Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Oak Cliff, Texas
Oak Cliff was a town located in Dallas County, Texas, that was annexed by the neighboring city of Dallas in 1903. It has since retained a distinct neighborhood identity within the city. According to the 1900 census, the town had a total population of 3,640.
By the 1980s, Oak Cliff had become the predominant African-American neighborhood in Dallas. Today, many of its residents are poor, and the section of the city has had difficulty keeping up with the fast-paced economy of North Dallas. However, in the early 2000s, SBC Communications built a regional call center in the sparse western portion of the community, and a slew of major retailers have set up shop along Interstate 30.
Early rise and fall
The community on the south bank of the Trinity River was called Hord's Ridge by its original residents in 1845. In 1887, a pair of land speculators bought all the land of the community with the intent of developing an elite residential and vacation community. The town incorporated in 1890, with a population of 2,470.
The investors quickly built the town's amenities and infrastructure, but the Panic of 1893 erased the prosperity the town had been designed to exploit. As the market for vacation communities disappeared, one of the investors was forced into bankruptcy, and the town's large, exclusive lots were divided into parcels for sale to middle- and working class buyers.
Oak Cliff's annexation by neighboring Dallas came in 1903, after three years of unsuccessful attempts by annexation backers. The final vote was 201 to 183 in favor.
Oak Cliff neighborhood milestones
- The Southland Ice Company began selling eggs and milk from their store at 12th and Edgefield in 1927. The first convenience store would eventually become known as 7-Eleven.
- Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the criminal duo known more informally as Bonnie and Clyde, met in Oak Cliff in the 1930s. Barrow is buried in an Oak Cliff cemetery.
- Blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn was born in Oak Cliff in 1954. The lyrics of his song "Tick Tock" are engraved in the bricks of DART's Hampton Station. Pop singer Edie Brickell (married to Paul Simon) is also from the area.
- Lee Harvey Oswald was captured at the Texas Theater on Jefferson Avenue after assassinating U. S. President John F. Kennedy and killing Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit on November 22, 1963.
- The Handbook of Texas Online, "Oak Cliff, Texas"
- A Brief History of Oak Cliff at oakcliff.com
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