The Junius Heights Historic District is working to save a piece of neighborhood history by finding a new home for the trolley car at the closed Spaghetti Warehouse.
When the restaurant shut its doors in October, members of the historic district inquired about what would become of the trolley that helped create the neighborhood in 1906, when residents started riding the street car to reach land being developed on the east side of Dallas.
The trolley became the go-to spot for residents to celebrate the neighborhood’s heritage. Each year, they’d have drinks and dinner in the street car at the eatery.
Neighbors would like to see the icon returned to the neighborhood or relocated to a new home where it will be preserved, said Junius Heights board member Matt Wood.
“Our goal the whole time was that the trolley would continue to exist,” Wood said. “We don’t want it torn down or cut up. We could go buy it, but we’re not in a position to pay for all of it, and we don’t have a final destination for it.”
There was talk of relocating the trolley to a pocket park or the Lakewood Shopping Center, but those plans never materialized, said Rene Schmidt, president of the Junius Heights Historic District.
“We do want it back in East Dallas because it’s one of our icons,” Schmidt said. “It’s well preserved and in good condition. The woodwork inside is incredible.”
On Oct. 29, the trolley sold at an auction of Spaghetti Warehouse items for $3,125 to Bidder #23941, CultureMap reported. Under the terms of the auction, the bidder, who has not been identified by name, will have to pay for its removal from the restaurant. That will require the partial removal and rebuilding of a brick wall, meaning the final cost will be much higher.
“We weren’t interested in bidding on the terms currently proposed, but we’re eager to partner with anybody and leverage our status as a neighborhood association,” Wood said. “They’d have the eternal gratitude of the largest historic district in Texas.”
Wood said a partnership could come in the form of a monetary donation or collaboration on a public relations initiative with the bidder.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.