Lakewood is one of the hottest neighborhoods in Dallas, where home values have held strong and may even be climbing upwards.

Lakewood is a beautiful community, but its the area’s great schools that draw buyers, like Mockingbird Elementary, Blue-Ribbon School Lakewood Elementary, J.L. Long Midde School, and Woodrow Wilson High School.

Story: Lakewood was once part of the separate town of East Dallas that was annexed into Dallas in 1890, and the community was formed about 10 years after the city began creating White Rock Lake, (initially as a water supply source) in 1910. The area was named after the lake, as was Lake Highlands to its north, as it hugs the western edge.

Most of Lakewood was built during the 1920′s, when Dr. W.F. Pearson, who owned a 184-acre tract around the Lakewood Country Club — the city’s second oldest chartered country club — sold the land to developers Albert Dines and Lee R. Kraft. Dines & Kraft were told to do it right, and they did: many of the “Dines & Kraft” homes built in the 1920′s are standing strong today.

These are true Lakewood neighborhoods: Country Club Estates, Westlake Park, and Gastonwood, and they are loaded with homes by Charles Dilbeck, O’Neil Ford, Arch Swank, David Williams, and Donald Barthelme, which gives the area that wonderful mix of style. You get everything from Prairie-Four Squares, English Tudors, and Colonial Revival to French and Spanish Eclectic styles. There are also many early ranch homes, many built of native Austin stone. My favorite street in Dallas is Tokalon, which meanders down to the lake as beautifully as it curves, and don’t get me started on the hills!

Besides great public schools, Lakewood has trendy shops, bars, and restaurants: Mi Cocina is moving in next to the landmark 1938 Lakewood Theater, designed by architect John Eberson and accented by a 100-foot, red, green, and blue Art Deco tower. There’s Penne Pomodoro, Times Ten Cellars, Whole Foods, and everything else you could desire.

Many people get starter homes in the peripheral areas like Lochwood, Caruth Terrace, Hollywood Heights, or the M Streets and then move into to Lakewood when they can. It’s close in, you’ve got the lake, country club, and great schools.  It’s Austin in Dallas, said Dave Perry Miller agent Chris Hickman.

Boundaries: Lakewood, as the name suggests, surrounds White Rock Lake, and is bounded by La Vista on the southwest, Abrams Road on the west, Mockingbird Lane on the northwest, Buckner Boulevard on the northeast, and Garland Road on the southeast. As with most popular neighborhoods, people sometimes extend the boundaries when referring to one of Lakewood’s many peripheral areas.

Population: About 36,000 people live in Lakewood (75214).

Why We Love It: Lakewood feels like an intimate enclave, and the fact that it hugs Dallas’ Crown Jewel, White Rock Lake, makes it even more attractive. There’s something for everyone in Lakewood, too, from estates, luxurious layouts, condos with a view, to petite starter homes for couples and young families. Lakewood is a nature-lover’s dream, with plenty of room to find your perfect outdoor experience. And with the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA and Lakewood Neighborhood Association, you’ll find plenty of great neighbors and friends.

Getting Out & About: White Rock Lake Park and Dog Park, Lakewood Shopping Center, Dallas Arboretum

Stats: The median age of Lakewood residents is 36.5 years, and the average estimated house/condo value in the area is $282,129. But most homes are about $500,000. Pricing held very strong during the real estate bust. Almost three quarters of Lakewood is Caucasian, and the average adjusted gross income of Lakewood residents is more than $80,000.