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Avion Village

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1942, David R. Williams, with Roscoe DeWitt, A. B. Swank, and Richard Neutra. 800 Skyline Rd.

In 1928, in order to relieve overcrowding at Dallas’s Love Field Airport, the City of Dallas built Hensley Field just east of Grand Prairie’s city limits for repair and refueling operations for U.S. Army use. After the North American Aviation Company transferred production of its model T-6 “Texan” aircraft from California to Hensley Field in 1941, the area faced a major shortage of housing for the plant workers and pilot trainees. This provided the opportunity for the Federal Works Agency under Lawrence Westbrook to experiment with prefabricated housing, mass production, “park living” residential planning, and mutual home ownership. Westbrook assigned David R. Williams to lead the project in early 1941, and Williams called on several Dallas architects as well as Richard Neutra for assistance. They quickly drew up a site plan of radiating rows of houses around a large central park and with open space between the rows of houses. Automobile traffic was restricted to the outer ring road.

In a publicized building competition between two teams of contractors to see how fast a house could be constructed, the winning team erected one in fifty-seven minutes and fifty-eight seconds. The house included a dinner cooking on the stove, a young lady in a bubble bath, and the Fuller Brush man in the living room making a sale.

The three hundred houses that were completed each contained a living/dining room, a kitchen, two bedrooms, and a bath. The rectangular, flat-roofed houses designed by Neutra have windows grouped into continuous horizontal bands. Two-story buildings by Williams have masonry walls and open-framed balconies according to his “indigenous” concepts. Initially, the houses were rented. The Avion Village Mutual Housing Corporation was formed in 1948 to purchase the property from the government, and the village remains a mutual home-ownership community.

None of the concepts successfully employed at Avion Village were emulated by the commercial home building industry. In 1949, Hensley Field became Dallas Naval Air Station and functioned until 1998; it is now used by the armed forces reserves.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Avion Village", [Grand Prairie, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 183-184.

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