Diversity is more than a buzz word in the Kings Highway neighborhood of North Oak Cliff. It’s a way of life that describes the people, the architecture, the vibe, and more than a century of cohesive imagination.
The early days of Kings Highway are reminiscent of a teenager trying to find himself. As the neighborhood that’s now bordered by Stewart Drive, Davis Street, Tyler Street, and Mary Cliff Road transitioned from 19th century cottonfields, it became the temporary home for future Winnetka Heights residents who were awaiting construction of their new homes.
The City of Dallas initially platted the holding-tank area as “Oak Cliff Annex,” and its first structures were apartment buildings constructed around 1910. At the eastern entrance where the trolley stopped, a brick archway provided the gateway to the neighborhood. Though the archway no longer stands, its welcoming message remains.
While temporary residents moved on after the completion of Winnetka Heights, single-family home development began welcoming a steady stream of buyers. The permanent, full-fledged neighborhood was rechristened Kings Highway after one of its major streets, and a diversified assortment of period architecture began taking shape. Despite the prevalence of 1920s Craftsman bungalows, other popular styles ranged from late Queen Anne and Tudor to Neoclassical and Prairie homes.
Today, Kings Highway may be one of the best-kept secrets in Dallas. In addition to beautifully restored one- and two-story homes, the neighborhood is a prime place to find raw historic houses that just need a little love and reimagination to capture the original charm. The takeaway is owning a striking historic home near the Bishop Arts District and downtown Dallas.
In 1988, a group of residents formed the Kings Highway Conservation District, which was the first conservation district in Dallas and only the second in Texas. Unlike historical districts that impose strict mandates on replicating architectural design and materials, the conservation district is more interested in saving old homes and preserving the historic integrity of the neighborhood through zoning and maintaining guidelines for renovations and replacements.
The district’s efforts are paying off. Six blocks along the street of Kings Highway is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, based on architectural significance between 1900 and 1949, and Kings Court Apartments on Kings Highway was designated a Dallas Landmark in 1992.