Lancaster

Photo courtesy City of Lancaster

Lancaster Mayor Clyde Hairston is darn near poetic about the city he’s called home for more than three decades, and he’s not shy at all about telling people how great the city is.

Lancaster Mayor Clyde Hairston (Photo by Bethany Erickson)

“Neighbors know each other,” he said at a recent gathering of local business leaders, city leaders, and press. “It’s a special place that I’ve called home for more than 30 years.”

“We are the shining star in Texas, located in a golden box, and there are golden opportunities here in Lancaster.”

That “golden box” Hairston is referring to is Lancaster’s geographic location — bordered by I-20, I-45, I-35, and Loop 9, the city is geographically primed to be a key location for businesses and homebuyers looking for a shorter commute to downtown alike.

And with that location, community leaders are ready to tout the 15-minute commute to downtown, the good schools, and the affordable real estate, as well as its family-friendly parks and recreation, which includes a 170-acre community park with a 6-acre pond and fishing pier, walking trails, waterside amphitheater, youth football and soccer fields, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, and the Royce Clayton/Texas Rangers Youth Ballpark with a covered grandstand for 500 spectators.

And that’s not even counting the indoor water park with lazy river, lap pool, party area, double loop water slide, and more.

Why move to Lancaster? Hairston names off the community’s accolades — its been recognized by Scenic City, Tree City USA,  and Playful City USA. And in 2019, Lancaster was named an “All-American City” by the National Civic League, joining only 29 communities in Texas that have gotten the nod since the award was first doled out in 1949.

And the heart of Lancaster remains — despite a tornado in 1994 that wrought so much destruction — its historic downtown square, dotted with city offices and businesses new and old (including Lovin’ Oven Bakery, which has been around for 40 years).

Photo courtesy City of Lancaster

Hairston also took the opportunity to crow about Lancaster ISD’s Texas Education Agency rankings, which were released just last week. The district earned a B grade, but even better, Hairston said, was the phone call he got the night before.

“The superintendent told me that Lancaster was the most improved school district in all of Dallas County,” he said, beaming. “That’s just awesome.” (more…)

Hollywood Heights

This home at 903 Valencia is a perfect example of a Hollywood Heights stone-embellished Tudor. (Photo: Kim Leeson)

When I started looking for a home as a newlywed in 1990, my British husband was traveling for work in Europe. He said, “Dahling, just find something as close to a thatched cottage as possible.” Little did he suspect that in bright, shiny new-build Dallas, I’d do just that. I found a charming little bungalow that was just perfect for building my nest, lodging my revolving door of rescue pups, and eventually raising my son.

I also found a lot more in this eclectic East Dallas Conservation District.

I found great neighbors, and the sort of unity I’ve only experienced growing up on military bases around the world. When we lost power recently, my next-door neighbors, who are on a different grid, let us run an extension cord from their home so we could get on the internet. A few years ago, when our internet went out, my other next door neighbor gave me her password so I could continue writing.

When I moved into Hollywood Heights, one neighbor was approaching 90. She was the original homeowner of the first spec home in the neighborhood. Most of my neighbors were well past retirement age. They looked out for us young’uns, and now 29 years later, my generation is doing the same for the incoming batch of newbies.

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5510 Merrimac Avenue Circa 1926

Greenland Hills is one historic Dallas neighborhood that seemingly has it all. Besides the popular M Streets and stunning collection of Tudors, it’s alive with an eclectic – and electric – vibe all its own. That feel is perhaps what defines the neighborhood most.

The Neighborhood Evolution

From the beginning, Greenland Hills danced to its own drummer. According to the Greenland Hills Neighborhood Association , the adjacent Vickery Place and Belmont neighborhoods built in phases, beginning with larger homes and graduating to smaller houses. In contrast, the entire Greenland Hills neighborhood was built simultaneously.

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4912 Worth Street

There are historic neighborhoods in Dallas. Then there is Munger Place.

Wealthy cotton gin manufacturer Robert S. Munger and his brother, Collett, used all the developmental strategies when planning their 300-acre namesake neighborhood Munger Place. They implemented deed restrictions to attract the most elite homebuyers. They offered all the bells and whistles in infrastructure, such as paved streets, sidewalks, and shade trees as well as gas mains, sewers, and electric street lights.

4929 Worth Street

From the location, location, location standpoint, Munger Place was situated in Old East Dallas – just minutes from downtown. While the brothers covered all the bases of developing a modern upscale neighborhood, they did so with one big difference: circa 1905.

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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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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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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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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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