Compiling a list of history-making places in Dallas could be a task of the lazy — there are many well-known landmarks — but we chose a different path. Let’s assume we all know about Dealey Plaza, and the Old Red Courthouse, and the Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park. Instead, here's a list of locations that are slightly off the beaten path. Some rarely visited and others passed by thousands of commuters every day, a few designated as landmarks and others wiped off the map.
1) 2557 Glenfield Avenue: SRV Learns Guitar
This unassuming 1955 bungalow tucked into a little street near Hampton Hills in Oak Cliff is where blues guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan lived when he was 7, the age he first began to play the guitar. He died in a helicopter crash in 1990 and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The house is still there, apparently occupied by fans of the Saints and the 49ers, if the curb paintings are any indicator. There’s no obvious sign that it’s a blues landmark.
2) 105 Herbert Street: Bonnie Meets Clyde
The much-agreed-upon-but-never-fully-proven house where Clyde Barrow met Bonnie Parker in January 1930 is, by all accounts, gone. It belonged to a friend, and their meeting here sparked the crime duo’s legendary relationship. It’s a small street, with dilapidated houses on one side and a youth sports field on the other, next to the design district near the Trinity. The address doesn’t exist anymore – the block that is presumably the same is now numbered 3000.
3) 12th Street and Edgefield: Birth of 7-Eleven Stores
The world’s first convenience store, which later turned into the 7-Eleven chain, opened here in 1927. Before houses had refrigeration, Southland Ice Company employee “Uncle Johnny” Jefferson Green recognized that staples like milk (56 cents per gallon) and eggs were often needed outside the normal grocery store hours. And so he began to sell them out of the back of the Southland ice house he ran. Years later, the building was replaced with another one in the back of the lot, which was eventually given to the League of United Latin Americans, its current occupants. And the building still looks like a 7-Eleven.
4) Colorado and Jefferson: Foundation of Dallas Sports
Burnett Field is marked on maps but it was actually a vacant, abandoned lot in the shadow of I-35E until construction crews got hold of it. Built in 1925, it was the practice field for the first Dallas Cowboys team in 1960 (also the first NFL expansion team in the league). It was also the place where the city’s minor league baseball team, the Rangers (one of its many names), practiced and played. Both teams have, of course, moved on to bigger and shinier fields of green. And Dallas has moved on from Burnett Field.
5) 2551 Elm Street: African American Trailblazers
The Knights of the Pythias Temple in Deep Ellum was designed in 1915 by William Sidney Pittman, the first black architect to operate in Texas. The Beaux-Arts style building also housed black professionals such as doctors and lawyers who were able to bring those services to the underserved African-American community in the area. Last we all heard, the building will be incorporated in a new mixed-use development plan for Deep Ellum.
6) 4600 Dolphin Road: Cemetery for Founding Families
This is the technical address of the Beeman Memorial Cemetery, but really, it’s at the end of a short little residential street called Osage, just off Mingo and Dolphin. It’s probably one of the most peaceful and quiet spots in all of Dallas, a tiny sunlight meadow ringed with trees, hiding disarmingly behind the Shearith Israel Memorial Park (whose own charter dates back to 1886). The Beeman Memorial Cemetery is the final resting place of one of Dallas’ founding families, John and Emily Honeycutt Beeman, as well as the daughter of John Neely Bryan, who first established the city of Dallas. (Bryan himself is buried in Austin.)
7) 508 Park Avenue: Recording the Blues Greats
The rich history of this historic Art Deco building in downtown Dallas, once a studio owned by Warner Brothers, includes the legendary recording sessions of Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson – the one who sold his soul to the Devil – over two days in 1937. Dilapidated for many years, the building has now been acquired by the The Stewpot of First Presbyterian Church which is hard at work turning it into a community and arts center.
8) 7225 Fair Oaks Avenue: Ebola Ground Zero
Ivy Apartments in Vickery Meadow became ground zero for one of the worst health panics in recent memory when one of its residents, Thomas Eric Duncan, died in 2014 from the Ebola virus – the first known case in the United States. Every last person in the U.S. seemed convinced that everyone in the apartment was going to wind up with the gruesome, nightmarish illness that turns your insides into coffee grounds. So instead of grieving the loss of their loved one in peace, the family inside the Ivy Apartments became the subject of a macabre voyeurism – so in need of protection that most photos of the place (taken of course in 2014) have a police car cruising through them.
9) 1914 Commerce Street: Tina Turner Liberates Herself from Ike
The historic Statler Hilton, built in 1956 to great acclaim for construction and amenity innovations, was chosen for this list because it was the first U.S. hotel to feature elevator music, a stunning Dallas contribution if there ever was one. It was also the first hotel in the country to have TVs in every room. And it’s reportedly where Ike and Tina split when they were in town in 1976 for a show at the Statler. She slipped away down the fire-exit stairs while he slept, reportedly carrying a gas card and 36 cents.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
10) 2036 Commerce Street: Office of a Pioneering Doctor
The Bluitt Sanitarium was the first hospital facility in Dallas for African-American patients, created by Benjamin Bluitt, who was the first African-American surgeon in Texas. Bluitt was born to former slaves near Mexia, Texas, and moved to Dallas after school in 1888. Bluitt was a community leader, both in politics and in the medical profession. In 1906, the same year he served as president of the Lone Star Medical Association, Bluitt was licensed to operate “Bluitt’s Sanitarium.” He closed the sanitarium in 1914 and moved his office to Deep Ellum. In 1916, he moved his medical practice into the Knights of Pythias Temple in Deep Ellum. The original Commerce Street building is now a designated Dallas landmark.