It’s hard to live in North Oak Cliff and not know about the stately white manse in Winnetka Heights that hosts the Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts. The Turner House, a beautiful modified Prairie Foursquare home built in 1912 for Winnetka Heights developer J.P. Blake, has become something of a cultural epicenter for North Oak Cliff, hosting all manner of artists, openings, and even private events. It was renamed “Turner House” in 2002 as an homage to the founder of the Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts, E.P. Turner.

However, no 100-plus-year-old home is exempt from the toll time takes, and Winnetka Heights‘ Turner House has been in various phases of repair over the last several weeks, with the porch roof receiving special attention during the reconstruction. To support the Turner House and the Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts, join Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans at Oak Cliff’s original High Caliber Home from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4, for a Derby Day celebration. 

Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans and friends

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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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Willomet

(Photo: Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association)

Winnetka Heights is a fabulous community that takes pride in the fact that it’s the oldest designated historic district in Oak Cliff, designated in 1981 and comprised of an amazing array of Prairie four-squares and Craftsman bungalows built in the early 1900s. Each year they put on a whimsical and fun home tour that really lights up the area.

This year they’re going a step further and hoping to bring some cheer to even more houses by photographing the front doors of wreath-bedecked homes in the neighborhood during the Dec. 7 home tour. The photographs will be made into a coffee table book that will be available for sale later. If you live in Winnetka Heights and want a stylish evergreen wreath of your own, find out how you can get a locally made one from Troy Lonion here.

If you want to see inside some of the amazing homes on this year’s tour, you can buy tickets for $12 each at Bishop Street Market inside the Bishop Arts District. Tickets are $15 on the day of the tour, and can be purchased at Turner House at the start of the tour. Turner House will also host a silent auction from noon to 6 p.m. during the tour, featuring items from Oak Cliff businesses and artists. Find out more about Turner House here.

Willomet

(Photo: Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association)

Winnetka Heights is a fabulous community that takes pride in the fact that it’s the oldest designated historic district in Oak Cliff, designated in 1981 and comprised of an amazing array of Prairie four-squares and Craftsman bungalows built in the early 1900s. Each year they put on a whimsical and fun home tour that really lights up the area.

This year they’re going a step further and hoping to bring some cheer to even more houses by photographing the front doors of wreath-bedecked homes in the neighborhood during the Dec. 7 home tour. The photographs will be made into a coffee table book that will be available for sale later. If you live in Winnetka Heights and want a stylish evergreen wreath of your own, find out how you can get a locally made one from Troy Lonion here.

If you want to see inside some of the amazing homes on this year’s tour, you can buy tickets for $12 each at Bishop Street Market inside the Bishop Arts District. Tickets are $15 on the day of the tour, and can be purchased at Turner House at the start of the tour. Turner House will also host a silent auction from noon to 6 p.m. during the tour, featuring items from Oak Cliff businesses and artists. Find out more about Turner House here.

The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League has announced the locations for its 2013 home tour, which benefits neighborhoods and nonprofits in the district.

The tour is one of the oldest of its kind in the city. This year, from noon to 6 p.m. on Oct. 12 and 13, visitors can view 12 homes from seven historic neighborhoods. The houses range from solid craftsman homes to stately colonials, post-modern ranches to stunning contemporaries.

“This year’s tour stretches from Kessler to Kiestwood and includes homes from the 1917 to 2007,” said OOCCL president Philip Leven. “We’re especially pleased to have a home in North Cliff which has not been represented on the Tour in several years, and a home in South Winnetka, which is a first-ever for that neighborhood.  Our goal is to showcase the quality and variety of the homes and the neighborhoods of Oak Cliff. You’ll see beautiful historic restoration, repurposed older structures, and sensitive new construction, in everything from a 1,600-square-foot bungalow to a 4,500-square-foot contemporary.”

The OCCL recently announced the beneficiaries of the 2012 home tour, which included neighborhood grants for street sign toppers, sidewalk improvements, school uniforms, crime watch signs, and murals. Oak Cliff nonprofits that received grants included Fort Worth Avenue Development Group for Western Heights Cemetery Maintenance, Hampton-Illinois Library Friends, the Turner House, Friends of Oak Cliff Parks and The Well Community.

Home tour tickets cost $25 for adults and $15 for seniors 60 and older on the day of the tour, and can be purchased at W. 7th Street and Bishop Ave in the Bishop Arts District. Discounted advance tickets ($20 adult and $12 senior) are available at Tom Thumb stores located at 315 South Hampton Road, 5809 East Lovers Ln., and 6333 E Mockingbird Ln. You can also buy tickets online at the OOCCL website.

Here are the homes in this year’s tour:

1347 Cedar Hill in East Kessler Park

1347 Cedar Hill in East Kessler Park

1645 Junior in East Kessler Park

1645 Junior in East Kessler Park

1811 Evergreen Hills in Kessler Park

1811 Evergreen Hills in Kessler Park

2916 W. Greenbriar in Kessler Park

2916 W. Greenbriar in Kessler Park

2526 W. Tenth in Kessler Plaza

2526 W. Tenth in Kessler Plaza

2450 Five Mile Circle in Kiestwood

2450 Five Mile Circle in Kiestwood

905 N. Montclair in Kings Hwy

905 N. Montclair in Kings Hwy

1325 Kings Hwy. in Kings Hwy.

1325 Kings Hwy. in Kings Hwy.

2847 Ivandell in North Cliff

2847 Ivandell in North Cliff

701 S. Clinton in South Winnetka

701 S. Clinton in South Winnetka

1910 Marydale in Stevens Park Estates

1910 Marydale in Stevens Park Estates

1939 W. Colorado in in Stevens Park Estates

1939 W. Colorado in Stevens Park Estates