Casa View Oaks

In 1954, real estate developer H. Leslie Hill built 200 Ranch style houses in an addition on the east side of White Rock Lake called Casa View Oaks. The neighborhood is roughly bounded by Gus Thomason on the north, Buckner Boulevard on the south, Ferguson Road on the west and Shiloh Road on the east.

In the period following World War II, America was enjoying an economic and population boom. Comfortable, affordable housing was in great demand and developers like Leslie Hill filled that need. Houses in Casa View Oaks ranged in size from 836 square feet, which included two bedrooms and one bath, to 3600 square feet houses with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Prices started at $12,000 and went up to $16,500.

Casa View Oaks boasts the largest collection of Cliff May designed houses in Dallas. May, a significant American designer during the post war building boom, was considered the father of the California Ranch house. His designs received national attention and appeared on the cover of every major house magazine of the day. The mass appeal of the Ranch house led May and his partner, Chris Choate, to design a smaller, more modest version for distribution on a national scale. The houses were constructed from pre-fabricated modular panels, a revolutionary new building concept in which every part of the house was standardized and precut. Local builders were able to purchase Cliff May franchises, supplying them with house plans and the prefabricated modular panels, numbered and stamped with May and Choate’s names. Over 18,000 May plans were sold to local builders from around the country. Forty of those were constructed in Casa View Oaks.

Houses in Casa View Oaks are representative of May’s signature design: an open floor plan with an abundance of space and light beneath a low-pitched gable roof. Large expanses of glass—in both windows and doors—were used to create an open feeling and ease in circulation. Outdoor living was encouraged by the incorporation of patios and barbeque and picnic areas, in many cases doubling the “living space” of each house.

One of the selling points of the new May houses in Casa View was their modern conveniences, including disposals, built in ranges, a touch-plate lighting wall and radios with speakers throughout the house.

In 1955, developers Neece and Mahaffey-Wagner built 117 houses in Casa View; Hallmark Homes added an additional 96 houses in 1956.

Authors: Debby Lacy and Leslie T. Carey
Photographs: Debby Lacy

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