Branding a neighborhood

Lakewood Hills Neighborhood Association president Stewart Cockrell, left, says the neighborhood had an “identity crisis.” Neighbor Walter Soza designed the neighborhood’s new sign toppers. Photos by Can Türkyilmaz

How Gastonwood/Coronado Hills became Lakewood Hills

“Where do you live?” It’s usually the first question in a casual conversation between Dallasites who are getting acquainted. And the answer, most often, is not a street name or a landmark, but the name of a neighborhood. So what happens if you live in an unfamiliar neighborhood? That was the problem for Gastwonwood/Coronado Hills, a small neighborhood of roughly 550 homes on four streets south of Gaston and mostly west of East Grand — Clayton, Casa Loma, Coronado and La Vista. “What kept coming up is, we have an identity crisis. Nobody knows who we are and where we are,” says neighborhood association president Stewart Cockrell. “Some people call us the C Streets, and nobody knew our real name.” Gastonwood/Coronado Hills had been the official name since the neighborhood association formed in 1981, and was a conflation of a couple smaller neighborhoods that came together, Cockrell says. But nearly 30 years later, the name was still not commonly known — plus, Gastonwood/Coronado Hills doesn’t easily fit on a street sign topper. Referring to “the C Streets” began in the ’80s as a response to Realtors who began trying to distinguish streets in Greenland Hills by calling them “the M Streets,” says Jeanette Crumpler, who has lived in her home on La Vista since 1960. “The Realtors who were pushing buying in this area said, ‘No, you want to buy on the C Streets,’ ” Crumpler says. To quell the name confusion, the board decided to take a vote, and sent surveys out to residents with three choices: Lakewood Hills, Coronado Hills or keep it Gastonwood/Coronado Hills. The winner was Lakewood Hills. That was two years ago, and in the time since, the neighborhood association has added Lakewood Hills street sign toppers as well as sculptural monuments at three of the main entrances. The neighborhood utilized its own talents for the designs — noted sculptor David Hickman, who lives on Coronado, created the monuments, and graphic designer Walter Soza, a La Vista resident, fashioned the sign toppers. The signage has enhanced neighborhood pride quite a bit, Cockrell says, and the new name is starting to catch on. “The feedback I’ve heard from the real estate agents in our area has been pretty fantastic in terms of being able to sell,” Cockrell says. “I guess it’s just about branding.”

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  • Creationchild

    This is SO GREAT! I lived in G/CH for 13 years and was Pres of the NA for 3 of those. We brought this before the residents SO MANY TIMES and actually had a vote once- which turned out with the majority of residents wanting it kept as THE MOUTHFUL OF ROCKS neighborhood. Even the police who worked our beat called it the C Streets for simplicity’s sake. I am so proud and happy that you all were able to take this extremely important step to a usable attractive identity for the FANTASTIC neighborhood that it is. I cherish my time there- and the wonderful residents- and always will! GOOD JOB!  

  • Beth Kahlich

    Wow! Two of my favorite people mentioned in the same article! It’s awesome what you guys are doing for your great neighborhood.