(Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

The owner of a 1950s service station and a 1922 retail strip on Beckley tore those buildings down recently to create a park.

The Momentous Institute, a charter school that serves children at risk for poverty and focuses on the social and emotional health of students and families, bought the buildings a couple of years ago.

Momentous Insitute and its benefactor, The Salesmanship Club of Dallas, are located on Beckley at Tenth. The demolished properties were in the 100 block of South Beckley and the 100 block of East Tenth.

They heard that Sonic Drive-In was considering Beckley as a place to relocate their Bishop Arts store. So Momentous Institute bought up property near the school to prevent an influx of businesses that could be incompatible with their mission of serving kindergarteners-5th graders.

Initially, they intended to keep the buildings intact. But their condition was terrible, says Jim Jackson, the Momentous Institute’s director of operations. The service station was in such bad shape that it was barely standing. The retail building had structural damage, and vagrants constantly broke in.

“I don’t take the loss of a building lightly, but this had such severe structural damage,” Jackson says.

The school is turning the vacant land into a park for students and the public. And they’re working with Daniel Yanez of the nearby Basement Gallery to create art in the park.

The land doesn’t look great now, but they have ideas to shape it up pretty quickly, Jackson says.

These buildings were demolished around the same time as El Corazon de Tejas a couple of weeks ago. And Jackson says the timing was unfortunate.

The Momentous Institute is a custodian of an old Oak Cliff building. It owns the historic Oak Cliff YMCA building, which is about 100 years old and part of the Oak Cliff campus.

Facade of the 1922 retail strip in the 100 block of South Beckley, which was demolished. Image via Google Maps

1950s service station in the 100 block of East Tenth, which was demolished. Image via Google Maps