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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The historic Winnetka Heights neighborhood in North Oak Cliff had a big win this Wednesday at City Hall. The city’s thoroughfare plan was amended to take away the 12th St. Connector, knitting the neighborhood back together with parks and open space. It was a change 40 years in the making, with some of the original residents still part of the fight.

When cars became big in Oak Cliff and everywhere else, Tyler and Polk streets were made into a one-way couplet, and this connector, installed in 1967, allowed northbound traffic to reach West Jefferson Road by skipping the Jefferson St commercial core. More importantly it has allowed first responders (located at Polk and 12th streets) to access the neighborhood to the north more quickly.

The election of Dallas City Council member and mayoral hopeful Scott Griggs to the District 1 seat in 2011 is a big reason we’re seeing this change.

“The project got legs when Scott joined council” says Lee Ruiz, president of the Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association. “He understands the new urbanist feel of how neighborhoods should be.”

Conversations began with City of Dallas staff and elected officials in 1981 when the neighborhood association formed and work began to dedicate the area as a Conservation District. But the project wasn’t a priority.

“Our neighborhood is known for its tenaciousness,” says Ruiz. (more…)

Still in a food coma from your Thanksgiving feast? Don’t fret! We have loads of new listings for you to peruse, including this Winnetka Heights Prairie-style in North Oak Cliff that is sure to perk you up.

With three bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and a spacious 2,636 square feet, there’s a lot to love in this traditional Dallas Prairie-style home.

First off, this Friday Five Hundred is located in a great North Oak Cliff neighborhood — Winnetka Heights — which is known for its head-turning historic homes. This one sits at 121 S. Montclair Avenue and was built in 1927.

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Prairie-Style

If you’ve ever wondered why Winnetka Heights is so popular, making a visit to the neighborhood around Halloween will make you a believer. “I remember when I first moved in my Winnetka Heights home, I thought a couple of bags of candy would cut it,” said Compass agent Crystal Gonzalez. “I was so wrong and racing to get more candy by 6 p.m.”

Gonzalez is the listing agent of our High Caliber Home of the Week presented by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans. Peters, who is well established in North Oak Cliff, hails Winnetka Heights as the epicenter for the area’s Halloween festivities. Not only that, our High Caliber Home of the Week is in a heck of a location for those who wish to get their trick-or-treat on.

“This is one of the best streets!” Gonzalez said about her listing at 222 N. Edgefield in Winnetka Heights. “Halloween is truly a special tradition in not only Winnetka Heights, but Oak Cliff. Several of the residents decorate their homes and it’s not limited to one neighborhood or street.”

If you’re one to carve jack-o-lanterns, this is a great spot to showcase your talent. 

“Winnetka Heights is known for its front porches, and this one is huge,” Gonzalez added. “Everyone I know that lives in this neighborhood uses their front porch as much as any room in the house, especially in this fall weather! Yes you can even watch a cool storm from your covered porch.”

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211 S Windomere Avenue, Dallas, Texas, is currently listed by Diane Sherman and Vinnie Sherman of David Griffin & Company Realtors for $449,500. Open House this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Dallas preservationists take note — an incredible three-bedroom, two-full-bathroom Craftsman circa 1911 was just listed in Winnetka Heights for $449,500! Sited on a rare, interior full lot, with an extra half lot, the home affords an idyllic location on a premier block and is chock full of original architectural details.

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Now, don’t get me wrong — I do love the charming painted wood siding, columns, and porches of the beautiful historic homes of Winnetka Heights — but when you see as much real estate as I do, you know that judging one of these homes by curb appeal alone is like ordering a steak from the picture of the cow it came from.

And again — don’t get me wrong — I love steak. But not all Winnetka Heights homes have beautiful interiors and great finish-out, just like not every good-looking cow is going to turn into a great steak. That’s one of the main reasons why this gorgeously renovated Winnetka Heights Historic District home is our High Caliber Home of the Week presented by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans

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One of the bathrooms in 123 S. Winnetka when the Calhouns purchased it in 1978. (Courtesy Photo)

[Editor’s note: Merry Christmas! This week, we’re taking time off to focus on our loved ones, so we are sharing some of our favorite stories from this year. Keep an eye out for our top features from the archives as we rest and get ready for a brilliant 2018! Cheers, from Candy and the entire staff at CandysDirt.com!]

From Joanna England: Just about every home we cover here on CandysDirt.com has a story, and just like the houses, no two are alike. What I’m particularly drawn to is a story about rebirth — about taking a neglected home and restoring it to the condition it deserves. This particular story was made even more interesting by the anecdotes offered by the Realtor, Diane Sherman, who is an expert in historic homes. She marketed this house, which was listed by the very couple who brought 123 S. Winnetka back to life.


If you read our Thursday Three Hundred yesterday, you know that love stories are our thing. Well, here’s another one, but this time it’s a two-story Foursquare in Winnetka Heights. This home was in desperate need of some love when Jim and Kathy Calhoun purchased 123 S. Winnetka in 1978. “This is a labor-of-love, come-a-long-way, urban-pioneer story,” says listing agent and fellow Winnetka Heights resident Diane Sherman, who has listed this fully restored beauty for $539,500. “The wallpaper was wild!”

I can see what she means. Of course, the transformation will astound you!

123 S. Winnetka had been converted to a duplex when Jim and Kathy Calhoun purchased the 1913-built Foursquare in 1978. (Courtesy Photo)

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Winnetka Heights Bungalow

There’s nothing quite like a well-done Craftsman home. This architectural style, popularized around the turn of the century as an act of rebellion against industrialization, emphasizes the handiwork best produced by skilled tradesmen — thus dubbed “Arts & Crafts” or “American Arts” by many practitioners. Handmade details of wood and stone are profligate in these homes, and the style itself has a uniquely American cachet, coming in a close second to Colonial Revival as a trademark of our nation’s architectural heritage.

And from the street, this gorgeous Winnetka Heights bungalow in one of North Oak Cliff‘s most popular neighborhoods is all tradition and history. Inside, however, the sellers have put a little glam spin on traditional Arts & Crafts style. Listed by Crystal Gonzalez of David Griffin & Company Realtors, it’s easy to see why it’s our High Caliber Home of the Week presented by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans. 

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