History of Bryan Place

By Jim Rogers

When I bought my Bryan Place home in 1980, Bryan Street was open and carried thousands of cars every day. It was a major artery out of downtown in the evening and at night heavy trucks used it to get to the I-45, Central Expressway and Woodall Rogers’ ramps. With some homes’ bedrooms only 14 feet from the street curb, that was a problem.

There had supposedly been an agreement between Fox & Jacobs and the city to divert the traffic over to Live Oak but that wasn’t happening. While F&J was selling the homes on Bryan Street, the street was closed due to continuing utility construction which just happened to be completed once the homes on Bryan Street were sold.

Getting something done about this was the impetus behind forming the Bryan Place Neighborhood Association. Neighbors met in Mike Richardson’s living room on Bryan Street and I walked out assigned the task of being the President and responsible for forming the Association and working to get the traffic off of Bryan.

We met with area businesses, lobbied the city council and had a resident or two speak before the city council every Wednesday for almost a year. Our plan was to close Bryan at Cantegral and we had the votes for our plan but the morning of the vote, F&J showed up with the plan you see on the ground today. We got the traffic off of Bryan Street but we didn’t get the larger neighborhood tied
together like we wanted.

Back then the Exall Park Recreation Center was a military surplus metal Quonset hut building from World War II. At that time the Recreation Center was used mostly by kids from Roseland Homes. I thought those kids deserved a quality Recreation Center so I lobbied the city and we got funds for the current Recreation Center included in the next bond election.

Another project we did during the almost 6 years I was President of the BPNA was the pool and clubhouse. We canvassed the neighborhood door to door to see what amenities the homeowners would most like to see added – tennis courts in the park, a community swimming pool, a club house, etc. The overwhelming preference was to have a swimming pool and clubhouse. I worked with F&J to develop a funding plan for the $300,000 project, conducted a membership drive to raise the homeowners’ $100,000 share and worked with the entire community to design the facility (size of pool?, depth of pool?, children’s pool?, hot tub?, type of fence?, etc.) in one large meeting in the Quonset hut building (yes, design by committee – but it worked and it worked well).

Dean Vanderbilt, the F&J Bryan Place manager at the time, commented that he was fairly certain that F&J would not have to come up with its share of the funds because there was no way anyone could get the few homeowners at the time to contribute the required $100,000 but we did it. Once we had the money, we needed the land. The current location of the pool was most central to the neighborhood at the time but there was a small frame house on the corner and the owner did not want to sell or trade or move. I met with her many times and we finally negotiated that she got a half interest plus a life estate in the other half interest of a new home on Adolph plus $3000 to buy a new washer, dryer, refrigerator, etc. I was sad to see her house and the gigantic beautiful pecan tree in her backyard come down but that is where the pool is today.

Mike Levitt, Bill Morrow and I then served as the committee to get the pool and clubhouse built. Since then I have served as the BPNA Treasurer, the Landscape Chair and the Communications Chair from time to time.

Published on September 13, 2012

Introduction to Bryan Place

Bryan Place is a unique neighborhood nestled in the shadow of downtown Dallas. The neighborhood is known for its friendly atmosphere, overall design, convenient location, and a high level of community involvement.

Bryan Place is maintained by an active neighborhood association that works very hard to represent our residents in matters concerning zoning request, code compliance, and police safety issues. In addition to the issues at city hall, the association and volunteers work to ensure the neighborhood’s clean appearance, safety, and social activities are among one the best in the city of Dallas.

Located close to the heart of downtown Dallas, Bryan Place is perfect for the person with an active urban lifestyle. Within the Bryan Place community is a neighborhood pool and clubhouse, walking/running paths, and the Exall Park Recreation Center. Some of the attractions within walking distance to the neighborhood are the numerous museums of the Art’s District, Deep Ellum attractions & Dog Park, the West End, Tom Landry Fitness Center, and Baylor Medical Center.

History of Bryan Place

Bryan Place, named after Dallas’ founder, John Neely Bryan, began as a bold vision by developer Fox & Jacobs to create an intimate, neighborly community in the heart of Dallas’ inner city. Built in the early 1980’s, Bryan Place was the first of such in-town East Dallas neighborhoods in a half-century of mass suburbanization. Fox & Jacobs sought to recreate a neighborhood of East Dallas’ past, with little traffic, pedestrian friendly streets and elegant homes within an un-walled community. Even at its conception, the builder was confident there would be lots of revitalization taking place around the neighborhood.

A Modern and Thriving Neighborhood

Since its opening, Bryan Place has thrived in the shadows of the Dallas skyline. If you talk to any of its residents, it is clear that this is a special community. Diverse in every sense, Bryan Place is welcoming, friendly and a real model for what in-town living should be. Fox & Jacobs was right about revitalization taking place in its surroundings. There is a flurry of current and future development in the area to include: the resurfacing of Live Oak Street, revitalization of Ross Avenue through thoughtful review of its Plan for Development, Townhome and Single Family Home developments springing up on every corner, as well as two popular grocery stores planning to develop in the area. Without a doubt, Bryan Place is proud of its urban pioneering past, happy with its present status and excited about its future.

Bryan Place Neighborhood Association

The purpose of the Bryan Place Neighborhood Association (BPNA) is to promote the safety, beauty and neighborliness of the Bryan Place area. BPNA consists of 11 Board of Directors nominated by the community to represent their neighbors and uphold the strong sense of community here at Bryan Place. Please refer to our BPNA Board of Directors Contact List page if you wish to contact BPNA with any neighborhood related issues or comments.

Published on August 26, 2011