OTHER SIGNIFICANT PROJECTS

Sample document to include in your HOA newsletter

Volunteer information


Many seasonal pruning projects by Stan Altschuler, Jace Carrington, Mike Sweeney, Gene Morrison, Ann Murphy and her many volunteers,
Rod Scales and others (did we miss you? Let us know!)

Prospective Eagle Scouts have taken on projects along the trail.

 
DESIGN TASK FORCE
The Friends provided input to the City of Dallas Parks & Recreation Department to develop the Trail's architectural specifications, landscaping, amenities, signage, and expansion. The following people are acknowledged for their assistance:
 
  • Rod Scales (Highlands North), Chair - Friends Vice President/Design, civil engineer, headed real estate development firm, and former member of City of Dallas Public Art Task Force.
  • Matt Bach (Holiday Park) - Friends VP/Safety & Beautification, president of his HOA, member of City of Dallas Board of Adjustment, and past president of RANDCO.
  • Mike Donahue (Prestonwood) - Environmental Health & Safety Consultant and active in HOA.
  • Becky Elam (Spring Creek) - Realtor with Ebby Halliday and community volunteer.
  • Rich Morgan (Highlands of McKamy) - An architect, past president of the AIA Dallas, led Trinity River Corridor Design Study, and member of Regional Transit Council of NCTCOG.
  • Cori Pratt (Highlands North) - President of the Friends, former president of her HOA, former Bowie Elementary teacher, and active community leader.
  • Rodney Schlosser, ex-officio (Highlands I & II) - Vice President/Community Relations of the Friends, Member of the Library Board, and VP of his HOA.
  • Michael Voit (Preston Highlands) - An architect who is LEED Accredited (Environmental Design).

 

HISTORY PROJECT
Are you a local history buff or are you willing to do a little research? The Friends of Preston Ridge Trail is collecting brief and interesting historical facts related to the neighborhoods the Trail passes. This information will be incorporated into the design of the Trail as a way to add interest to the Trail experience and to strengthen our neighborhood identities. The Friends organization is also considering placing small historical markers at key spots along the Trail. Here are two examples that relate to the southern end of the trail:
A friendly tribe of native Americans known as the Yoiuane of the Caddo group lived in this area and used nearby Bowser Spring for their water supply. After T.F. McKamy, a prominent early settler and Richardson's first mayor, bought the land, the spring became known as McKamy Spring.

Coit Road was named to honor John Taylor Coit who trained confederate recruits at Trinity Mills, a town near Carrollton.
The Friends needs similar facts about parks, schools, neighborhoods, settlers, railroads, streets, or other elements related to the trail route. If you have knowledge about the area or are willing to do some research, contact Rich Morgan at (972) 248-0755 or remorgan@sbcglobal.net.


Here is some interesting information we have gathered so far, from which trail markers may be derived. We welcome your additions to these facts.

A Personal History of Northwood Hills : 1959-1999 by Stewart and Marion Mitchell (edited for aspects relating to the Trail, sourced from NHHA website)

In 1959, Coit and Hillcrest were two-lane country roads. Spring Valley west of Coit was just a blueprint. And there were nothing but cotton fields all the way north to Belt Line Road. On both sides of Meandering Way, scores of new houses were framing up. What brought it all about was a bold idea by three men, George Mixon, George Mixon, Jr. and Bill Troth. They envisioned a real estate development of greater magnitude and risk than ever before attempted in the Dallas area -- more than 800 acres of luxury homes ranging in price from $40,000 to $200,000.

The land that was to become phase one of Northwood Hills had been in the George Drewery family for three generations prior to its purchase by developers Mixon & Troth in 1955. The initial tract of 450 acres was huge by real estate standards back then. It took a lot of vision and guts to gamble on a luxury home addition of such scale and risk. A major factor driving the developers was the sheer beauty of the site. Bordered on the west by a branch of White Rock Creek, and containing a small tree-lined tributary, graced with gently sloping hills and native trees, the land was richly contoured and elevated above the surrounding plains.

Capitalizing on their site's natural beauty, the developers chose to enhance it by laying out the streets in gentle curves and graceful bends. Mixon & Troth stuck to their vision, described in a 1957 newspaper story as "the first post-war attempt to duplicate a 'Park Cities' environment for distinctive home sites." There was nothing else like it in the burgeoning North Dallas real estate market.

Financial conditions at the time kept making decisions more difficult. Interest rates were rising, and financing was complicated by a regulation prohibiting commercial banks from lending money on unimproved land. One of the "Big Three" banks that dominated Dallas at that time ultimately backed the venture. To help pay for initial streets and paved alleys, Mixon & Troth sold thirty acres of their land at the northwest corner of Spring Valley and Coit Road to Trammell Crow for a shopping center. The Crow interests later decided to limit the center to five acres and build luxury apartments on the rest.

The neighborhood comes of age

As the seventies flew past in a blur of growth and development, the missing link in Spring Valley Road was built connecting it from Coit Road to west of Hillcrest (where for years it dead-ended at White Rock Creek for lack of a bridge). The Northwood Hills Addition spread north all the way to Belt Line. Across Hillcrest, Northwood Hills Estates was sprouting new 3,000 to 3,500 square-foot homes on half-acre lots. In order to fund these new sections, developers Mixon & Troth sold thirty acres to the City of Dallas for Fretz Park, named for an early Dallas architect responsible for several landmark city government buildings. By the arrival of the fateful eighties, Northwood Hills had achieved distinction as a mature, highly desirable neighborhood.


FRANKFORD, TEXAS. Frankford was nine miles northwest of Richardson in extreme southwestern Collin County. Settlement of the area began around a campsite on the Shawnee Trailqv near a small spring on Halls Branch, used in the 1850s and 1860s as a stopping point and watering hole for traildrivers and other travelers. A small town developed after the Civil Warqv at the nearby crossing of the Addison and Weber roads (later known respectively as the Dallas North Tollroad and Hilton Head Road), and a post office opened on May 11, 1880, under the name Frankford. By 1890 the town had a population of eighty-three, a steam gristmill, a corn mill, a cotton gin, a blacksmith shop, two general stores, and three churches. The St. Louis Southwestern Railway bypassed the town in the late 1880s, however, and many Frankford residents moved to Addison, Plano, and other nearby communities. In 1904 the Frankford post office was closed, and in 1907 its lodge hall, which had served as a nondenominational church, was moved to Addison. A second church, built in the 1890s, continued to serve a predominantly Methodist congregation until 1924. By the mid-1930s the town was no longer shown on county highway maps. Its church building was restored in 1963 by the Frankford Cemetery Association, which arranged for the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion to worship there. The city of Dallas annexed the area in 1975, and in 1990 local children attended the Plano schools. All that remained of the community in 1990 was the Frankford Church and Cemetery, adjoined by residences on three sides and by the Bent Tree Country Club to the south.

Frankford community, including a still existing church and cemetery, developed in the mid-1800s in the southwestern corner of Collin County on Halls Branch, a tributary of White Rock Creek. In the 1850s and 1860s travelers detoured from Preston Road, oldest North-South route in North Texas, to camp in their covered wagons by a spring on Halls Branch on the Shawnee Trail. Residences and the Bent Tree Country Club near the present Dallas North Tollway and Weber Road now cover the area. A post office that served the community from 1890 to 1904 was built at the crossing of Addison and Weber Roads. Records state that "by 1890 the town had a population of eighty-three, a steam gristmill, a corn mill, a cotton gin, a blacksmith shop, two general stores, and three churches." The Post Office gave the community the official name of "Frankford" when it opened on May 11, 1880. Stories collected by Collin County historian Frances Wells speculate that the name Frankford described a "ford" or shallow crossing over the creek that was "frank" or free with respect to conditions or restrictions for crossing. Thus "Frankford" might mean a ford available for public use. Another story attributes the name Frank to the name of a settler's son, Frank Cotton.

The history of the community's cemetery and church is closely associated with Masonic Lodge 234, chartered June 15, 1858. Members of the lodge built a two story lodge hall in 1872 on land owned by Capt. William C. McKamy, a Tennessee immigrant who arrived in present Dallas County, Texas, in 1852. McKamy bought a land, home and mill on the White Rock Creek from Peters Colonists. McKamy was a member of the Masonic Lodge 234 and sold the lodge five acres for church and school uses in 1873 for ten dollars an acre.

The Hall, as the old-timers called the building, served as a religious, fraternal, and educational community center. The second floor of the Hall was reserved for lodge meetings while the first floor was used for school and non-denominational church services. One former student, William Furneaux of Carrollton, remembered going to school at the Hall in 1875 when W. H. Alexander and his wife taught about 75 pupils there. Since some of the students lived in Dallas County, Mrs. Alexander took the primary grades across the creek into Dallas County and taught them in a farm tenant house in order to collect Dallas County school money. Another teacher, J. S. Allen is listed in a record of Collin County free public schools as receiving $84.95 from the county in 1880 to operate the Frankford School.

The St. Louis southwestern Railway bypassed the town in the late 1880s, and many Frankford residents moved to Addison, Plano, and other nearby communities. In 1904 the Frankford post office was closed, and in 1907 its lodge hall, which had served as a church and school, was moved to Addison. A second church, built in the late 1890s, continued to serve a predominantly Methodist congregation until 1924. By the mid-1930s the town was no longer shown on the county highway maps. Frankford Church lay vacant and deteriorating until 1962 when Episcopal services of the Church of the Holy Communion began to be held in the building. Today the restored church and carefully tended cemetery are nestled in a picturesque setting which includes a wooden bridge across the creek at the entrance to the 13-acre grounds and a windmill. A parish hall that was originally the old Addison Railroad station sits next to the white church. New buildings constructed by the Episcopal Church are also on the original grounds. Both the church and cemetery have Texas State Historical Markers.


RENNER, TEXAS. Renner, a half mile west of State Highway 289 in southwestern Collin County, was established in 1888 as a stop on the Cotton Belt line (officially known as the St. Louis Southwestern Railway of Texas). The community was named for John A. Renner, a railroad engineer in charge of developing townsites along the Cotton Belt line. A post office was established in 1888 to serve the fifty residents of Renner, and within twenty years the town became a commercial and community center for area farmers. In 1915 its population reached 300, a figure that was not surpassed until 1965. The Great Depressionqv and the development of mechanized farming contributed to a sharp decline in population, and by 1947 Renner had 100 residents and two businesses. After World War IIqv the Texas Research Foundation,qv a nonprofit agricultural research organization, selected Renner as the site of its agricultural laboratories. From 1950 to the late 1960s the population of Renner grew steadily, reaching 394 in 1969. After 1977 the Texas Almanacqv no longer listed it as an independent community, and by 1983 Renner had been incorporated into the city of Dallas.


One source recalled that Bill Blakely owned about 1000 acres, was quite wealthy but later came on hard times after developing Exchange Park near Parkland hospital. McCallum's aunt owned about 1000 acres where Preston Trails Golf Club is now located. Blakely used to ride his horses on the ranch where Meandering Way resides (there is some uncertainty as to whether Blakely's land went east of Hillcrest or all the way to Coit) on Sundays, dressed in his church suit, tie, boots and hat. The McCallum's shared the profits of running horses on the land. The land was sold to Pollard-Simon, a national developer who then sold tracts to a partnership of Metropolitan Savings and Talmadge Tinsley to build houses. His recollection of Renner was that it was bounded by McCallum, Frankford, a little west of Coit, and Meandering Way on the west. There was an old grocery store in the downtown area where the old-timers would play dominoes.


Another source said Bill Blakely owned the land where the trail resides; he was an Arapaho Indian, thus the name for Arapaho Road. Bill was an oil and gas man, had no heirs and was believed to have left the land to SMU. The McCallum's ran cattle on the land. Their farmhouse was east of Preston in the vicinity of where Brentfield is now. "It was just open country; you could piss off the front steps and shoot out the back."


The developer of Northwood Hills mentioned that the land on Meandering Way north of Belt Line was owned by Bill Blakely (an investor in Braniff Airlines? and involved in Exchange (park) Bank and Trust?, and when LB Johnson resigned the Senate seat to become VP, William Blakely was appointed Senator for Texas, until beaten by John Tower in 1961). It was thought that the Meandering Way land was donated to SMU by Blakely as he had no heirs. Whoever eventually developed the land was believed to have done it in the late 1960's with Dallas Federal Savings and Loan. DFSL would take a piece of the equity for lending to the developer and then get the title insurance and mortgages on the new houses. Bill Troth developed the duplexes along Belt Line east of Meandering Way. There was no school district until it was annexed into RISD. Meandering Way was built to Belt Line in late 1960's. In the late 1950's there was a drive-in movie on Arapaho between Meandering Way and Hillcrest. It was gone by the early 1970's. There was a grocery store at Alpha and Hillcrest. Metropolitan Savings and Loan and Warren Clarke were involved in development of the residential area near Bowie School.

From the Internet: Baylor Law Library Rare Book Room (Sheridan and John Eddie Williams Legal research and Technology Center) - The majority of this collection was made possible through the generosity of two distinguished members of the legal community: Judge Frank M. Wilson and U.S. Senator William A. Blakely. Judge Wilson donated his private collection of over 2100 volumes of first editions, rare printings of pre-eminent legal writing, novels and research titles. Senator Blakely presented the library with an early printing of the Magna Carta and several other first editions. These gifts, along with the law school's original collection of rare books, which includes Las Siete Partidas and a nearly complete collection of the session laws of Texas, are housed in this room, located on the second floor of the Law Library in Room 207.

Much early funding for the University of Dallas, Irving, Texas came from Tom Braniff (of Braniff airlines) who underwrote the graduate school, and from William (Bill) Blakely who underwrote the William A. Blakely Library, in the Braniff and Blakely buildings.


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