East Kessler Park
In sight of Dallas’ skyline, East Kessler Park is situated among tree covered hills and criss-crossed by creeks. While affording easy accessibility to any point in Dallas, East Kessler Park remains quiet and secluded, a haven for birds and small wildlife. Most of all, East Kessler Park possesses a sense of community and belonging that is generated by residents, old and new, who take great pride in their very special neighborhood.
Officially established in 1937 by developer Roy Eastus and the Stemmons Family, East Kessler Park is bordered by Sylvan Avenue, North Beckley Avenue, West Colorado Boulevard and I-30 Freeway. The East Kessler Park Neighborhood Association, one of the oldest in the City, was organized in 1950.
Many streets that do not have the word ‘hill’ in them take their names from the generation of real estate magnates who developed the area.
Allison Drive and Stemmons Avenue were named for Leslie Allison Stemmons, the father of John Stemmons whose family once owned most of the land that is now East Kessler Park. Junior Drive was named in honor of Hugh January Jr., the son of Hugh January who was the exclusive sales agent for the original Kessler Park and, later, the developer of East Kessler. In 1933, at age 13, Hugh Jr. died of a heart attack while playing in a neighbor’s yard. The wide expanse of Eastus Drive, named after developer Roy Eastus, was to allow him to make a u-turn without having to stop.
Methodist Hospital was built in 1927 on land donated by the Stemmons family. For many years, East Kessler Park was dubbed ‘Pill Hill’ for its high population of doctors.
The houses in East Kessler Park blend into the chalk cliffs of the hilly, wooded landscape located southwest and within walking distance of downtown Dallas. Streets follow the steep, winding topography of Coombs Creek and Kidd Springs Creek as they meander through the neighborhood on their way to the Trinity River. Popular Kessler Parkway Park and the Coombs Creek walking and bike trail line the northern border.
The residential architectural styles range from late 1930′s Austin stone to ranch, mid-century contemporary to ultra modern. Sizes range from cottages to multi-story houses, including dwellings that climb their hillside lots. Today, East Kessler Park is considered to contain the most eclectic mix of architecture inside the entire city of Dallas.
One of the oldest masonry structures in Dallas County exists in East Kessler Park. S.A. Rush may have begun construction on the house known as ‘The Rock Lodge’ at 1622 Cedar Hill as early as 1850. It is still a residence and obviously built to last as the limestone walls, quarried in the neighborhood, are two feet thick in some places. Legend has it this home was once a stop on the long-established Cedar Hill stagecoach trail. Other homes of particular note include:
• The streamline Art Moderne house, on a bend of Colorado Boulevard at 1302 Cedar Hill, built in 1936 by Dallas Power & Light as the first all-electric residence in the City.
• The 1950’s home at 1411 Cedar Hill built in the shape of the State of Texas.
• The former home and studio of AIA award winning architect David Braden at 1435 Cedar Hill. Occupying a forested slope amid luxuriant vegetation, the cantilevered wood deck is reputedly the first of its kind in Dallas.
• The palatial home at 1707 Rio Vista built in 1940 by Charles Moore, founder of Austin Industries.
Offering a cross section of architecture perched among tree studded limestone cliffs, East Kessler Park is a place of superlative living, unique among Dallas area communities, for ‘Unlike, Like Minded People.’