After being settled in 1837 by William H. Hord, the Oak Cliff neighborhood was initially known as Hord’s Ridge. Some 50 years later, the community was thriving to the point that developers Thomas L. Marsalis and John S. Armstrong decided to purchase the land and turn it into a residential area. The name Oak Cliff was chosen, largely, because of the massive oak trees and rolling hills that were once this neighborhood’s trademark. When mentioning Oak Cliff today, most are referring to North Oak Cliff, but the district actually encompasses four unique sections—and a huge amount of real estate.
North Oak Cliff
People here are proud to represent a convergence of artists, musicians, and culture-rich, Hispanic communities. While it’s one of the older neighborhoods, in recent years, the area has seen quite the resurgence. Renovations to the Bishop Arts District and several historic districts like Kessler Park, with its hills and Tudor-style homes, and Winnetka Heights, with Prairie and Craftsman-style houses, spurred the launch of independent restaurants and shops around family-owned Mexican restaurants and mercados. It strives to retain its open-minded, diverse character in the midst of its new popularity. It’s also home to the infamous Texas Theatre, where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for shooting President John F. Kennedy.
Stevens Park Golf Course just saw a complete redesign by architect John Colligan and is open for public golfing. Kidd Springs Park offers walking trails and lots of outdoor opportunities.
East Oak Cliff
East Oak Cliff is home to the Dallas Zoo, plus two of the top 10 high schools in the nation—The School for the Talented and Gifted and the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center. Just-completed Lancaster Urban Village, across from the VA Hospital, is part of the increased development encouraged by the city.
Southeast Oak Cliff
This is a haven of education with the campuses of both recently expanded University of North Texas at Dallas and Paul Quinn College. Big plans are in the works for the areas surrounding these schools.
Central Oak Cliff
Wynnewood North, named the Dallas Observer’s “Dallas’ Best Neighborhood” in 2012, is prized for its mid-century houses on gently sloping hills. The 263-acre Kiest Park is full of sports options. Oak Cliff Nature Preserve offers eight miles of trails.