Just north of the R.L. Thornton Freeway, you will find yourself in Old East Dallas. Despite its name, however, there’s a healthy mix of the old and the new in the community. Historic houses sit side-by-side with modern cafés, shopping centers, hip bars, and restaurants.
For instance, Deep Ellum is located here. With more than 30 live music venues that cater to each taste, you will never get bored in this ultimate hangout.
In the past, William H. Gaston promoted the area by giving railroads $5,000 in cash as well as free access to his property so they can build the tracks. Originally, there were only four families that settled in the 40-acre property in the mid-1800s. As the railroad was being built, workers came and settled in the area. The community grew to 1,400 acres by the time it was annexed into the city in 1882.
While some people may have pushed to have Old East Dallas named as Gaston, it didn’t come to fruition. However, he did have Gaston Avenue named after him.
Old East Dallas has 14 neighborhoods in all. These are:
Junius Heights Historic District
Munger Place Historic District
Peak’s Suburban Addition
Each neighborhood has a unique identity. Julius Heights, for example, is the largest historic community in the whole of Dallas. The houses still carry the original design of Prairie and Craftsman. Being a historic district, you need to ask permission from the commission before you can introduce some changes to the façade.
The neighborhood has more than 42,000 residents but the population balloons in the daytime as workers from adjacent neighborhoods file in for work. The community is very diverse; it has a great nightlife, and it’s a good place to raise your family because of the many schools serving the neighborhood.
For instance, you have Ben Milam Elementary School, Sam Houston Elementary School, Robert E Lee Elementary School, Woodrow Wilson High School, J L Long Middle School, and Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary School.
Baylor University Medical Center is known for its nose, ear, and throat expertise, as well as gastroenterology procedures; but it also received high rankings at the national level for diabetes, geriatrics, nephrology, orthopedics, and pulmonology.
What To Do in Old East Dallas
As already mentioned, Dallas Ellum can be found here. The establishment takes its roots in blues and jazz and although those genres are still being played by local bands today, you will also hear hip hop, pop, and rock. Ask anybody around and they will immediately point you to its direction. An old neon sign is also unmistakable. While there are live bands, there are also restaurants, street performers, artisans displaying their wares, and karaoke.
If you are tired of cooking at home, you can head on to North Henderson Avenue where you will never have a shortage of cuisine options. There’s a bit of Asian, European, and Caribbean flare here.
There’s an old tradition here every Mother’s Day as the historic 20th Century homes on Swiss Avenue are opened for a tour. You can also buy goods from the art fair, or view the vintage car exhibit. Kids can also ride the carriages pulled by horses just like the pioneers of old.
Just six minutes via the Old Oak Road, you will find the Arts District, which is home to 13 organizations and facilities. Among the facilities that have headquarters here are AT&T Performing Arts Center, Annette Strauss Artist Square, Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, and Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.
There’s plenty to do at the Arts District. Among the institutions in the 68-acre area are:
Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Dallas Museum of Art
The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art
Moody Performance Hall
Nasher Sculpture Center
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
Klyde Warren Park
Just 12 minutes away is White Rock Lake, a man-made wonder which has become the Mecca of water activities in Dallas.
Real Estate Profile of Old East Dallas
Houses here will go from as low as $180,000 to as high as $1.8 million. There are plenty of home designs to choose from apart from the historic district where you have fewer choices. A typical property here is classified as attached homes. Expect also to pay some HOA fees, which can be as low as five bucks to as high as $2,000. Single-family homes, meanwhile, may carry property taxes from a low of $1,000 to as high as $13,000.
The median home value, however, is placed at $243,794, which is higher than the national average of a little more than $184,000. Rent is quite affordable at $900, which is why you will see many students and artists relocating to the area.
If you are looking for a ritzy and elegant lifestyle, you can buy a property in the eastern part of the neighborhood where the more expensive houses are located. The northern portion is where you will find the more affordable houses for purchase or rent.
Old East Dallas is really the perfect neighborhood since you get to live on the edge of history but still enjoy the conveniences that modern amenities have to offer. You have a rich choice of Spanish Revival, Tudor, Craftsman bungalows, Colonial, Neoclassical, foursquare houses, Prairie, and turn-of-the-century homes.
There’s a real pride of place here as evidenced by the residents uniting together to save old houses along Swiss Avenue from negligence and disrepair.
Mature trees dot the paved roads and provide a natural shade. Here you will find parents pushing baby strollers, families walking their dogs, children playing on the green grass, and young and old joggers. It still feels like a small community where most people know each other and they will give you a nod of acknowledgment and a friendly wave.