Fort Worth and Dallas may be separated by just 35 miles of sprawl, but in some ways they’re a world apart. High-end boutiques and a glittering skyline define the big-city glamour (with a Southern twist) of Dallas. Fort Worth, meanwhile, retains hints of its frontier past, evidenced by the turn-of-the-century buildings at the Stockyards and Sundance Square. What the two cities have in common are older suburbs filled with bungalows, many with Craftsman and Prairie influence. Both cities have been vigilant, for the most part, about preserving these neighborhoods.
In Fort Worth, the Fairmount National Historic District is the city’s biggest and best. Composed of 20 subdivisions developed between 1883 and 1907, Fairmount was originally home to an economically diverse population, resulting in a variety of house styles. Clapboard, shingle, and brick bungalows predominate, however, and most have been immaculately restored. Check out the Fairmount website for a suggested walking/driving tour.
For Gustav Stickley fans who don’t mind going a bit out of the way, Fort Worth offers a secret gem: a Stickley-designed house built in 1913 for Julian C. Harris, who worked at the Cobb Brick Company. Located at 4621 Foard Street, the two-storey house is based on a plan that first appeared in a 1909 issue of The Craftsman, and is constructed of clinker bricks so irregular they look like stones. Though it now sits in a rather charmless neighborhood, the Harris House is a testament to the appeal of true Craftsman homes.
The area broadly known as Old East Dallas is home to a handful of Arts & Crafts-influenced neighborhoods. Munger Place bills itself as “the largest collection of Prairie-style homes in America.” Its 250 houses are predominantly large, well-preserved Foursquares that display Craftsman, neoclassical, and, yes, Prairie influences. The neighborhood’s style uniformity is courtesy of cotton-gin manufacturer Robert Munger, who attracted prominent Dallas businessmen to his new neighborhood in 1908 by specifying that every house had to be at two full storeys and cost at least $2,000.
Directly east of Munger Place is the more modest Junius Heights, developed in 1906 by C.H. Munger, Robert’s son. This collection of more than 800 livable bungalows and Tudors just earned its historic district status 14 years ago, but in doing so, it immediately became the city’s largest historic district.
A couple miles north, up the bustling commercial district of Greenville Avenue, more bungalows, Tudors, and Foursquares nestle into the streetcar suburb of Vickery Place, platted in 1911 on a tract of farmland. Here, the old houses are punctuated by modern infill, which is required by conservation ordinance to take cues from the neighborhood’s early 20th-century styles (though bloated proportions tend to be a dead giveaway for the new-builds).
Southwest of downtown Dallas, in Oak Cliff, you’ll find Winnetka Heights, a neighborhood touted as “Dallas’s Ideal Suburb” by real-estate agents in 1911. Winnetka has been a historic district since 1981, and its remarkably preserved bungalows and brick Tudors are a testament to residents’ enduring devotion to the neighborhood.
When to Visit Texas
For the best conditions for neighborhood gawking, avoid the punishing heat of Texas summers and shoot for spring or fall. Or plan your visit to coincide with one of these neighborhood events:
- MID-APRIL TOUR Munger Place Wine Walk & Historic Home tour Showcasing a good handful of this East Dallas neighborhood’s historic homes (and the occasional work in progress), the tour includes wine tastings and hors d’oeuvres. mungerplace.com
- MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND Fairmount National Historic District Tour of Homes This long-running tour features six to 10 of the neighborhood’s best restorations (and occasionally a new-build or work in progress), with proceeds to benefit the neighborhood association. historicfairmount.com
- EARLY NOVEMBER Junius Heights Historic Home Tour This one-day tour of five historic houses coincides with a neighborhood street fair featuring food trucks, kids’ activities, and a craft market. juniusheights.org
- EARLY DECEMBER Winnetka Heights Christmas Candlelight Home Tour Nearly 30 years old, this annual Christmastime tour features six homes decked out for the holidays, as well as an extra house and champagne reception for those who purchase VIP tickets. winnetkaheights.org