Winnetka Heights is the second-largest historic district in the city of Dallas. (Photos: Joe Horner/Scout DFW)

By Deb R. Brimer
Contributing Writer

Winnetka Heights has the look and feel of a modern Rockwell-esque painting. Today’s canvas reveals stunning historic style, native North Oak Cliff beauty, and the vibrancy of a culturally diverse, urban neighborhood. But the picture wasn’t always pretty.

Some people make history. Others preserve it.

Formerly the Winnetka Heights Baptist Church, this historic sanctuary now hosts arts events and education.

According to the Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association (WHNA), the neighborhood dates back to 1890 when it was part of the City of Oak Cliff’s Midway Addition. Seven years after annexing Oak Cliff in 1901, the City of Dallas replatted the 50-square-mile area as Winnetka Heights.

Four prominent Dallas investors – Leslie Stemmons, J.P. Blake, R.S. Waldron, and T.S. Miller Jr. – made history by developing and marketing sprawling homesites to affluent buyers. While most things in 1911 were archaic compared to today’s standards – the adage of location, location, location wasn’t one of them.

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Melba Bishop Arts Village

Buying this three-bedroom, three-bath townhome in Bishop Arts would be like buying right next to West Village 20 years ago as it was being built. Literally right next to one of the best burgeoning developments in the Metroplex and walking distance to food, drinks, and shopping. Joe Atkins Realty in Bishop Arts brings us this Saturday Six Hundred at 410 Melba Street, where multiple units are available ranging from $599,999 to $649,999 for a window-filled corner unit.

Open House Alert! | Check out this townhome 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27 at 410 Melba Street, Dallas

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Vance Wampler of Real Estate Reformation has listed 828 Melba Street for $455,000. (Photos: Scott Endersby/Endersby Photography)

You won’t believe what you get for the price in this updated Bishop Arts beauty! We spoke to the owner Daniel Alvarado, an agent at Real Estate Reformation, who rehabbed the home himself. He tells us: “This home is perfect for the first-time or experienced home buyer looking for that Bishop Arts experience!”

The three-bedroom, two-full-and-one-half-bathroom home in a fantastic Oak Cliff area is turning heads for its meticulous renovation, location, and unbeatable price. It just hit the market for $455,000!

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422 N. Marlborough Avenue, Dallas, Texas is listed by Alex Prins of Alex Prins Real Estate for $439,000.

Meet “The Bishop,” a hot new listing that real estate agent Alex Prins calls a “nightmare project turned into a dream from heaven!” Prins, of Alex Prins Real Estate, tells us the duplex near the heart of Bishop Arts District, has been abandoned for years, wrapped up in courts, fought over with architecture plans, had contractors quitting, and so much more. But now it has finally hit the market with new juju and a spectacular price. Where else can you get a meticulously updated, three-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex close to all things Bishop Arts for $439,000? Read on as we dish the dirt on this week’s Friday Four Hundred – a fantastic Dallas offering and real estate story you can’t afford to miss!

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Our Steal: 720 Elsbeth Street is listed by Shana Acquisto of Acquisto Real Estate for $450,000.

This week we take you to Oak Cliff, one of Dallas’ most vibrant and desirable areas. Whether it’s convenient access to the trendy Bishop Arts District or lush parks and golf you’re after, Oak Cliff is a place where people go to thrive. And this tight-knit Dallas enclave makes for one fantastic Splurge vs. Steal. Here we demonstrate the neighborhood’s versatility by showcasing two outstanding Oak Cliff properties. Each have great locations and floor plans, but price points that are miles apart. Which one would you choose? The Kensington Lane Splurge or the Elsbeth Street Steal? We would love to hear in the comments.

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1106 N. Edgefield Avenue, Dallas, Texas, is currently listed by Michael Brink and Jeff Hickey of Keller Williams Urban Dallas for $520,000.

Feast your eyes on this impressive Dallas Tudor with a backstory you won’t believe! Ideally situated on an elevated Kessler Square lot near the trendy Bishop Arts District sits this immaculate Tudor gem. It was relocated from its original Park Cities location to its current address back in the 80s, and still rests in the Kessler Square neighborhood in North Oak Cliff we know and love today. Clearly someone adored this home. So much so, they went through the trouble of moving it! Take one glance at the photos, and you’ll see why.

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midcentury

It is no secret that midcentury modern homes fetch more eyeballs, interest and buyers these days. Discriminating lovers of well-maintained and lovingly updated midcentury moderns are familiar with the name William E. Benson — his name became synonymous with significant Dallas architecture in the fifties and sixties. Truthfully, owning a home with a William  E. Benson signature would be a coup in any city.

Benson, who graduated from the University of Illinois in 1947 after a year of graduate work in design, moved to Dallas and hung up his shingle in 1952, quickly making a name for himself. Another home designed by Benson, in collaboration with interior designer Louise Kahn, is 5848 Colhurst. The home is well known as one of the most significant midcentury modern homes in Dallas.

Congruently, during a period of rapid church expansion, Benson designed nearly fifty church projects, from master plans and first units to complete sanctuaries.

And now, the luck of market is upon us. A Bishop Arts District abode Benson designed — 524 N. Manus Drive — has just been listed with Suzanne Warner of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury. Even more, the home has been updated to perfection with a serious effort to maintain Benson’s original midcentury modern aesthetic. Built in 1952, 524 N. Manus Drive home was constructed by a Dallas custom builder who hired personally Benson to design his own private home.

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This is about to become a common sight in our beloved Bishop Arts District neighborhood. In fact this sight is just off Bishop, across from the Laughing Willow. There are demo’d vacant lots in the middle of neighborhoods all over North Oak Cliff’s most popular entertainment district. I’ve found three new ones within the last week. Here’s the skinny on the last 10 projects under construction now, for a grand total of 27 individual projects.

“How did this happen?” you might ask. Perhaps it was the local option election that made North Oak Cliff “wet” in 2010? Or the nearby Trinity Groves’ explosion into Dallas’ culinary scene? Or Bishop Arts’ own explosion onto the ‘great neighborhood’ scene? Maybe the Bishop/Davis Rezoning Plan in 2010 or the Oak Cliff Gateway zoning changes in 2014 (and then updated in 2015)? Or did it all start in 2002 with the Bishop Street reconstruction? Maybe it’s a bit of all of this — and great neighbors who throw great, big annual events. For sure, that.

Your favorite restaurants and shops need your support more than ever before — with all the construction, sales are down about 30 percent across the board.  Seventeen (and counting) separate construction sites are underway within a half-mile of the district! From now on you need to make weekly trips — to gauge progress on these, have a bite to eat, and find something you can’t live without. There are some GREAT new shops opening too — ALL owned by Dallas and Oak Cliff locals. Legit.

Click to enlarge

In Part 1 we covered the big development projects under construction immediately around the Bishop Arts District (projects numbered 1-8 on the map.) Part 2 covered the projects mostly west of Bishop Arts (projects 9-16.) Here are projects numbered 17-26 below. (Yes! 26! Though more like 28 actually….) Note that project numbers correspond to the map above.

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