Folks who live inside The Bubble can talk all they want about the Park Cities’ municipal services, great location (in the middle of Dallas, about six miles north of downtown), lower taxes, and terrific schools, but the truth is no other neighborhood offers the built-in cachet of Highland Park and University Park.
The city planner responsible for laying out Highland Park in 1908 (20 percent of it set aside for parks) is the same fellow who designed Beverly Hills. University Park was developed a few years later as a support community for the new Southern Methodist University. Highland Park boasts more million-dollar mansions, which explains why people who live in University Park may say “the Park Cities” when asked where they live, rather than elaborate.
Like an oasis in the middle of Dallas, Turtle Creek runs from Fairmount Street to the edge of Highland Park, but it’s the high-rises that dot the creek just north of Lemmon that the highfalutin’ types are referring to when they boast a Turtle Creek address. Across the railroad tracks, Northern Hills is home to some of Dallas’s quiet, but frustrated, money: the neighborhood stops just short of the Highland Park town limits.
Its proximity to Highland Park, Turtle Creek, and Cedar Springs gives Oak Lawn-undoubtedly Dallas’s funkiest, most eclectic neighborhood-a decidedly split personality. Realtors, you see. like to lump the city’s beloved Oak lawn area with any one of the above, depending on a client’s preferences. For example, there’s “Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs, ” in deference to the area’s considerable gay population, “Oak Lawn/Turtle Creek” for would-be sophisticates, and “Oak Lawn-just-south-of-Highland-Park” for upwardly mobile singles who park Saabs and Peugeots in front of their 1940s duplexes.
No one’s denying that Oak Cliff, in the western part of southern Dallas, has the most eye-pleasing terrain in Dallas. The winding, wooded streets of Kessler Park, the Highland Park of the southern sector, are filled with stalely homes that would go for twice as much in parts of North Dallas. Thai’s also true in neighboring Stevens Park, just across the way from the Stevens Park Golf Course. Kidd Springs shares what some call “the $100, 000 boundary” with Kessler Park, but bears a stronger resemblance to Winnetka Heights, Dallas’s largest historic district.
With the implementation of busing ordinances in the early Seventies, this once predominantly Anglo neighborhood in the southwest quadrant of Oak Cliff saw an influx of African-American families who preferred relocation to busing. It’s now considered one of the city’s most racially balanced areas, with a mix of blue-and white-collar workers, including many of Dallas’s most prominent African-American lawyers, doctors, and politicians.
In spite of attempts to change its image, (he neighborhood that sits on the southeast edge of Dallas remains the punch lint of everybody’s favorite blue-collar joke. Pleasant Grove is decidedly residential, middle-class, and, for the most part, quiet and laid-back. But Grovers like it here probably because of its small-town ambience-a hard quality to find these days.
Forest Hills, next to the lake, is the jewel of the area with a mix of bungalows and rambling half-million-dollar homes. This area is lush and verdant and quite possibly the greenest part of Dallas. There are also the neighborhoods of Little Forest Hills, Emerald Isle, and the Peninsula, otherwise unremarkable if not for their proximity to While Rock Lake. The Casa Linda neighborhood. however, shows all the signs of a revival with young couples moving in, sprucing up their homes, and rechristening the neighborhood Cah-sa Linda.
SWISS AVENUE/MUNGER PLACE HISTORIC DISTRICTS
Transplanted snobs from the East Coast like Co snicker at the idea of a historic district in Dallas. Okay, maybe “old” is a relative term. Still, you can’t deny the appeal of Swiss Avenue, arguably the grandest boulevard in Dallas, east of downtown, Thousands, in fact, turn out each year for the Swiss Avenue Tour of Homes just to set what a turn-of-the-century mansion looks like. On a smaller scale, there’s the historic 12-block Munger Place neighborhood to the south, developed by the Munger brothers in 1905. Along with Swiss, it was the First neighborhood in Dallas that carried restrictions mandating architecture, style, and price standards.
As with other prestigious neighborhoods in Dallas, realtors will call everything within striking distance of this pricey neighborhood “Lakewood. ” Truth is, Lakewood proper is situated east of Abrams Road and north of Gaston, two miles east of downtown. Like a small town where everything from the local shopping center and movie theater to the country club sports the name of that town, Lakewood is the most suburban of Dallas’s inner-city neighborhoods. There’s even a folksy Fourth of July parade each year that winds down Lakewood Boulevard and Tokalon Drive. It looks for all the world like something Norman Rockwell dreamed up.
Its name suggests something much fancier, but Hollywood Heights was originally built in the Twenties as a middle-class alternative to its more affluent neighbor, Lakewood, Towering pecan, crape myrtle, oak, and redbud trees shade the neighborhood’s Tudor cottages and, because it has no major thoroughfares, the area remains remarkably quiet. Says one resident of the difference between Hollywood Heights and Greenland Hills: “Instead of being bordered by horrible things like Greenville and Central Expressway, you’ve got Tenison Park and Lakewood Country Club. “
Drive down any one of the tree-lined M streets in the area for-mally known as Greenland Hills-across Central Expressway from Highland Park-and it’s hard not to feel a sense of well-being. The Tudor cottages look so adorably quaint with their glass-enclosed porches, Jeep Wagoneers, BMWs, and tricycles in the driveways and herb gardens out back. It’s quiet and cozy, and even better, it’s close to Snuffer’s, home of the famous cheese fries.
OLD EAST DALLAS
A poor cousin to the tonier Greenland Hills and. to a lesser extent, Hollywood Heights, the neighborhoods of Belmont, Lakewood Heights, Junius Heights, Vickery Place, Cochran Heights, and Mil] Creek make up Old East Dallas. When neighborhood restoration became a popular notion during the boom years, the oft-neglected bungalows, cottages, and prairie-style homes of Old East Dallas gave many urban pioneers a case of redo fever.
DEEP ELLUM/FAIR PARK
The warehouse district east of downtown, along Elm, Main, Pacific, and Commerce streets, has always been attractive to artists, given the area’s dirt-cheap rents and cavernous spaces. But when developers moved in and raised the rent, mam artists were forced to move on. Offbeat clothing, furniture, and accessory stores, trendy restaurants, and nightclubs are more the norm these days, but for the residents who remain, the amenities are still sparse. Says one sculptor who has lived in Deep Ellum for 10 years: “People who are used to air conditioning and dishwashers won’t fit in very well here. “
The State-Thomas area-a former freedman’s town that sits in the northern shadow of Woodall Rodgers-still bore a remarkable resemblance to its origins until it was targeted as Dallas’s next urban mecca some five years ago. Sadly, most of the area’s old shotgun shanties have been demolished (a few, preserved as relics, now sit in Old City foil, and many of the area’s African-American residents have moved on. Charming Victorian homes remain among the lower McKinney restaurants, shops, and hot spots.
If Ward and June Cleaver had lived in Dallas, they would have chosen Lake Highlands in Northeast Dallas. Once a victim of the nothing-east-of-Central-is-worth-a-darn syndrome, the Lake Highlands area has become attractive to middle- and upper-middle-income families who want a Dallas address but like the idea of being in the Richardson school district. Merriman Park is one of the area’s older neighborhoods, while Pebble Creek and Oak Highlands are the newer, more affluent pockets.
Old Preston Hollow-including the old-moneyed estate area of Strait Lane, where homes start at $2 million-has all kinds of connotations plain ol’ Preston Hollow ( in the $200, 000 range) simply doesn’t. The homes of Old Preston Hollow are set on at least an acre of land, which gives this neighborhood the distinction of being, among other things, the only place in Dallas where horses are allowed as pets, Located between Douglas and Hillcrest, north of Northwest Highway, Preston Hollow is one of those classic neighborhoods with lots of trees, lots of kids, and moms who stay home.
During the boom years, Preston Royal (southeast of Preston Road and Royal Lane) was where a number of builders began taking part in the practice known as “tear-down. ” They’d buy the ranch-style houses indigenous to the area, then tear them down to make room for something more befitting a North Dallas address. Now the area has become popular among some homeowners who are positioning themselves for the next real estate boom.
If you didn’t know better, you’d think the tiny block of land called Greenway Parks-bordered by Mockingbird Lane, University Boulevard, Inwood Road, and the Tollway-was plucked out of the country, so pastoral is the setting, Thanks to the greenbelts, wide strips, and triangles of grass and trees, virtually every house has a meadow for a back yard. The neighborhood’s ties to Highland Park-Greenway Parks was originally developed in the Twenties as a rival-were severed some 20 years ago when the HP school district refused to accept tuition students from the area.
You don’t just happen upon Bluffview (west of Inwood and south of Northwest Highway), the one-time Indian battleground where streets haw names like Watauga and Catawba. Its modest cottages and million-dollar estates are so densely surrounded by lowering elms and red oaks that you could go for years without seeing >our neighbor. Just west of Bluffview, the Shorecrest area has frame cottages that were originally built (or service people stationed at Love Field during World War II.
FAR NORTH DALLAS
What to call the area north of North Dallas furrowed many a brow until somebody came up with the entirely appropriate Far North Dallas. It’s the nesting ground for transplanted executives (90 percent of JCPenney’s employees. for instance, settled north of LBJ) and the newly moneyed who like to have things just so. As if decreed, virtually all of the neighborhoods in Far North Dallas sport names with the prefix of “Preston” or “Bent. ” Prestonwood, Preston Trail, and Bent Tree, for instance, make up the Golden Corridor. Farther north, the subdivision of Bent Tree North is proof that FND hasn’t stopped growing.