Last month, we drove around the perimeter of Historic Old East Dallas along Central Expressway, Interstate 30, White Rock Creek and Lake, and Mockingbird Lane.

We visited the Arts District, Farmers’ Market, Fair Park, Tenison Memorial Park, White Rock Park, Oak Lawn and the State-Thomas Historic District – all within easy driving distance for East Dallasites.

Now, let’s look at what’s inside Old East Dallas. Today, we’ll view only the neighborhoods and institutions that contribute significantly to the charm, stability or variety of this historic area and are located between Haskell Avenue and Central Expressway/Interstate 30.

Let’s do it the easy way and ride the Flying Red Horse off the Magnolia Building!

First, we cross Central at Bryan Place, where houses and condominiums cluster around lush Exall Park. Bryan Place residents love their charming homes, close-knit neighborhood and proximity to practically everything.

Off to the north, across Ross Avenue, a small African-American neighborhood anchored by the Roseland Homes Housing Project and Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church strives valiantly to provide safe, comfortable housing for its low-income residents.

Continuing across Live Oak, we fly over the eight-block Victorian village housing the Meadows Foundation, the Center for Non-Profit Management, D’Art and a score of Dallas’ most effective community service organizations.

The beautifully restored houses, surrounded by authentic period gardens, lamp posts, pergolas, and picket fences, are a delight to the eye, especially when viewed against the backdrop of Downtown’s dramatic skyline.

As we soar across Hall Street at Gaston Avenue, we see below us the Baylor University Medical Center campus, internationally recognized for its leadership in medical treatment and research, and in innovative hospital management.

The Center’s 14 patient-care facilities, seven related buildings and parking areas cover much of the district bounded by Washington, Hall, Swiss and Elm Streets.

Continuing up Gaston to North Washington, we see to the South two of Baylor’s most handsome and most recent additions – the Baptist General Convention of Texas Headquarters and the Tom Landry Sports Medicine and Research Center. The Landry Center is nationally recognized as a leader in its field. The luxurious Fitness Center offers memberships to the health-conscious.

Looking beyond the Baylor Campus to the South, we can just make out the Deep Ellum area along Elm, Main and Commerce Streets. Surely, you’re already familiar with Deep Ellum’s superb restaurants and funky shops!

Continuing up Gaston after crossing Washington, the verdant, well-kept 17-acre campus of Dallas Theological Seminary, with its impressive entrances on both Swiss and Live Oak, is visible to the North.

The Seminary recently purchased the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church buildings on Swiss at Haskell. This addition will provide the 1,200 students with an inspiring chapel and a cafeteria.

Beyond the Seminary, City Place’s 52-story office tower rises dramatically into view. Its nearby apartment project is fully leased and a second phase is planned.

Particularly exciting is tree-lined Haskell Parkway at City Place. Neighborhood and institutional interests joined forces last year to ensure its extension was included in Dallas’ Transportation Plan.

These long-range plans call for the Parkway to extend nearly to Interstate 30 with a hike and bike trail, and possibly trolley tracks, along the right-of-way, creating an effective, vibrant buffer between commercial and residential neighborhoods.

This concludes our tour for today. We’ll take a more detailed look at some of these significant institutions and activities in future columns. They exude vitality and permanence and reflect a commitment to long-range planning that bodes well for their future, and that of Old East Dallas.

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