Elmwood is located in Oak Cliff, six miles south of downtown Dallas and is an example of a development that is made up of a series of additions spanning four decades. Elmwood boasts a diverse range of architectural styles. These houses are set among mature trees making it a neighborhood of contrast and also of scenic beauty that includes Elmwood Parkway. This parkway, which runs along Rugged Street, is a scenic picture for houses built on this green strip. It is bounded on the north by DART Red Line, on the south by Illinois Avenue, on the east by Polk Street and on the west by Hampton Road.
Elmwood began as a 640-acre Tennessee Dairy Farm founded by Lindsley Waters. One of the last remnants of the original farm is a piece of stonewall located on Edgefield Avenue. By 1918, the dairy farm was placed in the hands of his cousin and bought by the 2nd National Bank.
The premature development of Elmwood began during city improvements for Oak Cliff. After the Trinity Flood in 1908, Dallas generated a committee under the direction of Lindsley to distribute relief to the local community and develop Dallas into an attractive city. In 1924 the farm was bought by another bank that constructed the original plat for the Elmwood Addition. Real estate broker, Frank Jester, developed Elmwood’s first addition.
Elmwood’s progress would fluctuate throughout the four decades of its development, meeting high and low construction in the pre-war and post-war years of World War II. Thirty-seven houses were constructed in the first two years of planning and only 52 houses were constructed during the years of the depression. National Folk and period revival styles were common during the pre-war years. Minimal Traditional and Ranch houses lined the streets of Elmwood in the post-war years. Cottages boast brick exteriors with decorative stone details, while Ranch-style houses on the west side of Elmwood Creek generally are constructed of wood, limestone or brick. Craftsman Bungalows constructed during the 1930s and 1940s also add to the mixture of styles.
In the middle of Elmwood is the unique commercial development Edgefield Avenue, a business district that includes offices, churches, and a Masonic Hall. It also has two DART rail stations with access to the freeway. Elmwood Park, which runs north on Cedar Creek and south on Elmwood Creek, is a pleasant neighborhood with its pecan, oak, elm, and hackberry trees. Elmwood may seem to be a quiet neighborhood far from the city, but the northeast view reveals a close Dallas skyline.
Preservation Dallas. Elmwood Neighborhood Survey. Dallas: May 2006.
Mole, Edwin. Elmwood Addition: Ninety five years of History. Dallas. Preservation Dallas: May 2006.
Historic Preservation League. A Guide to Older Neighborhoods of Dallas. June 2006. USA print: 1986.
“Dallas Dairies,” by Howard Cox, Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 21,
Number 2, Fall 2009, page 16.
Author: Laura Flores
Edited: Michael Hazel
Photographs by: Laura Flores