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Southwest Dallas, Oak Cliff

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Settlements were founded on the west side of the Trinity River at approximately the same time as John Neely Bryan’s 1839 trading post on the east bank. Hord’s Ridge (later called Oak Cliff) in 1845 and La Réunion in 1854 were first connected to Dallas by a wooden bridge over the river built in 1855 by Alexander Cockrell. In 1887, John Armstrong and Thomas Marsalis purchased two thousand acres of prime south bank land. After Armstrong moved on to develop Highland Park, Marsalis proceeded with a spa in Oak Cliff, building a hotel, dance pavilion, opera house, zoo, and steam railway connecting across the river to the courthouse square. The Panic of 1893 broke Marsalis, but Oak Cliff continued as a desirable middle- and upper-class enclave and was annexed by Dallas in 1904. By the late twentieth century, the area was derelict, but renovations and increasing gentrification are beginning in the Winnetka Heights neighborhood of Oak Cliff.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.

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