2. Lancaster Avenue Commercial National Register Historic District c.1910-1944
Construction date of remaining structures 1920-1944
The Lancaster Avenue Commercial Historic District is in the western section of the original township of Oak Cliff, dedicated on October 31, 1887. Roughly bounded by E. Jefferson Boulevard, S. Marsalis, E. 10th Street, E. 9th Street, and N. Lancaster Avenue. The original district was a three block J-shaped area along N. Lancaster and E. Jefferson Boulevard. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
LANCASTER AVENUE COMMERCIAL DISTRICT NATIONAL REGISTER DESIGNATION REPORT
Founders built a streetcar line linking Oak Cliff with downtown Dallas, which ran southeast along Jefferson Boulevard, passing Lancaster Avenue and the Historic District. One of Oak Cliff’s first buildings was a station house for the light rail near the intersection of Lancaster Avenue and 10th Street. Lancaster was an important north-south route, and the intersection at Jefferson became a bustling commercial district to support commuters.
The Lancaster Commercial District became the primary business center in Oak Cliff in the late 19th century. By 1892, a collection of commercial buildings faced Lancaster Avenue and housed eleven stores, including a bakery, plumber and a drugstore. Commercial development along Jefferson Boulevard accelerated in the early 20th Century and new buildings were added to the Commercial District between 1910 and 1944. New construction development replaced older structures and residences, as well as provided infill for vacant properties, pushing the boundary of the district west along Jefferson.
A portion of the designated group of 12 Contributing buildings remain today at the intersection of E. Jefferson and N. Lancaster, built between 1920 and 1930, and designated in 1994. At the time of designation, 5 non-contributing properties included one built after 1944, and four with alterations that compromise the architectural integrity. The buildings along N. Lancaster have been demolished and the remaining contributing structures are parallel with frontage streets on Jefferson, Lancaster and Tenth Street. Art Deco, Mission Revival, Tudor and Spanish Revival styles and are displayed in the grouping, with detailed parapets and finials. Although adorned with bright colors, common characteristics include brick facades, stone or cast stone ornamentation, and multiple-bay wood or glass storefronts with transom windows.
Although none of the remaining buildings date back to the District’s original 19th century development, they are important symbols of the long-standing role Lancaster Avenue Commercial District played in Oak Cliff’s history. The District has been drawn into the Oak Cliff Gateway zoning map and should be protected.
Lancaster Commercial Historic is in the Oak Cliff Gateway - Subdistrict F, Walkable Urban Mixed Use (WMU-5), 5 stories max., 80 feet max. NOTE: Subdistrict H, WMU-12 is across the street, high density allowing 12 stories.
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