fbpx

Lakewood Boulevard’s first resident looks back on the area’s development

When the annual Lakewood 4th of July Parade proceeds east on Lakewood Boulevard this year, the procession will take its place among the many memories of Eunice Barnett, who lives on the 7200 block of Lakewood Boulevard in one of the first homes built on the street.

Mrs. Barnett’s late husband, Marshall, built the first house on Lakewood Boulevard in the 1920s and Mrs. Barnett (who turned 92 on July 1) and her son, Robert, recently shared some neighborhood history and personal memories.

Mrs. Barnett: “The original Lakewood Boulevard began at Abrams Road and ended at Cambria. My husband, Marshall Barnett, built the first house on this street. Our home was the one that is now the second from the corner of Cambria and Lakewood, on the south side.”

(Editor’s Note: Marshall Barnett, Hugh Prather and Charles Barnett – Marshall’s brother – would later become charter members of the National Association of Homebuilders.)

“My husband would build a home, and we’d move into it and live there until it sold. We didn’t have ‘open houses’ back then. If someone was interested in the property, my husband would bring them into our home. If they liked it, I moved!

“We moved seven times during our first five years of marriage. Out of the first four houses on the original Lakewood Boulevard, we lived in three.”

Robert Barnett: “Dad built this home for mother in 1926. Dines and Kraft, the developers of Lakewood, had opened a second section of Lakewood Boulevard, which began in what is now the 7200 block and extended to the lake. He selected this site for its view of the lake.”

Mrs. Barnett: “There were 75 trees on the property.”

Robert Barnett: “She told my father this was her last move, and she has resided here ever since. There are a few exceptions. We moved to Fort Worth in 1930, when my father was putting up a 12-story building, the largest in Fort Worth, for A.P. Barrett, a Fort Worth businessman.”

(Editor’s Note: At about this time, Marshall Barnett and Barrett purchased a Ford tri-motor plane, secured a government contract and started American Airlines. One of the Barnett’s landings took place on White Rock Lake – with the assistance of pontoons.)

Mrs. Barnett: “There were fields all around us when we moved here in ’26. From Lakewood to Bob-o-Links, there were only fields – and a barbed wire fence across the street.”

Robert Barnett: “Cambria to the 7200 block of Lakewood was undeveloped at that time, so there were fields west of us, too.”

“People enjoyed spending time at their boat-houses, built by the Works Progress Administration in 1935, that still remain where the paddle boats are now located, and those that were privately built on the west side of the inlet. Many of those built by individuals were quite nice, complete with furnished living rooms.”

Mrs. Barnett: “I could go into the front yard and call Marshall for dinner when he was at our boat-house.”

Robert Barnett: “Everyone swam at the lake. My brother and I both learned how to swim down here (he points east to the lake). I swam all over this end of the lake.”

Mrs. Barnett; “Sometimes, we’d pack a picnic basket with sandwiches, get into the boat, and go out on the water. We’d eat our dinner out on the water.”

Robert Barnett: “My main recreation as a child was to walk across (pointing south toward the home’s back yard) to White Rock Stables, where the tennis courts are now. This is where the elite kept their horses. They’d give me pennies, and I’d sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’. I’d get to ride a horse every day.”

The Barnett’s say that most of Lakewood was developed following the Great Depression. C.D. Hutsell, Ray Hubbard, Marshall Barnett, and Dines and Kraft were among the builders.

Among the well-known families who have lived on Lakewood Boulevard during the past 68 years are the Roland Bairds, the Ray Hubbards, the C.D. Hutsells, the George Schepps, the Grady Vaughns, and the Joe Haggars.


WANT MORE?
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.

About the Author: