Belmont Conservation District Neighborhood
The Belmont Conservation District neighborhood is architecturally a little bit of Tudor Cottages seen in Greenland Hills, a little bit of Prairie Style homes found in Munger Place, and a whole lot of architecturally significant Craftsman bungalows, sprinkled with Old East Dallas duplexes, fourplexes, and small midcentury apartment complexes when Old East Dallas was blanket-zoned MF2 (multifamily two-story) zoning in the middle part of the 20th century. Fabulous examples of Craftsman bungalows from the 1920s can be found in the Junius Heights Historic District and the Winnetka Heights Conservation District next to Kessler Park. But the Belmont Addition has the best collection of architecturally significant Craftsman bungalows in Dallas.
Location of Belmont Addition Neighborhood
The Belmont Addition Conservation District is bound by Skillman Avenue on the east, Greenville Avenue on the west, Belmont Street on the south and Llano Street on the north.
The location of the Belmont Conservation District allows the neighborhood to enjoy the restaurants of Greenville Avenue on one boundary and the trails of White Rock Lake, just eleven blocks away, in the other direction. SMU is only eight blocks away from the Belmont neighborhood, Highland Park is only six blocks away, and the restaurants on Henderson Avenue are close by as well as artist shops and restaurants in Lakewood Shopping Center. The Arts District is only 30 blocks away. The Belmont neighborhood with homes on high, elevated lots on tree-lined streets convey nature while the retail areas surrounding the Belmont neighborhood project vibrancy.
History of Belmont Addition
The Belmont Addition Conservation District neighborhood has quite a genealogical pedigree. When I researched and wrote A Guide to the Older Neighborhoods of Dallas, published for the Texas Sesquicentennial in 1986, I discovered that the Belmont area was originally part of the 30,000 acres Walter Caruth and his brother had started purchasing in the 1850s. The Caruth Brothers in 1885 built an elegant three-story farmhouse, Bosque Bonita, at the northwest corner of what are now Belmont and Greenville Avenues. The closest streetcar was two miles away on Ross Avenue and the cotton and cornfields stretched as far as the eye could see.
Ross Avenue Heights
In 1885, a St. Louis syndicate bought 170 acres of the Caruths’ acres at a 7,000% profit. These 170 acres became the Ross Avenue Heights development. However, without the streetcar line Ross Avenue Heights never got off the ground. Only one house was built.
August Belmont Invested in Dallas
In 1892, the same year August Belmont, a New York financier and developer, invested in the magnificent Oriental Hotel under construction at the corner of Commerce and Akard, he purchased the 170 acres from the St. Louis syndicate. August Belmont then extended the streetcar line (not as monumental a project as the original New York subway which he financed in 1900-1904), which at the time was very impactful for the neighborhood renamed the Belmont Addition. August Belmont also graded the streets, marked out the elevated lots and built sidewalks.
The Depression of 1893 Brought Belmont Addition to a Standstill
The Depression of 1893 was the same Depression that brought the downfall to the prosperous and gaudy development of T.L. Marsalis in North Oak Cliff. T.L. Marsalis had already bought out at a high price his former partner, John Armstrong, which allowed John Armstrong to take advantage of the Depression of 1893 and buy all of the land of Highland Park from Henry Exall for $200 per acre. This Highland Park land was purchased by Henry Exall and his Philadelphia syndicate for $300 per acre in earlier and better economic times. The Belmont Addition was doomed to sunflowers and high grass until 1910 when the Belmont Land Company and Hann and Kendall Real Estate Company began selling lots through the 1910s and 1920s to developers and builders. This came on the heels of Joe Kendall’s real estate success marketing the Munger Brothers’ Junius Heights neighborhood. Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of the best-selling book and mini-series, A Woman of Independent Means, told me that her grandfather, Joe Kendall, recounted to her the Oklahoma land rush atmosphere he created with the opening of the Junius Heights development. All the buyers were lined up and when the gun went off at midnight they rushed to claim their favorite lot and the records show 200 lots were sold in less than an hour. The Craftsman bungalows became the prevalent architectural style of Junius Heights and this Craftsman bungalow style carried over to the lots Joe Kendall sold in the Belmont Addition. In 1919, Walter Caruth sold Bosque Bonita to Miss Ela Hockaday and it became the Hockaday School for Girls and remained there until 1961. The growing population of Dallas and the booming economy caused the Belmont Addition, filled with good-looking early 20th century homes on elevated lots under a canopy of trees, to flourish.
Belmont Conservation District is a Neighborhood of Legends
The Belmont Conservation District has been a neighborhood of Dallas legends. On one block of Goliad you will see the house 6023 Goliad in which Billy Marcus, Stanley Marcus' wife, grew up. You will also see a home on 6026 Goliad where Allison V. Smith, the granddaughter of Stanley Marcus, owned a home.
Rezoning for Apartments Caused Neighborhood Decline
In the midcentury, the blanket (MF2) two-story apartment zoning in the Belmont Addition in Old East Dallas disrupted the stability of the neighborhood and caused its decline. Single-family homes were divided into apartments and new small apartment complexes began to spring up. The trend of a more transient rental population of renters replacing stable homeowners continued. By the 1960s and 1970s, an entire airplane bungalow in the Belmont Addition could be rented for $100 per month.
Revitalization Culminated in the Creation of the Belmont Conservation District
In the 1980s young homeowners began gradually moving into the neighborhood and stabilizing these good-looking but tattered homes. In 1986, the Belmont Addition was one of 30 neighborhoods featured in the oversized book A Guide to the Older Neighborhoods of Dallas which further cemented the certainty of its successful future. In 2004, the success of the revitalization and the interest of the neighbors culminated in the Belmont Addition becoming a conservation district.
Now the Belmont Addition, in the center of Old East Dallas, draws from the best aspects of many of the neighborhoods that surround it.
Search MLS for East Dallas Homes For Sale
East Dallas Real Estate found in the East Dallas Neighborhoods
Homes found in Belmont Conservation District Neighborhood
Early 20th Century Modern Home
Belmont Addition Features Prairie Style with Craftment Influences
Home in Belmont Conservation District
Prairie Influenced Home in Belmont Conservation District
Crafsment Influences on One and Two Story Homes
Belmont Conservation District is Known for the Architecturally Significant Craftment Bungalows
Modern Home Just Outside of Belmont Neighborhood
Prairie Style Home on Elevated Lot
Prairie Style Home in Belmont Conservation District
Airplane Bungalow Influence in Belmont Addition
Wraparound Porch on Craftsman Bungalow in Belmont Neighborhood
Craftsman Bungalow Interpretation in Belmont
Home in Belmont Conservation District
Home in Belmont Conservation District
Belmont Conservation District Map
Belmont Conservation District inside Old East Dallas. Click on the map and discover each home as you explore this neighborhood.