Neighborhood Spotlight: Midway Hollow Had a Very Dallas Beginning

Midway Hollow

Tree-lined streets, friendly neighbors, and great schools are just some of the things that make Midway Hollow home for many. (Photo: Bethany Erickson)

If a town hitting its peak is a boomtown, would a neighborhood like Midway Hollow, with its bustling mix of newcomers and longtime residents, be considered a boom-hood?

There are 2,600 homes in the neighborhood, which is bordered by Midway Road, Walnut Hill Lane, Marsh Lane, and Northwest Highway.

Midway Hollow’s ties to Dallas history go back to the time when Texas was its own country — and you can still see them today when you drive down Lively Lane, Marsh Lane, or Coppedge Lane, all of which were named after the early settlers who farmed the land.

Midway Hollow

Many of those settlers received their plots as part of the 1841 Peters Colony land grant, a business venture of English and American investors led by William S. Peters. Those apportionments stretched across much of North Texas.

But in more recent history, local armchair historians tell me that without two well-known Dallas names in real estate, what would become known as Midway Hollow could’ve looked quite different.

In 1945, Clint Murchison Sr., they told me, built concrete bungalows in the far northwest corner of what would later be the Midway Hollow area. Ebby Halliday, in her first foray into the real estate world, decorated them, staged them and sold them all.

In her obituary from 2015, The Dallas Morning News had more, telling of the time before Halliday was known for real estate when she owned her own hat shop. I was also able to locate an article from 1955 by the Associated Press that mentions how Halliday and Murchison worked together.Midway Hollow

“One of her best friends and customers was the wife of the legendary oilman Clint Murchison Sr., who had built 50 postwar, single-family houses out of insulated concrete on the outskirts of town at Northwest Highway and Marsh Lane,” the story said.

In 1945, she began selling those homes for Murchison.

“She covered the concrete walls and floors, putting in carpeting, wall covering and cottage curtains,” the story continued. “In so doing, she’s credited with creating the first model homes in Dallas.”

She sold all 50 homes, which were listed for $7,000 ($94,945 in today’s money) for a two-bedroom home and $9,000 ($122,072) for a three-bedroom home, in less than a year.

Nowadays, of course, you can still find three-bedroom bungalows, but you’ll be paying a great deal more.  

Less than five years ago, the average three-bedroom bungalow was going for somewhere south of $200,000. Today, they’re easily more than $300,000. The sounds of construction routinely fill the air as the older bungalows and cottages come down, and newer construction goes back up in its place.

But throughout it all, the neighborhood has remained friendly, and its denizens actively involved. Take the Midway Hollow Crime Watch. Sure, many neighborhoods have one. But since the crime watch began more than a decade ago, the neighborhood has seen an appreciable drop in crime.

Midway Hollow

Most months, there are fewer than 13 criminal incidents in the neighborhood. Out of 2,600 homes, that’s a remarkable statistic. The watch combines practical advice and neighborhood events designed to create a close-knit community with another walloping punch — the Extended Neighborhood Patrol program offered by the Dallas Police Department.

With off-duty officers patrolling at various hours and checking on the homes of vacationing members, Midway Hollow has become less attractive to criminals and more attractive to a wide mix of homebuyers looking for a shaded yard, walkable streets, and proximity to all the fun stuff Dallas has to offer.

And with three excellent Dallas ISD elementary schools (Foster, Walnut Hill, and Withers elementary schools) serving the neighborhood, as well as two middle schools (Marsh and Walker), and two high schools (Thomas Jefferson and W.T. White), families are finding Midway Hollow attractive for even more reasons.

Of course, with newer residents comes a social media presence, too. Besides the ubiquitous NextDoor, neighbors are often found chatting over the virtual fence on the crime watch Facebook group, sharing recommendations, checking on neighbors, and doing the occasional lost pet search.

Zarena Marcus posted photos of her family’s Halloween decorations -— a family of skeletons. Immediately, neighbors began making suggestions on ways to pose them, prompting her to switch things up a bit.

Her skeletons are now posed with a “skelfie stick.”

“Honestly, to us, the best part of it now are the suggestions we’re getting from our Midway Hollow neighborhood,” Marcus said. “What an amazing and absolutely great community to live in!”

Midway Hollow

The Marcus family’s Halloween decorations began taking “skelfies” after other neighbors suggested it in the Midway Hollow Crime Watch Facebook group (Photo courtesy Zarena Marcus).

Cynthia Ely agreed. She bought her home in 1999 and says she fell in love with the “warm and inviting” neighborhood.

“I find Midway Hollow to be a peaceful and safe community,” she said. “Everyone takes care of their properties, making it a beautiful community.”

The walkability of the neighborhood appeals to her as well.

“There are so many different ways to take walks — leaving my neighborhood I have a one-mile route, two-mile, three, and four,” Ely said.

Personally, this neighborhood is home. It’s where we brought our son home from the hospital, watched him grow, and now watch him walk to school every day.  Having been here several years, I’ve seen neighbors rally around families that were hurting, work together to find solutions for problems, and fuss and worry like family over even the newest members of our neighborhood.

I was in love with my neighborhood years ago, but an incident last year at my son’s school made me fall even more in love. Someone (we’ll probably never know who) put up some pretty racist and vile signs around the school, aimed at the large Latino and Hispanic student population.

Within minutes, neighbors were scouring the neighborhood to make sure there weren’t more. Before nightfall, new signs — welcoming signs — replaced the hateful ones.

Midway Hollow

And it didn’t stop there. A few days before school started this year, chalk messages of love and support suddenly sprang up one weekend on the path leading up to the school.

Midway Hollow takes care of its own, and once you’re here, you’re family.

(Photo courtesy Tom Erickson)

One Comment

  • Who came up with the name Midway Hollow and when? I grew up on Park Lane and the neighborhood was always. Called Walnut Hill. The shopping center at Marsh Lanr at NW Highway was called Walnut Hill Shopping Center developed by Leslie Hill. It is great to see the improvements at Stephen C. Foster. Hope Mayor Rawlings doesn’t tell the DISD to change the name.