North Oak Cliff’s Winnetka Heights is one of Dallas’ most popular front-porch communities, with street after street filled with Craftsman-style and Prairie-style homes that offer a friendly, shaded spot facing the tree-lined avenues. These porches are the perfect place to while away a warm afternoon with neighbors over conversation and cold beverages. 

Though some structures in the Winnetka Heights Historic District still require some significant help, this new listing from Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate’s Cynthia Paine-Drennan is a gorgeous, move-in ready Prairie-style home with a fabulous front porch, gracious interiors, and a backyard for everyone. It’s beyond worthy of the High Caliber Home of the Week title presented by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans.

The spacious front porch of 326 S. Edgefield Ave. is just begging for a cold glass of whatever whets your whistle and a conversation with neighbors. I’m sure the sellers got their mileage out of it when the power went out in Dallas recently, as it’s the perfect spot for catching up with neighbors and catching a cool breeze between dragging limbs from neighbors yards to the curbs. And it’s also a great bit of foreshadowing, as the attention to detail continues inside this Winnetka Heights home.

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When the Margritzes moved to their Oak Cliff home, they thought it would be forever.

When Sandy Margritz left Little Rock, Arkansas, to move to Fort Worth to join her soon-to-be husband, Josh, she left a world behind. Not just the Ozarks and canopied treetops and mountains, she left an entire profession, too. She was an environmental scientist that traveled around after natural disasters to test water and soil and make sure it was safe for the locals and relief workers. She said, “I don’t know if this is interesting or not…” Hello? Of course, it is and what came next was just as fascinating.

She and her husband realized they both couldn’t travel like crazy – someone needed to call Texas home – so Sandy raised her hand. “I was a little burned out on travel, but I didn’t really have a clue what I wanted to do.” Then she told her husband, “Well, I really liked getting married, maybe I’ll do something with weddings?” She got a job with Boxwood Hospitality and that was that. Until it wasn’t.

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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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Our Steal: Jill Russell with Ebby Halliday Realtors has listed 627 Woolsey Drive for $400,000.

For those who want something haute and historic, this week’s Splurge vs. Steal is for you. We located two historic Oak Cliff beauties that are perfectly priced and both have interiors that are hot, hot, hot! The only difference? Exactly $99K stands between the two. Which is more you, the Craftsman cutie Splurge or the single-story Steal? The choice is all yours.

Splurge: Winnetka Heights Craftsman Cutie For $499K

Who doesn’t appreciate the delightful nature of a Craftsman done right? This one, built in 1925 in Oak Cliff, is filled with charm, plus updates for modern-day. And you know we are suckers for a large wrap-around front porch! There are fabulous classic touches, from plantation shutter windows to an elegant archway that transitions from room to room.

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When I first fell in love with Winnetka Heights, I had those ambitious stars in my eyes about historic homes. You know the feeling, like you could transform a 100-year-old house into the stylish, cozy setting for the rest of your life. Today, I am tired. Really, really tired. I no longer have stars in my eyes, and my son has drained any energy and patience I could have spent on a long-term, romantic room-by-room historic renovation. However, I still love Winnetka Heights and its beautiful streets and undeniably charming character. 

Enter this listing from Compass Dallas agent Phillip Murrell. 

“It’s such a rare opportunity to find newer construction in such a popular historic district like Winnetka Heights,” Murrell said of our High Caliber Home of the Week presented by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans. The house, though less than five years old, blends well into the historic fabric of the neighborhood with its large front porch and Craftsman touches. But the respect for the neighborhood from both the builder and the sellers goes much deeper than that, Murrell noted.

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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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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…)