What is the area east of White Rock Lake Called?
The question comes in a roundabout way from a reader asking “I was wondering, what do you know about the area just east of White Rock Lake?” Her overall email regarded schools and neighborhood characteristics, but it got me thinking that we, as Dallasites, have no idea what to call this area of Dallas.
To clarify, I’m not talking about the neighborhoods in this area. Forest Hills, Casa Linda Estates, The Peninsula, Claremont, Little Forest Hills are all established and recognized neighborhoods in this area. What I’m referring to is the overall community that exists in that area and which is made up of those neighborhoods. Think about other community names like Old East Dallas, Uptown, Pleasant Grove, Lakewood, Lake Highlands, etc. Those are all communities that are made up of different, but similar neighborhoods. It’s this designation for the area that I’m after.
The community (or larger geographic area) I’m talking about is indicated on the map below.
And before you start to chime in that I’ve extended Lakewood north of Mockingbird, have Lake Highlands too far east, or have Old East Dallas too far north; keep in mind that these notions of communities I’m speaking of are fluid, ever changing concepts in the minds of Dallasites and North Texans; and they’re open to interpretation. Further, what’s considered Lakewood today may not be considered Lakewood tomorrow. The notion of Lakewood may grow, shrink, or morph into another area throughout the years. Case in point: North Dallas High School. When it was built almost a century ago, it was built in a community that people called “North Dallas.” Today, even though North Dallas High School still sits in the same spot, that spot is located smack dab in the middle of the community we call Uptown, and what we now consider “North Dallas” is nowhere close to it.
Really what the map is meant to do is to draw your attention to the fact this area can’t be easily be grouped together with other communities around it. Like it or not, Forest Hills or the Peninsula neighborhoods are not in Lakewood. And though you might be thinking, isn’t Casa Linda in Far East Dallas, you’re probably thinking Casa View.
(They’re Not the Same)
No this area can’t be grouped together under some surrounding communities banner, it’s a distinct different community and it deserves a name of its own.
So how do we go about creating a new name? Well, it used to be that some eloquent newspaper man, or some well-spoken local broadcaster would coin a nickname for the area much like they would for local sports heroes. Which when you think about it, is really what a communities name is; just a nickname. Unfortunately, our local media hasn’t come up with anything. It’s kind of hard to truly blame them. The Dallas Morning News’ non-sports workforce is basically just Robert Wiloksny and a bunch of interns: Local TV stations, according to Local TV News Demi-god Tracy Rowlett, just report on the weather nowadays. And local radio, or what’s left of it, can hardly even can’t afford to be, well, local anymore.
So lacking a credible Molly Ivins or Blackie Sherrod or even Joe Bob Briggs type to create a nickname what are we left to do? We could try to let a business or realtor association hold a naming contest, though it looks like that was tried recently, and we ended up with a name that sounds like we were a pre-war industrial section of town that specialized in building pre-fab lake houses and garden gnomes.
I feel that the best remaining way to create a name is through an organic and almost random process. Someone throws out a name one day and it sticks. Other people pick up on the name and run with it. It’s worked for years, think about Deep Ellum. Deep Ellum didn’t get its name from a focus group or online poll. It got it because someone a hundred years ago combined a geographic colloquialism “Deep” and a mispronunciation of the street Elm, or “EL-M”. They started calling it that, people latched on and it stuck. It was crowd sourcing before crowd sourcing was a thing.
So let’s start throwing something out there. My suggestion is not so much a specific name per se, but a way to get started on the name. Many of the best names for communities come from agglomeration of streets, features or something special in the area. Think, SoHo, or Tribecia in New York. Or Deep Ellum, Lower Greenville/M-Streets even Lake Highlands in Dallas.
So let’s throw together, East Dallas, White Rock Lake, the Big Thicket, maybe Garland Road, or Buckner Blvd, etc and see what we get…