As 2021 comes to a close, we’re looking back on all that has happened during the year.
We’ve reported on news involving crime, dining, education, health, local government, zoning issues and more.
Some of the topics we have written about weren’t breaking news. They told of our neighborhood’s history. They showed which items East Dallasites are buying and selling, what pieces we have as yard art or even how we celebrate the holidays.
There was much to learn this year. Of all the articles we wrote, there were a few that received more attention than the rest.
Here are the 10 most popular stories of 2021.
“A modern beauty rises above the shore of White Rock Lake,” we wrote in the story published in our March issue. “Perched on a hill in The Peninsula neighborhood, the three-story home offers treetop views and panoramic scenes of the lake from its rooftop deck.”
This was the most-read story we published in 2021.
On Facebook, some people marveled at the home, commenting “beautiful” or a simple heart eye emoji. But others had a different reaction.
“Why would I want to look at something we cannot afford?” Ken Sparks asked. “Makes no sense. I will take my toys and move to East Texas and live a quiet life without the city hustle and traffic.”
Read about the Perch Haus here.
2. Will we get a Whataburger?
In March, we reported that a Whataburger would be built at Arboretum Village on Gaston Avenue.
Neighbors’ responses ranged from excitement to resentment.
“Hope you like cold burgers,” William Lane commented on our Facebook post.
“More Whataburger is always better than less Whataburger imo,” Brandon Daiker wrote.
“When we have a Liberty Burger, (and can get a garden or Impossible Burger) why is this a celebration?” Scot Mantague asked. “Whataburger is such low quality food that has an oversized rep due to its Texas roots.”
That began a series of stories that followed the progress on the restaurant.
We kept writing about the case through November, when the City Council sent the case back to the City Plan Commission. That happened because the public notices to surrounding landowners for the initial Plan Commission public hearing were incorrectly prepared.
Read the story here.
3. Keep supporting Jimmy’s Food Store
Jimmy’s Food Store.
Jimmy’s Food Store in Old East Dallas is a neighborhood destination for all things Italian.
So when Eataly, a chain store, expanded to Dallas, one neighbor shared a “law”: If you can buy something at Jimmy’s and Eataly, buy it at Jimmy’s.
Facebook followers appreciated the support for our local store.
“Jimmy’s is a Dallas treasure,” Nina Payán wrote. “Not only because of the amazing market and deli, but because they are our neighbors and friends.”
“Our Christmas dinners wouldn’t be the same without Jimmy’s, bless that spicy Italian sausage and a Dallas icon,” Molly Benavides Galbraith added.
See the “law” here.
Photo by Danny Fulgencio.
This one wasn’t actually published in 2021. We originally included it in a 2019 magazine issue, but neighbors just can’t get enough.
It’s about the descendants of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde. Lakewood residents Charles Heard and Sherry Childress became friends with Rhea Leen Linder, the niece of Bonnie Parker, who wanted to move Bonnie’s grave next to Clyde’s.
Read the story here.
When we published this story in February, about 14,000 customers in East Dallas were without power because of rotating power outages caused by the snowstorm.
Neighbors kept letting us know on Facebook how long they had been without power at home and what they were dealing with — inside temperatures in the 40s, frozen pipes, unable to heat anything, pets suffering.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) started the outages because of record-breaking demand for electricity.
Read the story here.
6. Neighbors helping neighbors
Four local restaurants joined together to support Greenville Avenue Pizza Co. manager David Stigall, whose wife, Ashley, died unexpectedly on Christmas 2020.
On one day in January 2021, the pizza place and Goodfriend Beer Garden, Goodfriend Package and One90 Smoked Meats decided to donate a portion of their sales to the Stigall family.
Read more about the good work here.
7. History of The Village
Construction of the eventual 17 sets of apartment neighborhoods of The Village began in 1968.
It now has about 7,300 apartment units, and at any given time, about 11,000 people live there.
“Best times of my life. 1969 to 1974,” Yvonne Halphen told us on Facebook.
We explored the history of The Village with data, anecdotes, photos and more, and we published it in our October issue.
Read our full report here.
8. Conservation district construction
House on Vanderbilt Avenue. Photo by Renee Umsted.
Earlier this month, we introduced you to Kerry Johnson.
Johnson moved into a home on Vanderbilt Avenue in February, not knowing it was located in a conservation district.
She painted the exterior brick, which put her on the City of Dallas’ radar. Then she realized she had to replace a couple windows. Eventually, she ended up with a warrant issued for her arrest.
Some neighbors on Facebook were sympathetic. Others weren’t.
“Maybe ignoring multiple notices from the city is an extremely bad idea?” Jason Blair commented.
“I’m glad the city is focusing on things like this instead of tackling actual crime,” Christopher Gambino wrote.
There are plenty more details to know. Read them here.
9. Development at Garland Road Thrift Store
Photography by Sam Gillespie.
In June, we reported on a development planned for the Garland Road Thrift Store site.
The development, Casa View Court, would combine single-family, duplex and apartment living in one neighborhood. A community lawn with grills, benches, play areas and shade coverings would be located in the center of the property.
Members of the Greater Casa View Alliance supported the development, but readers had mixed opinions on Facebook.
“I never thought of further ruining East Dallas in such a deliberately trashy fashion, bravo,” Peter Doll wrote.
“This looks like a fantastic development,” John Smart wrote. “No wonder everyone supports it. Thanks to Larkspur for all of the improvements they’re bringing to East Dallas.”
The development was set to be discussed at the City Plan Commission meeting Dec. 16.
Read our initial reporting here.
Photography courtesy of Elliott Snedden.
The snowstorm caused grief, damage and devastation. But one benefit was that our neighborhood was turned into a winter wonderland.
With days of below-freezing temperatures and inches of snow, our neighborhood was blanketed in white.
See more photos here.