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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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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906 S. Marlborough Ave.
Circa 1924

Sunset Hill Addition may have been the last thing John Merrifield wanted to crop up on his circa 1843 farm. A telling indication was the purchase he made of another 1,000 acres before his death in 1873, which helped prevent encroachment from the new Hord’s Ridge development near the farm’s eastern side.

Nevertheless, progress eventually had its way. Although Merrifield’s son also expanded the farm, his grandchildren divided it, and by the 1890s, new home development was underway. Mirrored by the success of Thomas Marsalis’ Oak Cliff subdivision, affluent buyers started flocking to Sunset Hill to buy lots and build large homes.

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2328 W. Colorado Blvd. Circa 1941

Stevens Park Village may be nestled off-the-beaten-path between Colorado Boulevard and the edge of North Oak Cliff, but the amazing Dallas skyline is in plain sight from hilltops in the hidden neighborhood. That’s one of the many advantages that villagers enjoy.

The location, just a stone’s throw from Interstate 30 and downtown, is another one. Residents have easy access to the central business district, urban sprawl, and all-things Dallas along with the comfort of coming home to a quiet neighborhood with plenty of village feel.

2107 Barberry Drive Circa 1941

Unlike some historic North Oak Cliff neighborhoods that date back to the 19th century, Stevens Park Village is more of a vintage village. While homes on five of its streets were constructed from 1939 to 1941, houses on the remaining three streets are Midcentury architecture straight out of the 1950s.

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Jenni Stolarski with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty is marketing this adorable Hampton Hills home at 1426 S. Montreal for $329,000.

Hampton Hills is still living up to its 1924 branding campaign. When developer Alf W. Sanders kicked off his new home building venture 95 years ago, he ran an ad in the Dallas Morning News touting the small neighborhood “Oak Cliff’s Ideal Home Place.” His slogan not only attracted the middle management and tradesmen market that sought easy streetcar access to downtown jobs, but it also set the neighborhood vibe in stone for decades to come.

Besides convenient transportation, Sanders’ selling points ranged from permanently paved streets, water, gas, electricity, and sewer lines to well-drained higher ground, terraced lots, impressive views, and nearby schools.

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This split-level at 2810 W. 9th Street is inside the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Oak Cliff.

You won’t find Rodeo Drive in Dallas’ Beverly Hills, but you will find a storied, deep-rooted neighborhood built by pure grit and generations of human spirit.

According to Heritage Oak Cliff, though Beverly Hills is now part of historic Oak Cliff, it began in the mid-19th century as a small dairy farming community on part of the McCoombs and McCracken Surveys outside the city of Oak Cliff. But its history stretches across the Trinity River.

In 1855, a group of immigrants from Switzerland, Belgium, and mostly France – called the European and American Society of Colonization to Texas – purchased 640 acres of former Peters Colony land for their Utopian settlement, La Reunion, where they had the freedom to pursue their political beliefs.

Coombs Creek cuts through the center of the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Oak Cliff.

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Kings Highway started as a holding tank of a neighborhood as new Oak Cliff residents waited for their Winnetka Heights homes to be completed. The area has since found a flavor all its own.

Diversity is more than a buzz word in the Kings Highway neighborhood of North Oak Cliff. It’s a way of life that describes the people, the architecture, the vibe, and more than a century of cohesive imagination.

The early days of Kings Highway are reminiscent of a teenager trying to find himself. As the neighborhood that’s now bordered by Stewart Drive, Davis Street, Tyler Street, and Mary Cliff Road transitioned from 19th century cottonfields, it became the temporary home for future Winnetka Heights residents who were awaiting construction of their new homes.

The City of Dallas initially platted the holding-tank area as “Oak Cliff Annex,” and its first structures were apartment buildings constructed around 1910. At the eastern entrance where the trolley stopped, a brick archway provided the gateway to the neighborhood. Though the archway no longer stands, its welcoming message remains.

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