It’s a story we heard frequently when we began asking people what they loved about Sparkman Club Estates — a story of children and grandchildren coming back in adulthood to raise their own children in the close-knit neighborhood.
The neighborhood is bordered by Webb Chapel, Royal Lane, Marsh Lane and Merrell Lane, and includes Camelot Drive and Baroness Drive. But the heart of the neighborhood is its 58-year-old community club, which boasts a swimming and tennis facility and a clubhouse that is home to many celebrations, both public and private.
Cindy Beatty has watched the neighborhood grow and thrive as a Realtor and as a resident, having lived in Sparkman since 1992. She’s been selling houses in the neighborhood for 12 years.
And while the neighborhood may give off a Leave It to Beaver vibe, it’s anything but cookie cutter, boasting some of the best in residential architecture.
“There is a mix of different home styles,” Beatty said. “We have beautiful new builds and fabulous renovated homes.”
“One of my favorites is on Ainsworth – Cliff May design, midcentury modern,” she added. “I really love the history of our neighborhood.”
Beatty said that while she became a homeowner in Sparkman 25 years ago, she feels like a lifelong resident.
“My great aunt and uncle bought their house in Sparkman in 1958 and when they passed, my husband and I bought the house in 1992,” she said. “Most of my high school friends lived in Sparkman, so I feel like I have been a part of this neighborhood since it was developed.
“It has always been a great place to live.”
Beatty and some of her neighbors were able to give us the low-down on their neighborhood, and what makes it special.
“It is truly a neighborhood,” Laura Barnett said. “Kids are out mowing lawns, washing cars, selling lemonade – just like when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s.”
“I feel like I am back in my hometown of Colby, Kansas (population 6,000).”
“My parents built one of the first houses on Galahad Drive in 1960,” Sharon Kuhl said. “Family, family, family! It’s a great area to raise your children.”
Beatty agreed. “DeGoyler is a really good elementary school, and W.T. White High School is also rated highly,” she said. “We are also very close to a lot of good private schools, too.”
That pride in local public schools is easy to see on the club’s website, which touts the achievements of their neighborhood schools.
“Sparkman’s neighborhood elementary school, E.L. DeGolyer, is one of the most highly regarded elementary schools in the city,” the club’s website enthuses. “It feeds into TEA-Recognized T.C. Marsh Middle School and, from there, into W.T. White High School, which is recognized on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best public high schools in the country.”
“And, because Sparkman is part of the Dallas Independent School District, students in our neighborhood are eligible to apply to any of the city’s highly regarded magnet schools.”
Both Beatty and Barnett said they appreciate the varied types of people that call Sparkman home.
“We ‘house’ all walks of life – we have statesmen and women as well as brand new babies,” Barnett said. “We all try to look out for each other and take care of each other.”
Beatty agreed with Barnett, describing the demographics of the neighborhood as “very eclectic.”
“There are activities for all, from the very young to our cherished seniors,” she said. “Kids activities include Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Santa visits in their homes.”
“And one of my favorite stories is about Carole Walker, who is 86 years old, raised her three children here and still gives water aerobics lessons at the pool every year,” Beatty marveled.
That small-town feel of the neighborhood is unique, Beatty feels.
“People actually know each other and look out for each other,” she said. “In a lot of cases there are multi-generation families here still and that would not live anywhere else.”
Barnett said that her elevator pitch to people about Sparkman can be handled in a simple drive within its borders.
“Our neighborhood has all you need in a neighborhood,” she said. “I don’t need to sell you on it, you feel it when you drive in.
“Because of the way our neighborhood was designed, you don’t drive in our neighborhood, unless you are coming here for a reason,” she added. “We have a club you can join that has a wonderful pool and year-round activities for the entire family.”
Beatty said that the biggest sales pitch she could give would come on Independence Day.
“If I had to choose just one of my most favorite things about Sparkman Club Estates it would be the Fourth Of July celebration,” she said. “The streets all compete with building the best float, there is a horseshoe tournament, antique cars, kiddie parade, fried chicken lunch where we feed the police and firefighters and ends with the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem.”
Both Beatty and Barnett said the neighborhood was a true community — and that feeling keeps them and their neighbors rooted there.
“In this time of despair we are experiencing in our world, I truly appreciate living and being a part of this neighborhood and the people that live here,” Beatty said.
“You cannot hide in Sparkman,” Barnett said. “It is a true community neighborhood. If you want an active neighborhood with friendly neighbors, look in Sparkman.”