One of the little-known gems of Oak Cliff, Beckley Club Estates was begun in the 1920s by developer S.A. Temple. Comprised of about 65 homes in a neighborhood bordered by South Beckley Avenue on the west and Ramsey to the east, “Beckley Club the Beautiful” was effusively advertised as “the living place for those who worship at the shrine of the beautiful“.
A quarter-mile south of the Dallas Zoo, Beckley Club is a quiet haven of winding, tree-shaded streets, one-lane bridges and gently sloping hills. Two culs-de-sac, North Shore and South Shore, overlook Cedar Creek.
Defined by natural stone gateways at the entrance at Crestwood, North Shore and South Shore, the development once boasted three artificial lakes—Lake Helen, Lake Junior and Lake Placid—created by damming up the creek. Originally, Beckley Club Estates featured a sales office built to look like a Japanese pagoda. Located in the center of Lake Helen, the sales office could only be reached by footbridge—or boat. Years later, flooding and unsafe conditions prompted the city to dynamite a hole in the dam.
Before his work with Beckley Club, developer S.A. Temple (1879-1968) was also known for his involvement with Kessler Square, parts of University Park and, partnering with Albert Dines and Lee Kraft, Munger Place Heights in Old East Dallas and Country Club Estates in Lakewood.
Perhaps Beckley Club’s most famous resident was Lynn Landrum (1891-1961),longtime columnist for The Dallas Morning News. In his front-page column “Thinking Out Loud,” Landrum frequently wrote of his beloved home on Seevers Avenue, nicknamed Billygoat Hill, and of his wife’s expansive garden.
The original homes feature an eclectic mix of styles ranging from Tudor to Spanish Eclectic. Some of the later homes, built between the mid-1930s and the early 1950s, are a charming mix of brick and stone. Many of the earlier homes feature native stonework and tile roofs.
The Beckley Club Homeowners Association was established in the early 1980s and was resurrected in 2000 to unite neighbors new and old in their love for this unique and handsome area. Along with the adjoining Beckleywood and Cedar Oaks neighborhoods, Beckley Club supports an active crime watch group and works on code enforcement and beautification issues.
Get a limited edition book about old Oak Cliff
Filled with wonderful pictures of fine historic buildings and street scenes, this book shares stories about the beginnings of this great, iconic area of Dallas.
"The Hidden City - Oak Cliff, Texas"
by Bill Minutaglio, Holly Williams