative corporations, home of white button-down shirts, black wingtips, and suits by Calvin Coolidge.
Within ten years, this 900-acre patch of North Texas prairie, called Solana, is expected to attract a dozen corporate headquarters and 4,000 to 5,000 more employees who will join IBM’s 3,000 already in place, charting our future while dressed in the past. In twenty years the North Central Texas Council of Governments estimates that more than 150,000 people will live in the cities of Coppell. Flower Mound, Keller, Southlake, and Colleyville.
Life already is changing faster than the speed of speed out here in northeast Tarrant County as bulldozer operators push ever outward on the cutting edge of suburbia. Herefords graze near “For Sale-Zoned For Development” signs.
Stables sit by new branch banks that are “Helping Colleyville Grow.” Folks who moved to what they thought was rural paradise back in 1988 go to bed next to the familiar twenty-acre field of wild-flowers and wake up to Prefab Place, a maze of mud-stained streets, flapping pennants, and cars lined up in front of the Ethan Allen Goes To Puerto Vallarta model home. By afternoon, Ed has installed his gargantuan home press drill to make earth-moving equipment in the garage and Alice is collecting money for the La-Z-Boy and the T-shirt that says “I’m With Stupid” at her garage sale.
Realtors, urban planners, and others cite one reason why half of Tarrant County’s new development markets will be in this quadrant; why the fastest-growing cities in Dallas County (Coppell) and in Denton County (Flower Mound) are here; why this region is destined to become the omphalos, the center, of the nation’s eighth-largest metropolitan area in years to come.
“Location, as always,” says Alan Chaillet, president of the Dallas/Fort Worth division of American Metro/Study Corporation. Chaillett points out that this sector is not only close to D/FW airport, which by itself would guarantee growth, but also to Las Colinas, where five out of the seven major corporations that relocated to the Metroplex settled last year, and to the new Alliance Airport.
Location: there is plenty of relatively cheap undeveloped land for both commercial and residential use. While the surrounding countryside isn’t breathtaking, it’s pleasant enough. Anyway, comparing candidates for scenic beauty in the Metroplex is like discussing a good Barry Manilow record: you have to make certain allowances. The Exxon executive could care less when he learns he can buy a house just slightly smaller than the Hermitage on what seems like the King Ranch for what he paid for his Manhattan apartment with the refrigerator in the living room.
Yes, location: the area is criss-crossed with an excellent road system not yet turned parking lot by heavy traffic. “The older suburbs like Carroll-ton, Richardson, and Garland are now experiencing the same problems of congestion, crime, decaying infrastructure, and clogged roads that plague the city of Dallas ” says Gordon Shrunk, NCTCOG’s former director of transportation. “By the time Richardson or Irving build new freeways or finish improving what exists, they’ll be filled. So we’re seeing a leapfrogging over them out to northeast Tar-rant, northwest Dallas, and southern Denton counties, where excellent roads already are in place, land is cheap, and things still work. That will be the catbird seat for a long time to come.”
This northern bias of the growing area is no more than a historical accident, but it’s no less powerful for that. If a map of Dallas County is likened to a clock face, the city’s expansion for the past seventy years has been concentrated between nine and two o’clock. First came the Park Cities; then the obsolete right-of-way of the city’s first railroad was used as the alignment for an expressway bearing toward one o’clock.
After Central Expressway opened in 1949, local planners quickly learned that no zoning ordinance can approach the power of such a road in dictating the shape of a city. Central hastened the emergence of suburbs like Garland, Piano, and Richardson. Dallas grew so fast that its territory tripled during the Fifties from about 100 to nearly 300 square miles-almost all of the annexed land lying north of the Park Cities. Since then, another 100 miles have been added, again mostly on the north, as suburban growth continued counterclockwise: Addison. Farmers Branch, Carrollton, Irving. Now the time has come for Coppell and beyond at eleven o’clock high.
The story of Dallas and Fort Worth today is increasingly the story of their thirty-three suburbs and their marked diversity. They range from Wilmer and Hutchins in the southeast, geographically and economically the low-tide mark, where the city dumps its garbage and the waste and wasted are thrown together like so much scrap, to the “outer cities” north of the LBJ Freeway with their clusters of high-rise office parks and country clubs where members try to out-Gatsby each other with vintage wines, polo ponies, and ever-larger swimming pools.
The older, established North Dallas suburbs of Garland, Richardson, Piano, and Carrollton- generally white, prosperous. Protestant-still set the tone and temper of the city and continue to grow. Their success stories have been told often and are well known. We chose instead to profile four suburbs that evince the present and foreshadow the future: Irving, today’s star suburb; Mesquite, hoping to change its boots for suspenders and become a high-tech alternative to the east; Cedar Hill, torn between the 19th and 21st centuries; and Southlake, the future downtown of Dallas/Fort Worth.
CEDAR HILL: THE FRONT PORCH SURVIVES
Cedar Hill, nineteen miles southwest of downtown Dallas, is not really a suburb. It’s small-town Texas. Mail boxes lean. Goats graze a few blocks from the town square. Doctors know which families have bad hearts and ravaged livers. And if you want the local low-down, drop in most mornings at Jack Moore’s garage and listen to old-timers like Harvey Newton tell who’s up to his neck in hornets and why.
You can still find porches in Cedar Hill, and even more amazing, people sitting on them. Air-conditioning, TV. and other modern notions killed off the front porch in most of America, and it’s probably a good thing. Sitting is unfathomable to a nation of joggers. Porch-sitting .survives in Cedar Hill because good times here generally tend to run more to pleasant than exciting, and nobody’s depressed over not being excited.
Here in the southwestern part of the county the countryside really is lovely, with panoramas of rolling hills covered with cedars and hardwoods, soaring bluffs, and steep roads wandering up and down valleys along elevated ridges. It’s the highest point (875 feet) between Galveston and the Red River, which is why Cedar Hill benefits financially from the ten radio and TV antennas rising 1,600 feet in the “antenna farm” just west of town.
“I love those antennas. It takes taxes from a hundred households to equal the amount paid by just one of them, and those antennas don’t need schools ” says T.W. Cannady, who has lived all his seventy-one years here.
As a former mayor and current city councilman, Cannady has watched Cedar Hill experience the bloom-and-boom, gloom-and-doom roller-coaster years of the last decade. Back in the early Eighties, the area’s beauty and the prospect of Joe Pool Lake prompted a shark feeding frenzy of land buying and forecasts that by the early Nineties, the area’s population would double to 170,000 and residential building would exceed $1.8 billion. Then came postponements in the opening of (he lake, thrift failures, and the inevitable foreclosures and bankruptcies. Combined residential and commercial building permit values plunged from $66 million in 1985 to $29 million in 1989.
Lately, however, there is no doubt that Cedar Hill is on the mend. The price of raw land once again has gone from per acre prices to square feet. Several hill’s worth of new homes have been built in the Lake Ridge development between Cedar Hill and Joe Pool Lake, and dirt’s again flying at High Pointe and Mountain Creek, two other large developments. Still, only 17 percent of the city has been developed.
When Trinity River Authority officials finally opened Joe Pool Lake last year in August, more than 5,000 showed up the first day and they’ve kept coming. Early next year the 1,810-acre Cedar Hill State Park opens to the public. And then there’s the Superconducting Super Collider site just over the hills in Ellis County. Gypsies, diviners, and rune-readers are the only ones who know how that will affect bucolic Cedar Hill.
These days, Cedar Hill is almost evenly divided between those willing to sacrifice their front-porch atmosphere for growth and income and those determined to preserve their heritage and keep rocking. Last year, heritage-minded voters defeated a measure to widen Belt Line Road through town to encourage visits by Joe Pool Lakers, but they prevailed only by a hundred votes or so.
On a clear day you can still see Fort Worth from the top of any number of Cedar Hill hills. You can still walk through primordial pockets of woods where toads thump from one fetid puddle to another. If you look down the railroad track, you can see the skyline of Dallas rising like a bar graph of profits. What you can’t see is what Cedar Hill will look like when the dust settles.
IRVING: WHERE TOMORROW BEGINS
You’ll have to pardon Irving if it seems to swagger about like a teenager with a fat wallet and a girlfriend named Roxy. Feeling splendid… Exxon. .. inner organs beating like a Sousa drum corps.. .GTE.. .harmonized and cool. . .CalTex Petroleum… 161,650 citizens moving between the jaunty and superb. After all, only two.Texas cities can claim a Triple A bond rating: Dallas and Irving. Were confidence electricity, Irving has enough to light up China, for it has come from a drowsy community of 2,600 in 1950 to be the premier suburb in Texas.
Irving’s manufacturing job growth has averaged 18.2 percent per year for the last seventeen years, higher than any city in the Metroplex. Its per capita income growth ha; averaged 9.2 percent a year, second only to Piano’s 10.6. Last June, the Las Colinas Urban Center, home to more than 900 companies, had the lowest office vacancy rate (16 percent) while the city itself had the highesl rise (17 percent) in home sales.
“There’s no question that today Irving is the top suburb in the Metropiex,” says County Judge Lee Jackson. Jackson credits Irving’s leaders with “very sophisticated work” in granting the first tax abatement in Dallas County history to GTE, which has moved 3,000 workers into its Las Colinas offices.
“And it’s an ethnically diverse city,’1 Jackson says. “Jackie Townsell, a black woman, has been on the city council for thirteen years, and her colleagues include Sharon Barbosa, a Hispanic, and Harry Joe, an Asian. More Koreans, about 3,000, live in Irving than anywhere else.”
The best way to see the contrast between past and future suburban modes is by driving from Texas Stadium across Irving on the Airport Freeway (183), north through the airport itself, and back east on John W. Carpenter Freeway (114) past Las Colinas.
Heading west on Highway 183 through heavy traffic weaving like drunken ants, you pass by the quintessential pre-airport Irving burb building binge done in the One-At-A-Time, One-Of-A-Kind Roadway Style: hotels and motels, shopping centers, churches, apartment complexes, fast foodies, sprawling auto dealerships, alt cheek-to-jowl.
From the airport’s north end, turn east on 114 and soon you’re passing newer, generally larger and sleeker buildings, not in rows, but clusters, surrounded by acres of manicured landscaping and greenery. Like astronauts on a deserted planet, people walk between the buildings lowering over them. Barely visible neighborhoods with conventionally rustic names (“Cot-tonwood Valley”) are expensive (“From The $210s”) and sit behind walls in a “protected environment featuring twenty-four-hour access.” Here in Irving you see that just as the industrial age spawned dense, thrown-together cities, the information and service age is decentralizing them.
State Highway 183 also has been the line of demarcation separating funky, laid-back, lower-incorne South Irving from the fast-lane, money-hustling North Irving. Dr. Paul Geisel, professor of urban affairs at UT Arlington, says this superburb is even more complex than that. Geisel claims to see five different Irvings in the demographic mass:
“There’s ethnic Irving, mainly blacks and Koreans; there’s fundamentalist, God-fearing, anti-booze Church of Christ Irving; there’s anomie or uncertain Irving, those who look like they belong but actually have no sense of community because they are Las Colinas dwellers; there’s progressive Irving, north of 183 to Las Colinas; and there’s apartment Irving, and God only knows what that’s about. It’s an exciting, varied place, no doubt about it.”
MESQUITE: GRITS AND GOBUPS
In a part of the state where cowboys catch footballs, not cattle, Mesquite with its nationally known rodeo is the country’s strongest tie to this greatest of Texas myths. At Neal Gay’s Mesquite Championship Rodeo Arena on Friday and Saturday nights, a bucking horse and rider will be fervently watched by a member of the latest generation of cowboy-worshipers. Like that ten-year-old boy over there decked out in his ceremonial rodeo-going outfit: black Stetson, a patterned white shirt, and Levis fastened by a hefty leather belt and tucked into tooled boots.
Mesquite loves its rodeo and the Mesquite Opry down on the refurbished town square, but the city’s leaders the past few years have been working hard to attract that ten-year-old boy’s daddy, the George W. Bush lookalike who’s a regular, straight-shooting guy who admires the Oak Ridge Boys but listens more to George Winston; who occasionally pitches horseshoes but plays more tennis; who cares a lot for “mainstream values” but regularly visits Vegas; who subscribes to both Bassmaster and The New Yorker: who drives a BMW but also has a pick’-em-up truck. In other words, a GOBUP, a Good Ol’ Boy Urban Professional.
The rodeoing Gay family is doing their part. To woo the “white collards,” they built a fancy new rodeo arena a few years ago with $10,000-a-year sky boxes, splinterless seats, elevators, and a VIP reception area with white leather furniture where rumor has it you can get cream gravy to cover your quiche. Hee-doggies!
Situated fifteen minutes due east of Dallas at the confluence of three major interstate highways, Mesquite now has arrived at a cultural and economic crossroads. On its northern border is prosperous, established Garland. To the south is land given over to the American poor: junked autos, vandalized houses, “hog and hominy” farmers, the hog-jowl. cracker country of Balch Springs and Seagoville. There’s no mystery as to which way Mesquite intends to go.
Mesquite began to boom in the Fifties as thousands of rural families moved to new subdivisions closer to Dallas so you could “drive to work and back home with the sun behind you both ways,” as the old saying had it. During the next three decades the city’s population soared. The city welcomed its 100,000th resident during its 1987 Centennial year. Meanwhile, Mesquite itself doubled to its present forty-two square miles. 45 percent of which remains undeveloped.
Although manufacturing powered Mesquite’s early growth, much of the town’s recent expansion has been in warehousing, distribution, and retail marketing, not exactly hotbeds of young urban professional employment. Blue-collar families have these jobs. They work hard during the week, head to the hardware store on Saturdays for cotter pins and a pair of Ever-Flex vinyl-coated Monkey Grip gloves, and fill the pews of the city’s fifty-six churches on Sunday mornings.
Mesquite remains a very conservative town that through the years has gained a reputation for fierce, head-butting fights over Bible-belt issues: kids kicked out of high school for long hair; ordinances banning teenage cruising on popular streets; frequent video-store raids by cops searching for X-rated movies. Three years ago. Mayor Brunhilde Nystrom and two council members who supported expanding liquor sales in a special “entertainment district” were swept from office by dry forces led by two ministers. Today alcohol sales are allowed only in free-standing restaurants within 500 feet of the service roads of the LBJ Freeway and Interstates 20 and 30. El Chico in Town East Mall is out of luck, a few hundred feet beyond the pale.
Despite Mesquite’s blue-collar, blue-nose image. Mayor George Venner. who defeated Nystrom, believes he can attract young professionals. How? Because last May the average home price in Richardson was $133,000; in Mesquite, $65,700.. .because of faster commuter times, thanks to Mesquite’s location.. .because Mesquite’s sales tax is 1 percent lower than the city of Dallas.
Venner also believes he can attract high-tech development because of the wide selection of inexpensive industrial sites. . . because Mesquite has more freeway frontage (twenty-seven miles) than any city except Dallas.. .because Hudson Municipal Airport is the only one in eastern Dallas County that can accommodate corporate jets.
The mayor has more information than a mail-order catalogue about his town, but he may have overlooked his secret weapon. It has been sitting on “Historic Downtown Mesquite Square” for forty-seven years. What high-tech honcho could resist McWhorter-Greenhaw, the only hardware store in these United States that also sells musical instruments and publishes a “Music News” newsletter that identifies classical themes in recent TV ads: Handel’s “Water Music” for Delta Faucets; Mozart’s “Turkish Rondo for Trident Sugarless Gum. Get this bit of information around Silicon Valley and Mesquile will be Richardson East faster than Rider No. 10 finds himself separated from Widow Maker out at Neal Gay’s rodeo palac
SOUTHLAKE AND THE FUTURE AT 11 O’CLOCK HIGH
Here in South-lake we are present at the creation. Nature and the small town will soon enough be replaced by a continuum of movement, noise, and flashing lights that decades before changed the face of Garland and Carrollton. But for now, Southlake, which only became a “city” in 1965, is just a kid. Half its 6,800 citizens have lived here two years or less, and 40 percent of those are under twenty-one. That’s why a new high school is on the drawing boards, but there still is no motel, hotel, library, public swimming pool, or restaurant.
It was only six years ago that builders broke ground on Cross Timber Hills, South-lake’s first major residential development. Last June, ten new projects spread over 1,700 acres had been approved or were under construction: almost 3,000 new houses to accommodate many of the 22,880 residents NCTCOG predicts will be living here in fifteen years.
Since 65 percent of current Southlakers earn a minimum of $70,000 annually, few, if any. of these new houses will sell for less than $175,000 and even fewer will sit on lots smaller than half an acre. Those quarter and half-mil lion-dollar homes already occupied ride their own sculptured acreage like ships at sea, separated from neighbors by forlorn-looking live oaks that lend a certain pricey and vestigial air to the streets.
Next door in Colleyville, where the average annual household income is $73,000, the highest in the Metroplex, the lowest-priced house sells for $130,000 in the sixteen subdivisions with available lots. Median housing cost is a bit less expensive ($135,700) to the east in Coppell. Coppell also is filled with newcomers: 54 percent of its 16,840 residents have lived there three years or less.
It is too early to predict what style of life will evolve in these fast-changing cities, but a few observations can be made. Already it feels they are losing their Arcadian character and are becoming “urban villages”: houses, shopping centers, offices all separated from one another by a great void. Residents have become isolated lab cultures in the single cells of their homes and cars and find it hard to make new acquaintances unless their rounds regularly take them to a school or church.
Hand-in-hand with increasing property values in prosperous neighborhoods comes increasing homogeneity. Already there is an almost complete absence of lower- or moderate-income residents. Where would they live? In January 1990, Southlake’s total housing stock of 2,381 included only 138 multi-housing components (including mobile homes); in Colleyville, only !50out of 4,343; in Keller, 113 out of 4,828; in Coppell, 1,286 out of 6,695.
Judging by the present and future residential projects, the social topography of many of the star suburbs of the future will be overwhelmingly white, Protestant, and affluent. Nothing new here. Since the birth of the Main Line suburbs of New York and Philadelphia before the Civil War, suburbs have sorted out families by income and color and raised the drawbridge-the haves in, the have-nots out-as epitomized today by the lew guarded and gated “secure” communities in Las Colinas and developments like Thornbury in Colleyville.
A few miles northeast of the IBM regional headquarters in Southlake, the 144-year-old Lonesome Dove Baptist Church and cemetery occupies a handful of acres that has been neither invigorated nor corrupted by the new groundswell of growth. Locals say author Larry McMurtry spotted the old Lonesome Dove Baptist Church bus in the Ponder Steak House parking lot (or, in another version, on a country road), and that ended his search for a title for his new novel. Lonesome Dove is about two old Texas Rangers on one last cattle drive; when it’s over, the Texas they knew is over and so are they. Captain Woodrow Call and Augustus McCrae are proud of who they are, but have no idea what they, or Texas, will become. The same is true for Southlake and the other communities here at eleven o’clock high.
Lonesome Dove Cemetery, with its spires and monuments and poetic epitaphs, is a good place to ponder such thoughts. “She budded on earth and bloomed in heaven,” reads Vera Foster’s headstone of her two years between 1896 and 1898. Close to the cemetery’s northern fence border, several graves are topped with an oval featuring a pair of hands coming together in a handshake. God welcoming mortals to heaven- or a prophecy of the cemetery’s future on earth? In the not-too-distant future on the other side of the fence, the seventy-six unspoiled acres will become 111 lots of the brand-new Lonesome Dove Estates.
OUR HOUSE LIVING THE BURB DREAM
Driving through the residential neighborhoods of Coppell or Mesquite or Lewisville any afternoon, you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking someone bad dropped deadly nerve gas. The deserted streets have a polite but woeful atmosphere, quiet and undemanding. Occasionally a jogger passes. Big plastic daisies spin in the wind of a yard where a man spreads Weed-B-Gone on his lawn. Mostly people remain invisible, leaving and returning to their homes in cars, as turtles withdraw to their shells. The only sound besides the drone of a power mower is the sound of bug death-zzz!-by patio bug elecirocutors.
Suburbanization has been the outstanding characteristic of American life, the quintessential pbysical achievement of the United States. The real shift, however, is the way in which our lives are becoming almost wholly centered inside the bouse, rather than on the neighborhood or the community.
In the past, the automobile that provided escape, the air-conditioning that seduced us into retreating behind closed doors and shut windows, and the television that kept us there all helped begin this cult of domestic privatism. More recently, the increasingly complex nature of urban and professional life-more double wage-earning families, longer commuting and working hours, the rising crime rate-has caused more of us to substitute the vision of the ideal borne for the ideal city.
Fox & Jacobs has built far more bouses (70,000 since 1947) in the Metroplex than any other builder. Their best seller is the “Charleston,” a three-bedroom, two-bath house that sells for $138.950. Walking through this average suburban home reveals bow this ever-increasing retreat into privacy and self has changed our neighborhood and our haven from the world.
The Charleston’s 2,700 square feet and seven to eight rooms is average for a F&J 1990 borne, much larger than 1975’s average (1,600 square feet, five to six rooms), even though household sizes have been decreasing (in the U.S. from 3.14 persons in 1970to 2.64 in 1988). A six-foot wooden fence, not cyclone fencing, encloses the back yard.
A house looking as if no one is home discourages neighbors from dropping by: no longer is there a spontaneous coming and going out a front door left open for kids on Big Wheels. With less neighborly contact, a residential block’s collective storehouse of information (the best baby sitters, the appliance-repairing mechanical genius) disappears, and more and more needs once met by neighbors are done by outside specialist
“People certainly do stay home longer nowadays,” says Doug Stempowski of Centex Real Estate, F&J’s parent company. “They feel their home is their fortress. According to Stempowski, that accounts for the Fox & Jacobs emphasis on larger, more open and airy spaces. “Entryways used to be seven feet high with a banging light. Now, they’re up to twenty feet to give you a sense of arrival after you close the door on the outside world.
“And since 82 percent of our homebuyers both work, they rarely entertain anymore. They’re beat when they get home,” says Stempwski. So why devote massive space to a formal living room? Today’s version is much smaller (from 14×22 feet in ’75 to 10×15 in ’90]. “It’s become more like the formal parlor where you meet the preacher,” be says.
The lost space has been taken by the real living room, the family room. According to Ray Oldenburg, author of The Great Good Place, Americans spend about 90 percent of their leisure time in their homes, which explains the importance and size (20×15) of the family room. Here is the fireplace, music equipment, and the real magnet that draws the filings, the television. The late Margaret Mead referred to these rooms as “giant playpens into which parents bad crawled.’’
The family room in all F&J homes is intimately connected to the Charleston’s most expensive room (for builders), the kitchen. If kitchens once were little more than sanitary and functional, now they are alluring. There are “appliance garages” under wall cabinets for electric peanut butter makers, electric salad dryers, and popcorn poppers. Also among the 200 options for the Charleston: a kitchen with two work stations, each with its own sink, for the liberated household.
For our stay-at-home, frazzled, two-income earners, the master bedroom suite has doubled in size and even bus a new moniker: “the master retreat.” Walk-in closets, sitting areas, vaulted ceilings are new; in two-story homes, it’s on the ground floor away from the kids’ bedrooms for added privacy.
The “master retreat” leads to todays undisguised center of gratification, the bath. Bathrooms used to be 5×7 square feet; now that figure refers to the tub itself. In the Charleston, marble steps lead to a large tub with a small whirlpool, but they could take you to the sybaritic “Superbath,” with American Standard’s &28,000 “Sensorium With Ambiance” whirlpool. Naturally the shower no longer is mounted in utilitarian fashion on top of the tub: it has its men compartment, possibly with the $342 Rainbar, a two-foot-long sidespray mounted vertically on opposite shower walls. It’s perfect for people who like to shower without wetting their hair.
Of course, crime is a major concern of all homeowners. While only 30 percent of Centex borne buyers in the Midwest list crime prevention as a high priority, 80 percent do here in the Metroplex. That’s why, three years ago. Fox & Jacobs began offering new homes prewired for security systems as an option for the buyer. At the very least, there are likely to be double-cylinder dead-bolt locks. They also sell’ ’decorator’’ steel doors for homes.
Clearly, a pronounced shift in attitude is taking place here. Our idea of the good life is still to buy or build a three-bedroom colonial such as was never seen in the colonies or a rancbstyle borne such as was never seen near any stock pond, and live as if we were taught by The Cleavers and Ozzie and Harriet Nelson.
But the modern family faces pressures and problems far more nettlesome than that “Con theBeaver’s report card or Harriet’sdecision to postpone the bridgeclub. Increasingly, our suburbanneighborhoods are becomingstages for isolated family living,where the quest for privacy mayhave succeeded ail too well. Thesuburban good life may be worthbuying, but the mortgage isn’t theonly price tag. -R.W.
SUBURBAN BESTS & WORSTS
Best Burb Rumer: That burboids are stealing goods out of Satvation Army and Goodwill Industry boxes by bushing their kids through the small openings, then selling the items at garage sales.
Most Boring Burb Addres: “Trophy Club Country Club, 500 Trophy Club Dr., Trophy Club, Texas.”
The Burb “Ask And Ye Shall Receive” Award: To David Smith, who used to preach on the streets of Cedar Hill and now is pastor numero uno at the Trinity Church of the Assemblies of God, the city’s largest church.
The Burb Two dixie Cups & String Award: To Wilmer, the only burb in Dallas County that has to dial long distance to the city of Dallas.
Best Burb Playground: Duncanvilles S1 70,000 Kidsville, the largest volunteer-built Umber playground in the world.
Best Burb Airport Food: Lancaster’s Happy landing Coffee Shop at the Lancaster airport
Best Burb Name Mystery : DeSoto… For Hernando who came this way in the !6th century, or for Dr. Hernandez DeSoto Steward, a favorite town doctor who once lived in the area.?
Store Gabby Hayes Would Like Most in The Burbs: Lander’s Mercantile country store in Sunnyvale, with horse tack on the wall next to oil lamps and shelves of snuff.
Burb Historical Achievement
Award: ToDr. Henry Dye, who gave the name ’ ’Piano ” to the post office established in 1850, tbinking it was the Spanish word for “plain.”
Mest Inspiring Burbite: Duncanville’s girl’s basketball coach Sandra Meadows, who did not miss a day of practice despite her battle with breast cancer.
Best Burb Free Entertainment: The Friday night gospel fests at the Mesquite Opry Hous.
Burb Dubious Achievement
Award: To Rowlett, where the first man electrocuted in the Texas state prison in Huntsville is buried.
Best Burb Little League Football
Teams: In Coppell. where all eight coaching assistants of Dallas Cowboy Coach Jimmy Johnson bought homes.
Best Burb For Lazy Cops: Plano, which boasts the lowest crime rate in Texas for cities over 50,000.
Best Burbite To Tell You How The Cow Ate The Cabbage: Lancaster’s Ellis Strain, ninety, Dallas County’s oldest working farmer.
Best Burb Brag: DeSoto’s trumpeting that the first million-dollar spec house in southwest Dallas County was built in their town.
Best Burb To Find Avecade, Aquamarine, Rust, and Gold Shag Carpeting Under One
Roof: Grand Prairie, home of more mobile homes than any other burb.
Best Unknows Burb Restaurant:Caspar’s in Coppell. whose cbef has worked in New York and Europe.
General BurbLore: In Rowlett, old-timers eat breakfast at the Brooksbire’s, while the young hotsbots start the day over at Wilson’s Steak House… Mesquite’s July Balloonfest is the largest such affair in Texas… Don Carter’s bouse in Coppett measures 15,000 square feet. It’s on Carter Drive in Carter Estates, one street over from Christi Lane, named after bis daughter… Wilmer has one cop for each of its eight square miles.
Best Burb Celebrity: Lancaster’sJanie Fricke. -R.W.
BURBS AT A GLAN
Location: Belt Line Road near the Dallas North Tollway
Average SAT score:* 777(most attend DISD)
Racial breakdown: * 87% Anglo; 3% African-American; 6% Hispanic; 4 % Other
Median income:* $28,871
Amenities: Addison Airport; a ,3.8-million public health club that offers residents a &10 lifetime membership; SI million annual landscaping budget, and it shows
Location: 25 miles north of Dallas, off U.S. 75
Average SAT score: 890 (Allen ISO)
*Unless otherwise noted, Taxes are per $100,000 property valuation, 1989; Average SAT score are averages for 1987-88; Racial breakdowns are for 1989; Median household incomes are for 1990
Racial breakdown: 91% Anglo; 1% African-American; 6% Hispanic: 2 % Other
Median income: $44,314
Amenities: about 15 minutes from Lake Lawn, about an hour from Lake Texoma; a year-old library with 33,000 volumes
Location: just off I-30 smack dab between Dallas and Fort Worth
Average SAT score: 900 (Arlington ISD)
Racial breakdown: 93% Anglo; 3% African-American; 1% Hispanic: 3 % Other (1980 Census)
Median income: $40,150
Amenities: amusement capital of the Southwest (Six Flags, Wet ’n Wild, Arlington Stadium); University of Texas at Arlington
Location: on either side of I-635, just south and west of Mesquite
Average SAT score: 903 (Mesquite ISD)
Recial breakdown: 80% Anglo; 5% African-American; 10% Hispanic: 5% Other
Median income: not available
Amenities: 7 city parks; a country-western singalong every Tuesday night on the corner of Peachtree and Lake June
Location: north of Farmers Branch off I-35 E
Average SAT score: 957 Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD)
Racial breakdown: 85% Anglo; 2 % African-American; 8% Hispanic: 5% Other
Median income: $47,758
Amenities: Indian Creek Public Golf Course, which carries the Highest rating for a public course in the D/FW Metroplex: the Japanese Language Advancement School for Japanese corporate employees and their families; more than 1,200 acres of parkland divided into 30 parks
Location: 19 miles southwest of downtown Dallas, bordered by Duncanville and DeSoto on the north and east and Joe Pool Lake on the west
Average SAT score: 859 (Cedar Hill ISD)
Racial breakdown: 88% Anglo; 3 % African-American; 6% Hispanic: 3% Other
Median income: $39,009
Amenities: Northwood Institute, a private, 4-year business college; Joe Pool Lake; only 17% of the city is eveloped
Locations: 5 miles due west of D/FW International Airport and south of Southlake
Average SAT score: 904 (Grapevine-Colleyville ISD)
Racial breakdown: 97% Anglo; 0% African-American; 1 % Hispanic; 1% Other (1980 Census)
Median income: $47,568
Amenities: average lot size is a half-acre and new homes start at $250,000, school district was recognized by the Texas Education Agency’s Academic Excellence Committee this year as being in the top 10 percent of all Texas schools
Location: on the eastern shore of lake Lewisville, north of Highway 121
Average SAT score: 882 (Lewisville ISD)
Racial breakdown: 84% Anglo; 3 % African-American; 9% Hispanic: 4% Other
Average SAT score: 882 (Lewisville ISD)
Racial breakdown: 84% Anglo; 3% African-Amertam;9% Hispanic; 4% Other
Median income: $32,900 (1987)
Amenities: Lake Lewisville; four shopping centers; neighborhood parks; annual sailing regatta
Location: north of Irving, adjacent to I-635 and five miles west of 1-35. just northwest of D/FW Airport
Average SAT score: 905 (Coppell ISD)
Racial breakdown: 87% Anglo; 1% African-American; 4% Hispanic; 8% Other
Median income: $41,469
Amenities: one-third of land area zoned for city parks; Northlake, a sailing and boating lake; new high school with stadium; new City Hall
Location: 15 miles south of downtown Dallas, at the southwest corner of the I-35, I-20 junction, next to Lancaster
Average SAT score: 912 (DeSoto ISD)
Racial breakdown: 87% Anglo; 6% African-American; 5 % Hispanic; 2 % Other
Mediam family income: $45,328
Amenities: near proposed Superconducting Super Collider site; 11 lighted tennis courts; free senior citizens van service
Location: southwest Dallas County, between 1-20 and U.S. 67
Average SAT score: 925 (Duncanville ISD)
Racial breakdown: 89% Anglo; 2% African-American; 5% Hispanic; 4% Other
Median income: $42,970
Amenities: Joe Pool lake; Kidsville, the largest volunteer-built timber playground in the world; the celebrated girls’ basketball team
Location: just north of I-635 on either side of I-35 E
Average SAT score: 957 (Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD)
Racial breakdown: 83% Anglo; 2 % African-American; 10% Hispanic; 5% Other
Median income: $43,605
Amenities: 50 of the top Fortune 500 companies (IBM, McDonnell Douglas, Motorola, etc.) office here; Farmers Branch Historical Park, with 22 acres of outdoor museum grounds
Location: north of Lake Grapevine, west of Lewisville, and northwest of Dallas off I-35 E
Average SAT score: 882 (Lewisville ISD)
Racial breakdown: 96% Anglo; 1% African-American; 2 % Hispanic; 1% Other
Median income: $55,313
Amenities: 212 acres of parkland; close proximity to lakes Grapevine and Lewisville
Locations: 30 miles from downtown Dallas off State Hwy. 289 (Preston Hood)
Average SAT score: 868 (Frisco ISD)
Racial breakdown: 71% Anglo; 2% African-American; 15% Hispanic; 12% Other
Median income: $33,364
Amenities: 5 miles from Lake Lewisville; Steel Wheels Museum (trains)
GARLAND Location: northwest of I-635 between I-30 and U.S. 75
Average SAT score: 901 (Garland ISD)
Racial breakdown: 82% Anglo; 6% African-American; 7% Hispanic; 5% Other
Median income: $34,000
Amenities: students may attend any school, regardless of which neighborhood they live in; ninth-largest city in Texas
Location: on either side of I-30, between Arlington and Cockrell Hill
Average SAT score: 904 (Grand Prairie ISD)
Racial breakdown: 69 % Anglo; 7% African-American; 16% Hispanic; 8% Other
Median income: not available
Amenities: LTV manufacturing divisions; International Wildlife Park; Ripley’s Believe It Or Not/The Palace of Wax; Mountain Creek lake; Naval Air Station
Location: just northwest of D/FW Airport
Average SAT score: 904 (Grapevine-Colleyville ISD)
Racial breakdown: 94% Anglo; 1% African-American; 3% Hispanic; 2% Other (1980 Census)
Median income: $41,490
Amenities: Lake Grapevine, with 146 miles of shoreline; an 18-hole municipal golf course designed by Byron Nelson; more acres of parkland than any other city of its size in Texas
Location: three cities surrounding State Hwys. 183 and 121, just southwest of D/FW Airport .
Taxes: $540 (Hurst and Euless), $400 (Bedford)
Average SAT score: 917 (HEB ISD)
Racial breakdown: 95% Anglo; 1% African-American; 3% Hispanic; 1% Other (1980 Census)
Median income: $43,300
Amenities: Kmart’s regional headquarters; Belt Helicopter/Textron plant
Location: west of I-35 E off State Hwy. 183
Average SAT score: 927 (Irving ISD)
Racial breakdown: 72% Anglo; 18% African-American; 7% Hispanic;3% Other
Median income: $35,900
Amenities: Las Colinas; Irving Mall; Texas Stadium; GTE, Exxon headquarters
Location: 15 miles north of Fort Worth, between D/FWAirport and I-35 W
Average SAT score: 917(Keller ISD)
Racial breakdwon: 97% Anglo; 0% African-American; 2% Hispanic; 1% Other (1980 Census)
Median income: $43,715
Amenities: D/FW Airport to the east, Alliance Airport to the west; brand new library (opened in September 1990) with more than 22,000 volumes
Location: 12 miles south of downtown Dallas, bordered by I-35 to the west, I-20 on the north, and Wilmer-Hutchins on the east
Average SAT score: 886 (Lancaster ISD)
Racial breakdown: 78% Anglo; 10% Afrlcan-Ameriam; 7% Hispanic; 5% Other
Median income: $32,554
Amenities: Lancaster Airport; Cedar Valley College; Lancaster Country View Golf Club
Location: off I-35 E just north of Coppell
Average SAT score: 882 (Lewisville ISD)
Racial breakdown: 89% Anglo; 3% Africon-Imerican, 5% Hispanic; 3% Other
Median income: 43,809
Amenities: Lake Lewisville and its 17 surrounding parks; the new Vista Ridge, Denton County’s largest mall
Location: off U.S. 75 at State Hwy. 121
Average SAT score: 971 (McKinney ISD)
Racial breakdown: 67% Anglo; 14% African-American; 15% Hispanic; 4% Other
Median income: $29,584
Amenities: Lake Lavon; Heard Natural Science Museum
Location: off I-30 at I-635
Average SAT score: 903 (MISD)
Racial breakdown: 86% Anglo; 1% African-American: 8 % Hispanic; 5 % Other
Median income: $38,953
Amenities: Mesquite Championship Rodeo; 1st place winner in the 1990 Governor’s Community Achievement Award and recipient of $125,000 for doing the best job statewide at reducing litter and waste
Location: U.S. 75. due north of Richardson
Average SAT score: 952 (Plano ISD) Racial breakdown: 90% Anglo; 3% African-American; 4% Hispanic; 3% Other
Median income: $55,140
Amenities: Collin Creek Matt; 5 golf courses; 3 libraries; the annual Piano Balloon Festival
Location: U.S. 75, due north of Dallas
Average SAT score: 955(RISD)
Racial breakdown: 89% Anglo; 3% African-American; 4 % Hispanic: 4 % Other
Median income: $55,956(1989)
Amenities: University of Texas at Dallas; lowest property tax in Texas major cities with 50,000 or more; Richardson Independent School District, recognized as one of the top 25 in the country
Location: north of I-30 E on lake Ray Hubbard
Average SAT score: 909 (Rockwall ISD)
Racial breakdown: 93% Anglo; 3% African-American; 2% Hispanic; 2% Other
Median income: not available Amenities: Lake Ray Hubbard: eight shopping centers
Location: north of I-30 E on Lake Ray Hubbard
Average SAT score: 901 (Garland ISD)
Racial breakdown: 85% Anglo; 5% African-American; 7% Hispanic; 3% Other
Median income: $37,907
Amenities: one of the few take communities with its own fire department and emergency services
Location: south of Mesquite on U.S. 175
Average SAT score: 777 (D1SD)
Racial breakdown: 92% Anglo; 2% African-American; 3% Hispanic; 3% Other
Median income: $27,863
Amenities: 30 minutes from Lake Ray Hubbard
Location: north on Highway 114. midway between Dallas and Fort Worth on the north side
Average SAT score: 925 (Carroll ISD)
Racial breakdown: 96% Anglo; 0% African-American; 2 % Hispanic; 2 % Other (1980 Census)
Median income: $75,000
Amenities: Solana, a 900-acre high-tech office park anchored by IBM; Lake Grapevine: all of Sauthlakes high school sports teams won some form of district championship last year
Location: east of Mesquite, south of Garland on either side of U.S. 80
Average SAT score: 903 (Mesquite ISD)
Racial breakdown: 96% Anglo; 1% African-American; 2% Hispanic; 1% Other Median income: not available Amenities: on the southwest corner of Lake Ray Hubbard; quiet, rural area; Samuell Farm
Location: north of Southlake and off State Hwy. 114 on Lake Grapevine
Average SAT score: 900 (Northwest ISD)
Racial breakdown: 92% Anglo; 3% African-American; 3 % Hispanic; 2 % Other (1986)
Median income: $75,000 (1988)
Amenities: all cement streets, no asphalt; new 13-acre park with sports facilities; lake Grapevine
Location: south of I-20 on either side of I-45
Taxes: $660 (Wilmer); $469 (Hutcbins)
Average SAT score: N/A (not a test site that year)
Racial breakdown: Wilmer- 47% Anglo; 24% African-American; 21% Hispanic; 8% Other Hutchins-66% Anglo; 28% African American; 5% Hispanic; 1% Other (1988)
Median income: $25,000
Amenities: in the off-season. NBA star Spud Webb plays at Highland Hills Recreation Center
-Compiled by Eric Celeste and Lucie Nelka