The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League keeps us up to date on the neighborhood architecture that is at risk because of neglect or lack of historic designation.
A task force aimed at determining better preservation tactics, organized after several century-old buildings were demolished downtown, met for the first time this week.
There are only seven buildings in our neighborhood that specifically have protection from demolition in the way of official landmark status from the city of Dallas.
The 90-year-old Sunset High School just received landmark status last year. That move came on the heels of a legal battle between preservationists and the Dallas school district, which had a plan to redevelop the old Adamson High School. Preservationists won that time, prompting the school district to build an entirely new school adjacent to the old one.
The Texas Theatre, built as a chain of cinemas owned by Howard Hughes in 1931, is infamous for its connection to the JFK assassination. And it’s now famous for the Oak Cliff Film Festival and fantastic programming — movies, music, parties, dance and other live performances — from management company Aviation Cinemas, which took over in 2010. After the theater closed in 1989, it was at risk of demolition several times until the Oak Cliff Foundation bought it in 2001, sinking $1.6 million into renovating it.
The neoclassical Oak Cliff Methodist Church opened 100 years ago at Eighth and Lancaster. It was one of the earliest congregations in Oak Cliff; congregants began meeting in a home near the current location in 1887.
Mallory Drug Store opened at 900 E. Jefferson in 1912 as a trolley stop shop, and it is an example of buildings built because of the streetcar system. B&B Bicycles, which since has moved to Cedar Hill, operated there for several years. It currently is occupied by Pachanga Wholesale Bridal and Quinceañera.
The Betterton House at 705 N. Marsalis is one of the earliest examples in Dallas of the Queen Anne Victorian style. It was built around 1888 for Charles Betterton, son of an Oak Cliff pioneer.
The Bishop Arts Building at 408 W. Eighth, which houses Lucia and Dude Sweet Chocolate, is another example of a trolley stop shop. It was granted landmark status in 1999.
The Greek revival Cedar Crest House, also known as the L.O. Daniel Mansion, was built in 1905 and is one of the few remaining examples of a Victorian-era country estate house in Dallas. The building, which is across the street from Sunset High School on West Jefferson, has been vacant for about five years.