If you aren’t familiar with the El Tivoli Place neighborhood, you’re not alone. Touted as a hidden North Oak Cliff treasure, the neighborhood epitomizes the saying that “big things come in small packages.”
El Tivoli Place is big on beauty, charm, life, and style. Despite its proximity to downtown Dallas, the neighborhood maintains a quiet, serene vibe characterized by rolling hills, creeks, winding streets, and old-growth trees. And the history of El Tivoli Place is every bit as colorful as the tapestry of native spring flowers growing throughout the area.
The residential neighborhood primarily began at the end of World War II when developers started building new homes in El Tivoli Place to accommodate the influx of Navy personnel transferring to Naval Air Station Dallas in Grand Prairie. But land usage changed dramatically in the century that led up to homebuilding.
The El Tivoli site was originally part of 640 acres of Peters Colony land that the State of Texas granted to Anson McCracken in 1850. Five years later, he and his wife sold the land, which was mostly located in the adjacent Beverly Hills neighborhood, to the European and American Society of Colonization to Texas for a French settlement called La Reunion.
Since the group mostly contained artisans, aristocrats, physicians, and just a handful of European farmers, they were ill-equipped for farming in the harsh Texas conditions. Within 18 months, settlers gave up, abandoned La Reunion, and went their separate ways.
Botanist Julien Reverchon – whose namesake is Reverchon Park in Dallas – arrived from Europe too late to save La Reunion, but he ultimately purchased his own land in what is now the residential addition in El Tivoli Place. And that’s where he became prominent in native flora.
The land later became a dairy farm. In the 1900s, the Catholic Diocese purchased the land and opened El Tivoli Country Club and Golf Course, and that’s where the El Tivoli Place neighborhood got its name. Though the facilities closed during Prohibition, a historical marker near the sixth hole of Stevens Golf Course identifies the area.