The Winnetka Heights Historic District is located only two miles from the Central Business District, south of the Trinity River in Oak Cliff. It is bounded by Davis Street on the north, 12th Street on the south, Rosemont Avenue on the west and Wilomet Avenue on the east. With over 600 houses, Winnetka Heights is the largest historic district in Dallas and one of the largest in the state of Texas. The neighborhood was originally platted as part of the Midway Addition and was developed as Winnetka Heights in 1908. The original Craftsman style bungalows and Four-square Prairie houses celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2008.
J.P. Blake, R.S. Waldron, T.S. Miller Jr., and Leslie Stemmons developed Winnetka Heights beginning in 1910. Early advertisements touted an ideal neighborhood with the “3 requisite necessaries to modern home life.” First, Winnetka Heights was located on high ground with distant views of the surrounding countryside and downtown. Second, it offered modern amenities such as artesian water, sewers, telephones, electric lines, paved streets with curbs, and building restrictions. And third, its convenient proximity to downtown made it accessible by streetcar. Today residents of Winnetka Heights Historic District enjoy the benefits of this early planning, with harmonious architecture, mature landscaping, and modern city services, all in a close-in residential neighborhood.
Some of the city’s stateliest houses were built in Winnetka Heights and include the houses of its developers. The Stemmons house built on the northeast corner of Rosemont and Jefferson was demolished and replaced by the Salvation Army. Waldron’s craftsman house stood on the southwest corner of Rosemont and Davis and is now an apartment complex. Still standing is the Miller house at 101 N. Montclair and the Blake house, now the Turner House (home to the Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts). Early residents included Texas oilman and Winnetka Heights developer J.P. Blake, who resided at 401 N. Rosemont; Thomas Jefferson Hubbert, who was appointed by President Grover Cleveland as the U.S. Pension Examiner for Texas and the Old Indian Territories, who resided at 137 S. Montclair; and Ellis Cockrell, a prominent cattle rancher, and descendant of the pioneer Cockrell family, who resided at 201 S. Montclair.
Strolling down its streets, past the large front porches, mature trees, and carefully crafted houses, recalls a by-gone era, nearly a century ago, when Dallas was coming of age. The Winnetka Heights Historic District retains the look and feel of an early American suburb, making it one of Dallas’ most desirable historic neighborhoods.
Text by: Katherine D. Seale
Edited by: Michael Hazel
Photographs by: Sara Simon