Historical Happenings: Mapping Oak Cliff’s past

Illustration by Brian Smith
Illustration by Brian Smith

“History cannot give us a program for the future,” Robert Penn Warren wrote. “But it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves and our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.” Our weird and wonderful neighborhood is full of fascinating history, and much of it remains tangible. We set out to map a few of the places that made Oak Cliff and West Dallas what they are.

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Cliff dwellings

Mayor’s house, 635 N. Zang Blvd.

El Sibil, 122 E. Fifth St

Illustration by Brian Smith
Illustration by Brian Smith

Oswald and outlaws

The Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd.

Johnson Rooming House, 1026 N. Beckley

The backyard photo house, 214 W. Neely

The Barrow filling station, 1221 Singleton Blvd.

Western Heights Cemetery, Neal Street at Fort Worth Avenue

Eagle Ford School, 1601 Chalk Hill Road

Illustration by Brian Smith
Illustration by Brian Smith

Remnants of bygone Dallas

Trinity Portland Cement Co. cemetery, 5300 Singleton

La Reunion Cemetery, 3300 block of Fish Trap Road

Bilbo Jitney Line, Sylvan Avenue and Seale Street

Lancaster Avenue commercial district, Jefferson and Marsalis

Tenth Street Historic District

Old-Time Religion

Oak Cliff United Methodist Church, 549 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Trinity Presbyterian Church, 901 N. Zang Blvd.


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  • Agree.Advocate needs to talk to me or any Post WW2 BOOMER.As the Advocate doesn`t know where ALL of Oak Cliff is..or South Dallas or West Dallas for that matter.Love the Mag ,but they need help here.

  • Why didn’t you post anything about the district 1 fair housing assessment at kidds spring park that happened today? That seems like a pretty important meeting to help bring awareness to.

  • You can cover an area that is diverse but still distribute stories that target a specific demographic. Why do you think Dallas has money allocated to help media outlets to reach the black demographic?

    Dallas does have some pressing issues to deal with, but they also have funds allocated already for this purpose.

    I may not be an arbiter of Oak Cliff culture, but media has a profound influencing effect. I can certainly study it, discuss it and critique it; share my hypothesis with others; advocate for those who are ignored/ marginalized. Call attention to issues that I feel are discriminatory.

    I can also critique a brand that says one thing but says another. Advocate Oak Cliff? you only advocate the parts of Oak Cliff and the business/neighborhoods that have the funds necessary to do so. Yes of course I have an issue with that, because you are excluding a large chunk of Oak Cliff.

    The Oak Cliff addition started in 2008. A time when the affluent culture began to step in. This pride that you speak about is the nature of affluent white entitlement that will eventually aid in the behaviors that will unintentionally push out the diversity that you mention of.

    Thinking outside the box, you could have guest writers that may not have the funds to write stories that are reviewed by your company. There are plenty of ways to reach a more diverse population.

  • East Oak Cliff, thanks again for the comment. I don’t believe you are correct in saying that we only serve whites: According to the U.S. census data on the areas we distribute to, residents are 65% white, 8.5% black, 22% “other race alone” and 3% “two or more races”. As for asking the City of Dallas for money, I have to believe the city has far more worthy expenses, such as potholes and streets, than paying to distribute our magazine. As far as neighborhood culture, I don’t think that we, or you for that matter, are arbiters of Oak Cliff culture; the great part about Oak Cliff is that there are a lot of different people who have come together around pride in the area. That pride is what we are trying to amplify and highlight, in as much as we can afford to do so. If we’re going to make it in the areas you are talking about, we need organic, grass-roots economic support. So far, we’ve been unable to find it there. If you can help us achieve that, as I mentioned before please get in touch with me directly.

  • I understand that the picture represents your company’s distributed area. If you are going to do that, you should make it clear on the map. Your magazine is setting an example to your many viewers who respect you. You are economically marginalizing an entire segment of Oak Cliff by excluding an entire side of Oak Cliff. A side of Oak Cliff with a profound racist past caused by the white majority.

    The side of East Oak Cliff that you cover is the only White portion of Oak Cliff; Beckley Club Estates and Cedar Oaks. A residential neighborhood that I’m still unsure of how they help with funds. The majority of them are also very much detached from the rest of East Oak Cliff in terms of culture.

    The only suggestion I have would be to talk with the city about funds to help distribute to a wider demographic of people. They give to DMN (including Al Dia) The Dallas Examiner, Dallas Post Tribune, Elite News, Korean Journal Dallas, Inc. and Dallas Chinese Times.

  • Thanks for the comment, East Oak Cliff. The pictured area roughly represents where the Oak Cliff Advocate is distributed, free of charge, to more than 17,000 homes (some of which are in East Oak Cliff), along with another 1,800 in racks throughout the neighborhood. We’re targeting the audience and areas that we believe can help us pay for printing and distributing the publications and accompanying websites and social media sites. We cover East Oak Cliff, as you know, but that side of the neighborhood generates very little, and often $0, in support for us, so we have to pay attention to the areas that support what we’re doing. The history map you’re talking about in this month’s issue also is online, and it will be a dynamic map we’ll be updating regularly with additional information, much like what you just suggested. If you have some ideas for us to generate enough money to further expand our delivery to East Oak Cliff, please contact me directly at rwamre@advocatemag.com. Thanks again for your comment.

  • Can you please clarify in any maps that are drawn by Advocate Oak Cliff, that it’s the distribution coverage area, North Oak Cliff, or doesn’t represent Oak Cliff? It is understood that Advocate Oak Cliff targets the affluent white educated audience, so please be cautious that you don’t marginalize East Oak Cliff from the rest. You are already discriminate against it by not covering that side of Oak Cliff.

    The map you drew doesn’t even show some of the oldest land that was considered to be oak cliff. The area by Marsalis Park (Dallas Zoo) that was bought by T.L. Marsalis and filed. Are by Corinth Viaduct was also considered parts of the original Oak Cliff.

    Great old article about the history of Oak Cliff.

  • Old Oak Cliff is rapidly disappearing with the redevelopment going on. Very sad but probably inevitable as the population grows.

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