News About At-Risk Buildings and Neighborhoods

Blues is the music of people who have tasted not only the sweet things in life, but also the tragedy, the struggle, the loss and redemption; not music for top 40 listeners, but for people who are willing to stare life and death in the eyes, and sing about it. The same can be said for different parts of a city. There is the “safe” and “predictable” part of town, and then there is Oak Cliff. Where else could a Dallas Blues legend like Stevie Ray Vaughn come from than a part of town that isn’t afraid to take what life dishes out and use it to cook up a song.

Stevie Ray Vaughn was born October 3, 1954 in Dallas and grew up in Oak Cliff in a small house on 2557 Glenfield Avenue. Although the house where the Vaughn’s lived when Stevie was born has since been torn down and turned into a parking lot, Stevie’s childhood home still stands. Built in 1955, this house is a humble bungalow wood frame structure on pier and beam with wood siding. This is the home where Stevie first picked up a guitar at the age of seven and began his journey in wooing the world with his passion and virtuosic performances. Though Stevie came from humble beginnings he was destined for greatness; inspired by his brother Jimmie, and nurtured by a long line of musically gifted extended family members who had performed with Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Western swing groups in the Dallas area.

Stevie attended Lenore Kirk Hall Elementary School, L. V. Stockard Middle School and Justin F. Kimball High School while living at the house on Glenfield Avenue. During his school years, Stevie learned the guitar by playing along with records of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. In his high school years, he stood out from his classmates like an electric guitar compared with a concert piano; looking and living like his music. Having recorded a compilation album called “A New Hi” with a high school band, Cast of Thousands, he started playing with other groups such as Epileptic Marshmallow, Liberation and Storm, eventually forming his own band named Blackbird.

Legend has it, that while attending high school on the day it was reported that guitar rock legend Jimi Hendrix died, Stevie, in anguish, asked that they have a memorial assembly at the school to which the principal replied that Hendrix was a dope head and escorted Stevie out of his office.

Stevie lived at the Glenfield house until 1972, when he dropped out of high school and moved to Austin. He returned to Dallas many times and recorded at Dallas Sound Lab with Russell Whitaker who is still the owner and operator of the studio.

The house is not designated as a historic structure nor is it acknowledge by the City of Dallas as a landmark, but the current owners of many years are aware of its significance; perhaps another note in the great song that is Oak Cliff as long as the legend is kept alive.