Tennessee Dairy Wall

Tennessee Dairy Wall

Oak Cliff

A 640-acre dairy farm was established in Oak cliff in 1907 by Tennessean Lindsley Waters. He named it Tennessee Dairies, Inc. and even won “most sanitary dairy farm” at the 1908 State Fair. It was only the second local retail distributor of milk to deliver pasteurized milk in glass bottles. By 1917, the farm had 2,000 cows which supplied fresh milk to Dallas, Highland Park and Mount Auburn using twenty-six trucks and wagons. After a fire broke out in 1919, Waters relocated the operation to Crowdus Street near present-day Deep Ellum and sold the acreage to a real estate developer, Frank G. Jester, who in 1924 developed the residential addition of Elmwood. Tennessee Dairies merged with Foremost Dairies, Inc., in 1952.

Along South Edgefield Avenue between Elmhurst Place and Balboa Drive a small remnant of the stone perimeter fence from the dairy farm survives. The northern portion of the wall which protected part of the large farm is remarkably intact while the southern portion has been reduced to just a few inches. A middle portion is missing entirely, likely due to residential construction and exposure to the elements over the years. The wall crosses the western edge of seven residential properties.
While part of the dairy farm wall has survived for more than 110 years, another section is in danger of disappearing and a middle section has been removed entirely. Some property owners would like to see the wall stay while others are indifferent and some may not have the means to preserve the wall. The Elmwood Neighborhood Association is supportive of the wall staying and looking for ways to help property owners preserve it. The Elmwood Parkway, a greenbelt that is part of the Dallas park system is nearby and a historic marker or interpretive sign could help people understand more about this fascinating part of Oak Cliff’s early history.

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