Published: 20 September 2008
Country Estate for an MCorp founder
Lark Owen Daniel was a Dallas businessman who moved here from Waxahachie in 1890. He founded the Daniel Millinery company in downtown and by 1905 was a millionaire and business/civic leader. He was a founder and officer of Mercantile National Bank, now called MCorp, president of the Wholesale Merchants Building Company, Trade League, and president of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
Daniel purchased 27 acres of land in the country just outside of Oak Cliff in 1901. As an expression of his wealth, a 5000 square-foot wood frame Colonial Revival mansion was built on this property in 1905. Surrounded by orchards and sitting on a hill, the Daniel family resided in luxury, complete with servants, damask and dinner bells.
Diverse neighborhood with Tudors, Prairie frames, and Dilbecks
L. O. Daniel is gone, but a diverse little neighborhood still bears his name. Over the years, parcels of the Daniel acreage were subdivided and developed. Various styles of houses were built from the 1920s through the postwar era. Single family homes are the rule, but late 1930s duplexes can be seen on some streets. Brick and frame bungalows, stone and brick Tudor cottages, and various Prairie frame homes, both one and twostory, are prominent. Many are in good condition or have been restored.
The most pleasant surprises are the post-war Charles Dilbeck style houses tucked into the hilly streets. This is noteworthy as the majority of Dilbeck houses are north of the Trinity in University Park. His picturesque and often whimsical architecture makes the L. O. Daniel neighborhood worth looking into.
What has happened to the Daniel mansion? It is still across from Sunset High School (photo below) and was completely restored in 1982. It housed the offices of Chicago Title Insurance Company for many years and was designated an historic landmark in 1984 by the City of Dallas. The mansion is currently owned by Cedar Crest LLC, and is undergoing a restoration. A law office is expected to move in this year.