In the "English Commons" tradition of clustering houses around a series of open private parkways, Greenway Parks was an innovative concept intended to be like no other suburb in the U.S.
It is just the sort of wonderful place that once was home to neighbors like Dr. Robert Sparkman who, in the 1960's, placed a magnolia blossom on top of his Wenonah neighbor's newspaper as he retrieved it from their yard and delivered it to the doorstep on his early morning walk.
Many thanks to Lorraine Goodman, Linda Ingraham, Trudy Kennedy, Betty Campbell, Elizabeth Boeckman, Dorothy Johnston Lindsley, Pat Miller, John Seay, Emma Dana and Donell Wiggins for sharing their wonderful knowledge and memories from the past with me.
- Mary Jo Forbes, Author
Greenway Parks, Dallas, Texas, 75209, has approximately 300 families who call this unusual neighborhood "home". For years, residents have found the neighborhood so appealing that homes are often passed down from one generation to the next. Children who have grown up and moved away move "home" again to raise their children; other families move from one house to another within its boundaries. Architecturally, it encompasses the styles of seven decades including romantic revival storybook styles of the 1920's , postwar modern Bauhaus interpretations, sprawling ranch houses of the 1950's, and the large European-inspired homes of the late 90's and early 2000's. Fortunately, it has never experienced a period of decline sometimes associated with older neighborhoods and continues to enjoy vitality as houses are up-dated or, sadly, in some cases, replaced. A strong Homeowners Association and well-defined, deed restrictions have helped to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood.
In April 29, 1925 F.N. Drane, a Corsicana, Texas investor and J.P.Stephenson, a Dallas entrepreneur, purchased a coffee pot-shaped tract of land on the north side of a little dirt road named Mockingbird Lane. the tract was bound by Lovers Lane to the north, The Saint Louis and Southwest Rail Road (now the North Dallas Toll road) to the east and a yet unnamed country road (variously called Lindsley Lane and Porter Road), later given the name Inwood Road to the west,plus a triangular parcel to the east of the rail road track, south of University Blvd. Known as the Sarah Duke farm, Drane and Stephenson paid $276,467.00 for the land, and another $4,483.69 to Central Bitulithic in order to pave Mockingbird Lane, with the intention of developing the tiny farm into an exclusive cosmopolitan suburban neighborhood.
David Williams, a native Texas architect, spent the early years of his career (1916 to 1923) in Mexico designing projects for American oil companies. When Williams moved back to the states and settled in Dallas, some of his former college acquaintances, who were working for the Dallas Morning News, wrote a series of articles about his work and experiences in Mexico and in Europe. Among his early projects was Aguila Colony, Tampico, a planned residential neighborhood where the houses were oriented around a park-like setting rather than in a more traditional grid arrangement. Drane and Stephenson read the news stories about Williams. Intrigued with idea of building a neighborhood around an English-style common green. They commissioned Williams for their new project.
From Mockingbird Lane, Williams designed two triangular park entrances for East and West Greenway Boulevards which merge gracefully into one wide central boulevard bisecting the neighborhood from Montrose Drive north to Wenonah Drive. From there it again divides into East and West Greenway Boulevards. Gently curving streets with off-set intersections cut through the development from east to west. A series of private parkways were placed down the center of the first four long blocks, giving the neighborhood its distinctive look and name. Williams envisioned the homes on these blocks facing the interior greens, with service entrances on the back (street) side.
|5510 Nakoma, the first house in Greenway Parks was built for developer Porter Lindsley and his family in 1925.
||The Parkway entrance of 5530 Waneta built for Lindsley Water in 1931. The early homes were designed so that the more formal entrance faced the parkway.
||5530 Waneta as seen from the street is a little more casual in feel. This entrance was intended to be the service entrance with a circular drive and garage to the right. It was the long time home of Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Meadows.|
The streets were given mostly Native American names - Waneta meaning, "charger"; Nakoma (Chippewa) meaning "promise me"; Wenonah, "first born daughter" in the Lakota language; Neola, possibly a variation of the Navajo word, "Neol" meaning"storm"; and Wateka which is simply an American Indian girl's name. Drane was of course for F.N. Drane and why Montrose was included is unknown. The smaller parks as well as the land to the east of the railroad were simply given letters. The land east of the railroad (which was eventually incorporated into Highland Park) was Park A, the park between east and west Greenway Boulevard on the south side of Drane Drive (now Stemmons Park) was Park B and the park between east and west Greenway Boulevard on the north side of Montrose is Park C. The property north of West University Blvd. was set aside for a stable and dump as there were no city services in the unincorporated area.
Porter Lindsley of J.W. Lindsley & Company was chosen to develop and sell the subdivision. Stephenson, Drane and Lindsley took David Williams' plan to Kansas City for renowned Kansas City residential planner, Jesse C. Nichols, to review. Nichols designed the innovative and highly successful Country Club Plaza, America's first suburban shopping center. He encouraged the men in their venture, assuring them that he considered the concept to be another "first" for the times.
Until the 1960's, Park A remained undeveloped.Because our covenant specified that any undeveloped land must revert to the original owner when the development became a self-governing Homeowners Association, the newly-formed HOA decided to sell Park A to the City of Highland Park with the stipulation that they develop it as a park for the use of Greenway residents as well as those of Highland Park. Thus it became Germany Park, named for a former mayor of Highland Park. On July 4,1999, Park "B", (At Greenway Blvd. and Drane Dr.), was dedicated to John and Ruth Stemmons, long time community leaders, residents and benefactors of Greenway Parks.