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Preserve America Community:
Junius Heights, Texas

The Junius Heights neighborhood of East Dallas, Texas, began with a bang in 1906. Dallas was growing rapidly, so the Dallas Consolidated Electric Street Car Company laid rails outside the eastern limits of the city, and the Junius Heights streetcar began running. On Sunday, September 2, 1906, prospective homebuyers were encouraged to take the new streetcar out to see the newly platted neighborhood. Many people visited the sites, perhaps drawn by the promise that their fare would be refunded by the development company.

Since it was a Sunday, no land sales could be made, but prospective buyers remained on the properties until midnight. Shortly after midnight a pistol was fired, and land sales at Junius Heights began. It was reported that within 40 minutes 200 lots were sold. By Wednesday all of the lots had been purchased, and the Dallas Morning News called it “the record sale of Dallas and Texas.” The area flourished, and most of the homes in the area date to the early 20th century. Today Junius Heights has the largest number of surviving Arts and Crafts style homes in the Dallas metro area.

In April 2006, the Dallas City Council created the Junius Heights Landmark District. Before the official designation, neighbors in Junius Heights circulated petitions and information on becoming a historic district and encouraged residents to vote yes on their historic district designation ballots. When the votes were tallied, 70 percent of Junius Heights residents were in favor of the designation. Thanks to the rich history of the area and the work of residents, Junius Heights became the largest Landmark District in Dallas, with more than 700 structures spread over 190 acres.

In celebration of their historic assets, Junius Heights held its first Historic Home Tour in November 2007. Six historic homes in the neighborhood were on the tour, including a Frank Lloyd Wright catalogue home and a house once owned by Howard Blakeslee, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1937. Each home featured an antique car from the East Dallas Antique Car Club, and one home included a display of historic photographs of Junius Heights. The tour also highlighted a historic neighborhood church that is being renovated for adaptive reuse. An arts and crafts fair and live music were set up in a local park, and $10,000 was raised through ticket sales and sponsorships to place Junius Heights Historic District sign toppers on each intersection in the neighborhood. The Home Tour will most likely become an annual event.

The success of Junius Heights residents in having their neighborhood designated a Landmark District is a testament to their dedication to protecting and celebrating their cultural heritage.

For more information

Junius Heights Landmark District: www.dallascityhall.com/historic/html/junius_heights.html

Posted June 4, 2009

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