The historic district of King’s Highway located in North Oak Cliff was originally constructed as temporary apartment housing for Winnetka Heights in 1910. Today this neighborhood, unique for its unusual diagonal plat between Davis Street and Montclair, boasts the first conservation district in Dallas and remains a neighborhood of overall historic integrity. This scenic six-block residential street, with raised land elevation and a uniformed landscape, is bounded by Stewart on the north, by Davis Street on the south, by Tyler on the east, and by Mary Cliff on the west.
In the 19th century, cotton fields filled this area. Now Kings Highway is home to 100 properties, including apartment complexes of the 1910s on the southeast and single-family houses on the northwest. Most of these early apartments were built of brick and meant as transitional housing into the developing neighborhoods. One of the largest apartments is at 1234 King’s Highway. It is a two-story, brick, Mission Revival style complex, with entryway porch and Spanish tiled second story awnings. Old American Elm trees still surround some of these apartments. Houses on the northwest are small, new, one-story frame bungalows, are unlike the larger and older buildings found in the southeast. The northwest section also enjoys sunnier areas with few large trees. After this residential construction in the 1920s and 1930s, this neighborhood was able to “function as a distinct and independent area.”
Apart from the location of apartments and houses, the neighborhood enjoys a consistency in architectural styles, building materials, and landscaping. King’s Highway, which was a middle class area during the 1920s, was part of the Oak Cliff Annex, most of whose houses were similar but relatively larger. Houses built between the 1920s and 1930s were usually brick or wood frame houses, in architectural styles including craftsman, Tudor, classical revival, and the recognizable Prairie School that date back to the early 1900s. Architectural forms include four-square, bungalow, and the multiple family apartments. The houses of King’s Highway are uniformly set back on their rectangular lots and enjoy the shade and natural intricacies of elm, live oak, and pecan trees. It is also important to note that parts of this historic district are in the National Register of Historic Places because of its assortment of early turn-of-the-century buildings that uphold the area’s original character.
Improvements of the King’s Highway include concrete sidewalks and lots that are usually balanced in size. Despite these growing changes, this district continues to be a successful example of early architectural design in Dallas. Projects to preserve King’s Highway include stabilizing the “historic fabric,” returning the area to single-family dwellings, and maintaining the original condition of the neighborhood. With these improvements, King’s Highway will continue to keep its historic prominence.
National Register of Historic Places. King’s Highway Historic District. Dallas: Preservation Dallas References.
Preservation Dallas. Neighborhood Survey: King’s Highway. Dallas: Preservation Dallas References. July 2006.
Author: Laura Flores
Editor: Michael Hazel
Photographs by: Discover Dallas! Volunteers