The Bishop Arts District has a long and colorful history, some of which is still reflected in murals throughout the area. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

What a difference a century makes. Generations of real estate developers have banked on converting North Oak Cliff’s stunning countryside into the most affluent residential area of Dallas. After all, nothing said success more than a sweeping three-story Queen Anne mansion on a hill surrounded by limestone cliffs, natural springs, and lush native greenery.

In 1887, partners Thomas Marsalis and John Armstrong purchased 2,000 acres that were platted Dallas Land and Loan Additions #1, #2, and #3. Located on the western bank of the Trinity River, Marsalis and Armstrong planned the addition as the residential neighborhood for the incorporated city of Oak Cliff. Due to brisk land sales and hundreds of new Victorian homes, the population skyrocketed to 2,500 residents by 1890.

426 Melba Street is a listing from Dave Perry-Miller InTown.

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When the Margritzes moved to their Oak Cliff home, they thought it would be forever.

When Sandy Margritz left Little Rock, Arkansas, to move to Fort Worth to join her soon-to-be husband, Josh, she left a world behind. Not just the Ozarks and canopied treetops and mountains, she left an entire profession, too. She was an environmental scientist that traveled around after natural disasters to test water and soil and make sure it was safe for the locals and relief workers. She said, “I don’t know if this is interesting or not…” Hello? Of course, it is and what came next was just as fascinating.

She and her husband realized they both couldn’t travel like crazy – someone needed to call Texas home – so Sandy raised her hand. “I was a little burned out on travel, but I didn’t really have a clue what I wanted to do.” Then she told her husband, “Well, I really liked getting married, maybe I’ll do something with weddings?” She got a job with Boxwood Hospitality and that was that. Until it wasn’t.

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632 N. Manus Drive, Wynnewood North

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.

411 W. Clarendon Drive, Wynnewood North

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ElmwoodWe’ve written a lot about Elmwood — a great Oak Cliff neighborhood that’s having a bit of a resurgence thanks in part to its proximity to Bishop Arts District and its own small business district.

And despite the popularity of BAD, Elmwood is quite the force in and of itself, with about 1,373 houses and 4,426 residents, making it the most populated single-family home neighborhood in Oak Cliff.

Not ready to buy? That’s quite all right — we’ve found this adorable Elmwood Cottage that has been well-maintained and updated — the ordinary rental it is not. (more…)

Historic Apartment Building
832 Blaylock Drive
Circa 1917

Lake Cliff may have the most colorful history of any neighborhood in Oak Cliff. It was once part of the original township of Oak Cliff that Dallas annexed in 1901, and it has been the gateway to Oak Cliff since the 19th century.

Named after the small freshwater lake created by the exclusive Llewellyn Country Club in 1890, Lake Cliff was part of businessman T.L. Marsalis’ vision to transform Old Oak Cliff into the most affluent suburb of Dallas. In 1889, he built his private grand mansion at Colorado Boulevard and Marsalis Avenue, and a string of affluent buyers began building the following year.

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Going through it? Eager for a transformation? Then out with the old and in with the new! This North Oak Cliff stunner is sure to get you excited for your next chapter.

The spectacular, three-bedroom, two-full-bathroom contemporary is bursting with architectural interest, including a fabulous butterfly roof. Plus, it’s positioned in the desirable Wynnewood North enclave in North Oak Cliff. Here, you’ll live large in a stunning residence with soaring ceilings and tons of natural light.

Perfect For Downsizers

It’s perfect for anyone looking for a change, or metamorphosis, so to speak. Just ask listing agent Ric Shanahan with Keller Williams Urban Dallas. He says it’s perfect for “Downsizers who want a home in an established neighborhood. It’s close to the Dart Red Line at Tyler-Vernon and Tyler Station, and only one-and-a-half miles to Bishop Arts and five miles to Downtown.”

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3215 South Franklin Street — Circa 1955

If you long for a quiet, idyllic, Leave it to Beaver-style neighborhood, check out Kiestwood in Oak Cliff. Between hilly tree-lined streets, shaded front yards, and Midcentury upper-middle-class homes, you’ll expect to see Wally, the Beaver, and Eddie Haskell stroll down the sidewalk at any minute.

Built from 1950 to 1965 during the post-war building boom in North Texas, the neighborhood’s original subdivisions – Kiestwood Estates and Southwood Estates – were ideal for executives and managers in the nearby defense industry as well as downtown professionals who sought convenient access to the central business district.

3454 South Franklin Street — Circa 1958

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Oak CliffIf you’ve been saving with that idea that you want to quit renting and buy,  the Tuesday Two Hundred price point is a great one to kick off any search — and it’s where you’ll find houses like this great Craftsman in North Oak Cliff.

“Yes, it’s cute,” you may be thinking. “But North Oak Cliff is hot right now, and there is no way I can afford a house there.”

But if you’ve been saving with the idea of putting down 20 percent, you might be surprised. Let’s do the math: The average two-bedroom apartment is renting for $1,120 right now in Dallas, according to this recent report.

If you put 20 percent down, though, and have a decent credit score and find the right lender, you can potentially be looking at a monthly house payment of $1,245, give or take that credit score (we factored for a 4.2 percent rate) and other variables like property taxes and insurance. (more…)