The Deep Ellum Historic District in Dallas was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) assisted in the nomination of this district in recognition of its importance to the history of Dallas and the State of Texas. Noted for its historical and architectural significance, the district joins other properties across the state with National Register status.
The Deep Ellum Historic District in central Dallas is characterized by dense historic commercial and industrial development and is currently home to a thriving entertainment district. Formerly enslaved men and women settled the area as a freedom colony after the Civil War. Beginning in the late 19th century, railroad connections increased industrial development, ranging from cotton processing to automobile manufacturing, and attracted a diverse mix of European immigrants and Black families. By the 1920s, Deep Ellum was one of Dallas’ major retail and entertainment centers, famously noted for the distinct Deep Ellum blues performed by resident musicians such as Blind Lemon Jefferson.
Between the 1940s and 1970s, the city implemented a series of urban plans and zoning ordinances that displaced residents and promoted redevelopment, while two major highways led to the demolition of wide swaths of historic buildings. Meanwhile, property owners adapted Deep Ellum’s older commercial and industrial buildings to new uses, and cultural gatherings and artistic production continued throughout the district’s many transitions. The Deep Ellum Historic District was listed in the National Register for its associations with Dallas commerce and for its rich and diverse social history.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a federal program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect the country’s historic and archeological resources. The National Register includes 3,400 listings in Texas. Listing affords properties a measure of protection from the possible impact of federally funded projects, as well as access to technical expertise and grant funds to facilitate their restoration and preservation. Income-producing properties are also eligible for federal tax benefits for sympathetic rehabilitation work.
To learn more about the National Register of Historic Places, contact the THC’s History Programs Division at 512-463-5853 or visit thc.texas.gov.