By all accounts, life was a think tank for Angus Gilchrist Wynne, Jr., who surrounded himself with creative, like-minded individuals. Whether he was conceptualizing his iconic development of Six Flags Over Texas or the Wynnewood neighborhoods in Oak Cliff, he was a master at envisioning the marketable future.
“He was an [inventive] entrepreneur who created an environment to [brainstorm] what people wanted,” said Wynne Jr’s son and namesake, Angus Wynne III.
When World War II ended, Wynne Jr. knew exactly what returning veterans wanted.
After his own discharge from the U.S. Navy – where he added six service medals to his uniform from duty in Europe and Asia – he came home to Dallas and served as president of American Home Realty Company, a partnership that he and his uncle Toddie Lee Wynne Sr. owned. Other returning vets took advantage of government-funded new home loans.
The Wynnewood Neighborhood
Between the home buying frenzy and a massive number of vets returning to the Dallas area, North Texas became a hot spot for the post-war building boom. While some neighborhoods in Oak Cliff were already built-out, Wynnewood was just beginning.
American Home Realty owned 820 acres in Oak Cliff, just 10 minutes from the downtown Dallas Central Business District, which was a prime fit with the sudden housing demand. Through Wynne’s forward-thinking mind’s eye, he envisioned a development structure much like today’s master-planned communities that encompassed 2,200 new homes, 1,000 apartments, and a large shopping center at the core.
On May 3, 1946, a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News touted Wynnewood as a $25 million home building development that was “one-self-contained community”. In order to attract vets, affordable homes with modest floor plans started at $6,000.
“He developed homes to hit the government-allotted budget,” said Wynn III who was only four or five when he started visiting job sites with his dad three years later.
Wynne Jr.’s home building philosophy was also in stark contrast to cookie-cutter neighborhoods going up around Dallas and the suburbs. Despite the price point of the homes, his principles centered on mass production and individual style. By 1954, the main Wynnewood neighborhood was built-out.
Homes in this middle-to-upper-income neighborhood topped out at around $20,000 when they were built in the 1950s. In addition to a handful of two-story Colonial houses, the rambling ranch-style custom homes offer a mix of traditional, western, and contemporary design. Interiors are characterized by large formal rooms, spacious kitchens, plaster molding, and colorful tile bathrooms.
Nature plays a pivotal role on each lot. Besides creeks and lakes throughout the neighborhood, the hilly terrain and shaded yards provide the perfect space for large outdoor living areas.
Wynnewood Village Shopping Center
Founded by Wynne Jr. in 1948, Wynnewood Village is one of the oldest shopping centers in Dallas. During its heyday – major tenants were Titches, Margo La Mode, and Colbert’s, as well as a movie theater, department stores, banks, and a small hotel. Lilly Dodson launched her dress shop brand at Wynnewood Village.
The present owner, New York-based Brixmore Property Group, is currently sinking $21 million into a 21st century redo with LA Fitness and a high-end megaplex movie theater as the new anchors.