Well, you may be surprised to learn that many landmarks in our neighborhood are named for Adelle Turner, also known by her married name as Mrs. E. P. Turner, a spitfire of a woman that CliffDwellers can be proud to call their own.
Born in 1856, Adelle moved to Dallas after her marriage to Edward Turner. In 1903, she became president of the Oak Cliff Improvement Association (ideas, anyone?) and in 1908, incredibly, became one of the first women to serve on the Dallas County school board. Her dedication to children was unyielding, working to create and maintain sanitary conditions for poor children. She also worked to form an organization promoting the rights of women, the predecessor of the Dallas League of Women Voters. When Adelle died in 1938, her sons left her house on South Marsalis to another organization their mother loved: The Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts. She was president of the group for twelve years, and we experience her generosity to this day although the Turner House you’re thinking of was not Mrs. E. P. Turner’s home. Instead, the Turner House name was transferred to its current Winnetka Heights location in 1957, when the government purchased the Marsalis property.Is it any wonder that Oak Cliff was home to such an effective and compassionate community leader? Our neighborhood really does have a legacy of political activism, thanks in part to Ms. Adelle Turner.