Ruthmeade Place was part of Thomas Marsalis' grand scheme for his Oak Cliff suburb in 1887. Originally called Dallas Land and Loan #2, it was annexed to the city of Dallas in 1889, as building commenced in Land and Loan #1. The depression of 1893 ended not only Marsalis' dream, but also delayed Ruthmeades' development until around 1905.
As a result, Ruthmeade is easily distinguishable from Land and Loan #1 by the housing. The older addition is late Victorian, with a number of multi-story Queen Anne-style homes. With its proliferation of one-story bungalows, Ruthmeade clearly reflected the new century. Older dwellings show a Victorian influence with steep gables and a few bay windows. But, the majority of the homes are two and three bedroom bungalows on small lots. They show their Craftsman and Prairie roots by way of low-pitched gabled rooflines, front porches and thick columns. Pine or oak floors are common, and a number of double-hung windows still have their old wavy glass. Building continued into the 1930s with a number of schoolteachers settling here, including Millard Filmore, Dallas Superintendent of Schools in 1907. The old Page Drug store chain was named for the pharmacist who once lived in the neighborhood.
Today, Ruthmeade is home to a diverse population that is determined to restore its integrity. The neighborhood association has sought status as a conservation district, and it remains a remarkably intact single family area. As more attention is paid to the founding neighborhoods of Old Oak Cliff, Ruthmeade Place will continue to attract urban pioneers eager to restore this fine example of early 20th century development. The area is convenient, prices are reasonable, and the selection of bungalows invites a closer look.
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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