In 1851 the Dallas County Sheriff seized 168 acres of land from William Myers, a Texas immigrant unable to pay his debts, and sold the land on the courthouse steps to Dr. John H. Stevens, one of Dallas’ first physicians. After Dr. Stevens’ two children, Annie and Walter Stevens, inherited the Myers Survey land in 1890, they established the Stevens Park Development Company and began developing their family’s farm land in 1926 as Stevens Park Estates, a “prestigious development” built on green hills overlooking a golf course and a memorial park.
In 1932 the Dallas Morning News described Stevens Park Estates as “one of the finest residential subdivisions in Oak Cliff.” The manager of Stevens Park Estates, S.P. Cimmiotti, began a beautification program in 1930 that planted shrubbery at every intersection, while owners Annie and Walter Stevens worked with architects and developers such as W.E. White and Carsey & Linskie to create a neighborhood deed restriction that would ensure architectural cohesiveness. This deed restriction plotted the neighborhood into separate districts for two story, story and a half, and one story houses, and even mandated certain building materials. For example, only two story brick or stone houses could be built on Colorado Boulevard and Plymouth Road, as well as on all corner lots on the interior streets. Such architectural regulations created a sense of cohesiveness that attracted early homebuyers.
Other elements in Stevens Park Estates that attracted early homebuyers included the Refund Payment Plan and the introduction of automatic air condition. The Refund Payment Plan, designed by Walter Stevens in 1932, guaranteed buyers a refund of house payments in the event that they were unable to complete their payments, thus ensuring buyers of no monetary loss if they chose to invest in a Stevens Park Estates house. This “unusual procedure in real estate,” along with a decrease in interest rates, caused all of the lots in a certain section of Stevens Park Estates to sell in a single day.
The introduction of air conditioning also helped boost sales of houses in Stevens Park Estates. In 1932, the Pay Boyd Company completed the first automatic air conditioned house to be offered for sale in Dallas at 2029 Mayflower Drive. The builders advertised that, “the air is washed and dried and delivered to the consumer in a clean, sweet, health-giving condition, all smoke, dust, and pollen having been removed and the summer temperature kept about 15 degrees below the outside atmosphere.” The introduction of air conditioned houses in Stevens Park Estates as well as the Refund Payment Plan helped secure the success of Stevens Park Estates even during the Great Depression.
Today, Stevens Park Estates is bound by Hampton Road on the west, Plymouth Road on the east and south, and Atlantic Street on the north. Architectural styles include Tudor, Spanish Eclectic, and Colonial Revival, with the occasional 1940s ranch house. With its nearby golf course and memorial park, as well as its location on the green hills of Old Oak Cliff, Stevens Park Estates offers natural beauty and a feel of cohesiveness in a stable neighborhood just five minutes southwest of downtown Dallas.
Author: Michelle Stanard
Editor: Michael Hazel
Photos: Allen Fagen