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Romine Avenue Historic District

Romine Avenue is located in historic South Dallas adjacent to the Queen City neighborhood. The Romine Avenue National Register District is located on the north side of the street between Octavia and Latimer and includes just seventeen houses built between 1926 and 1938. Like Queen City and Wheatley Place, Romine Avenue was designed and built specifically for African-American families.

Romine Avenue is significant for its contribution to the history of African Americans in Dallas. It seems to have been developed in response to a need to provide finer and more expensive housing for upper-middle class AfricanAmericans. Prominent educators, a hotel proprietor, a life-insurance agent, and Pullman porters once lived in the Romine Avenue District.

The neighborhood was built and sold exclusively to African-American families, but the construction of the seventeen houses marked a change in the type and costs of styling present in other African-American communities. The houses were all built by the same contracting firm, McElveen and Sowell, Inc., which is unusual when compared to other South Dallas neighborhoods such as Wheatley Place and Queen City where white developers typically bought four or five building permits to construct small bungalows they then sold to African-American families.

Unlike its surrounding neighborhoods, the houses in the Romine Avenue Historic District are constructed out of brick. In fact, this addition is the first African-American neighborhood in which all the houses were constructed of brick or stone. These materials are far more expensive than the materials used in the traditional frame bungalow present in other South Dallas neighborhoods. The use of more expensive materials in Romine Avenue marks the entrance of a rising African-American upper-middle class in Dallas.

The steeply-pitched roofs, arched entrances, and stone detailing resemble the Tudor Revival cottages seen in East Dallas and Oak Cliff. Notable Design features include the intricate work seen on the chimneys, many of which have double flues. The district also employs the use of house setbacks, sidewalks, and street elevations similar to upper class white neighborhoods at the time (Munger Place and Highland Park).

Works Cited:
National Register Multiple Property Listing Historic and Architectural Resources of East and South Dallas, Dallas
County, Texas, 1990. 1995.
Preservation Dallas Vertical Files, 2006.

Author: Sarah Sibley
Editor: Michael Hazel
Photographs by: Discover Dallas! Volunteers

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