Freed slaves began living in Tenth Street after the Civil War ended. Many were thought to be former slaves of William Brown Miller, a prominent Dallas cotton farmer. In 1880 the Elizabeth Chapel was established, and in 1886 a school opened at what is now the corner of 12th and Lancaster Streets.
Extensive settlement began when T.L. Marsalis platted the neighborhood in 1890. Dallas' 12th historic district was adopted in 1993. One of the only remaining intact Freedman's Towns in the nation.
It is a cohesive collection of modest folk and vernacular dwellings dating from the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. In this neighborhood there are 257 domestic structures, four commercial structures, three institutional structures and one cemetery.
The Tenth Street District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Contributing structures in the 1993 ordinance designating this district as historic have vanished because of court-ordered demolitions.
Former dwelling places, built by and for the people who used to live here, were deemed "nuisance properties" and erased — about 80 out of the 257 that were still standing two decades ago.
City officials are considering several options, including a six-month demolition time-out and a revisiting of the historic-overlay ordinance that dictates what kinds of materials must be used to repair and reconstruct century-old-and-older shotguns in deep disrepair.
For more information contact: