The Tenth Street neighborhood is located on the eastern edge of Oak Cliff. Its development may date back to the post-Civil War era when freed slaves settled in the area. While no buildings from the 1840s exist, evidence of a community survives in the Oak Cliff Cemetery, the city’s oldest public cemetery established in 1846 by William Beaty. The neighborhood is bounded by E. 8th Street to the north, Moore St. to the east, E. Claredon Drive to the south, and I35 on the west.
The Tenth Street neighborhood is considered Oak Cliff’s most important African-American neighborhood. It is made up primarily of simple wood frame houses that generally do not reference any specific architectural style. There are some Craftsman Bungalows and fewer Victorian houses. Several folk houses may be found including shotguns, double shotguns, “L-plans,” and at least one example of the camelback and saddlebag forms.
The sloping terrain and varying lot sizes contribute to Tenth Street’s unique setting. East Tenth Street, the neighborhood’s commercial and social area, runs through the middle of the neighborhood at a lower elevation than most of Oak Cliff. Unlike the rest of the district’s development, which is dictated by a rigid grid, blocks and lots on E. Tenth Street were different sizes and shapes to accommodate the many commercial and institutional buildings interspersed with houses. The City of Dallas designated the Tenth Street Historic District in 1993. The following year, the National Register listed the neighborhood, recognizing it at a local level in the area of ethnic heritage.
In 2002 Preservation Dallas, along with the City of Dallas and private donors, restored Vivian Bush’s home on East 11th Street, demonstrating proper historical restoration techniques to the neighborhood. Recently, in 2006, several houses have been remodeled according to appropriate historic guidelines. The Tenth Street neighborhood is an important tie to Dallas’s rich history, and efforts will continue to restore and revive the neighborhood.
National Register Multiple Property Listing: Historic and Architectural Resources of Oak Cliff, Dallas County, Texas, 1990. 1994.
Preservation Dallas Vertical Files, 2006.
Authors: Sarah Sibley
Editor: Michael Hazel
Photographs by: Discover Dallas! Volunteers