Oak Cliff neighborhoods on ‘most endangered’ list

Photo by Michael Cagle

Two Oak Cliff neighborhoods made Preservation Dallas’ list of endangered historic places in Dallas.

The list, released this week, includes homes and apartments near Lake Cliff Park and the Miller-Stemmons National Register Historic District just north of Bishop Arts.

Earlier this year a developer pulled a demolition permit for 834 Blaylock at Colorado, a four-unit apartment complex facing Lake Cliff. The move brought to light that a few buildings were left out of the Lake Cliff Historic District when it was formed in the ’90s.

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It’s too late to save that building, but the Dallas Landmark Commission moved to expand the historic district to include six properties facing the lake and five others on Marsalis Avenue.

“The district expansion is supported by both the Lake Cliff Neighborhood Association and Preservation Dallas as a way to protect the historic character of this important historic district in Oak Cliff,” the Preservation Dallas list states.

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An example of historically inaccurate property-line setbacks on Bishop Avenue, which is part of the Miller-Stemmons National Register Historic District. Photo by Michael Cagle

The Miller-Stemmons National Historic District includes Bishop Avenue north of Bishop Arts and is generally bounded by West Davis, Elsbeth, Neches and Woodlawn. Homes in that neighborhood, built from 1910-1930s, were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. That designation, unfortunately, doesn’t do anything to protect the properties from being demolished.

The neighborhood is in danger due to encroachment from Bishop Arts development as well as the 2010 Bishop/Davis zoning , Preservation Dallas says.

A maximum height of 38 feet (or 3 stories plus an attic) is now allowed along Bishop Avenue, with mixed-use buildings being allowed to go higher. Above ground parking structures are also allowed along with remote parking lots. The historic structures are typically on 50-foot-wide lots; however, lots may now be combined to 150-foot-wide lots encouraging larger scale development and new out of place 3 1⁄2 story buildings. Some new construction has been compatible while some has not. Several new buildings on Bishop have been constructed with a reduced front yard setback and a much larger scale than the historic homes surrounding it which disrupts the rhythm of the historic block-face.

The other four properties on the 2017 list include two Downtown: the Dallas Morning News building and the First Church of Christ Scientist (Eagle’s Nest). Florence Hall and the Heritage buildings at SMU made the list, as well as Vaughan House in Preston Hollow. Find the full list here.

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