Short history articles about Stevens Memorial Park and its surroundings, written by Jim Barnes
History of the "William Myers Section"
The Kessler District of Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.


The William Myers Section:  
map
The William Myers Section is located about 2 1/2 miles
west-southwest of the "Old Red" Courthouse of downtown Dallas.


The William Myers Section:  
map

The clubhouse of the Stevens Park Golf Course is approximately
at the center of this square mile.
[street map -- c. 1998]
(click on map to enlarge)


(Click on blue underlined hyperlinks to read the stories)

Prehistoric Landscape:
When White Settlers first arrived, the landscape looked very different.

The Ridge-Route:
A major early pioneer high-way ran through what is now the Kessler District.

Indian Mounds:
Prehistoric Indian Mounds once stood at the top of the escarpment.

Rock Lodge:
The oldest masonry structure in the city of Dallas stands on an older historic site.

Prehistory Pottery (?):
The only known prehistoric artifact from the William Myers Section is perhaps the Royse Bowl.

Point of Origin:
Western Dallas County was surveyed with a grid system originating from a single point.

1841-1846 -- Earliest White Settlement:
Research essay about the earliest Pioneers -- no detailed history has been written.

William Myers:
During 1846-1847 William and Mary Myers moved their family here from Kentucky.

William Myers versus Milton Merrifield:
In 1853 a rival claim to the west half of the William Myers Section was rejected by the Courts.

Merrifield Cemetery:
The nearby Merrifield Cemetery is one of the oldest surviving historic relics of the area.

La Reunion colony:
In 1855 the La Reunion commune was established west of the Willliam Myers Section.

Just Before the Stevens' Arrival:
120 acres of the Section were sold to Dr. John H. Stevens in 1871.

The Stevens' Farmhouse:
In about 1872 the Stevens built a big new farmhouse.

The Stevens Family:
An album of pictures of the members of the Stevens-Armstrong family.

The Stevens Family:
More pictures of the members of the Stevens-Armstrong family.

Dr. John H. Stevens:
A short biographical sketch of Dr. Stevens written for his alma mater Dickenson College.

Christmas Greeting from Dr. Stevens:
A Christmas letter Dr. Stevens wrote in December of 1874 from his new Dallas farm.

1875 Christmas Party:
A newspaper account of an old-fashioned country Christmas gathering.

Bridge across the Trinity River:
The Stevens family and the first iron bridge across the Trinity River.

The Northwest 58 Acres:
In 1879 Adam Heisel bought a parcel of land on which his family lived for eight decades.

Where Did Thomas L. Marsalis Go?:
The 'father of Oak Cliff' owned the east half of the William Myers Section.

The West Dallas Railroad:
Marsalis' plan for Oak Cliff ran Jefferson Boulevard across modern Kessler Park.

The Original Oak Cliff:
The annulled 1890 incorporation of the City of Oak Cliff included the entire Section.

Bishop Dunne:
In 1905 Roman Catholic Bishop Edward Dunne built his official residence on Davis Avenue.

The Middlebrook Sisters and their Haunted House:
My favorite story is about the two spinster Middlebrook Sisters and their dilapidated home.

Middlebrook House:
This essay examines, in detail, the history of the house Dr. Edwin Middlebrook bought in 1910.

Rosemont Elementary School:
A series of photographs showing the early decades of the Rosemont Elementary School built in 1922.

George E. Kessler:
Biographical sketch of American planner, George E. Kessler, for whom the district was named.

Kessler boyhood:
Research Notes (11th November 2017) -- evidence of George E. Kessler's family in Dallas in the 1870s.

Kessler's Parkways and Boulevard:
George E. Kessler drew plans for two Parkways along Coombes Creek and a Boulevard loop.

Kessler's Grave:
Visit to the interment of George E. Kessler in St. Louis' Bellfontaine Cemetery.

A Tale of Two Golf Courses:
Kessler's vision of the Coombes Creek greenbelt started with two separate golf courses.

The Bankruptcy of Kessler Park:
During the Great Depression the corporate parent of the Kessler Park addition faltered.

Play Circles:
When Stevens Park Estates was platted in the mid-1920s it included little children's Play Parks.

1926 Stevens Park Estate Deed Covenants:
Homes in Stevens Park Estates were built according to 'deed restrictions' (instead of city 'Zoning')..

Origin of the name for Junior Drive :
Junior January was boy in Kessler Park during the late 1920s and early 1930s.

The Tallest Windmill in the World:
From the 1930s to 1950s a giant windmill was hidden in the woods later developed as Kessler Lake .

Streetcars :
A light-rail electric commuter streetcar line ran into the William Myers Section until the 1950s.

Paving Coombes Creek:
This 2006 nomination proposal discussed the ongoing problem of streambed erosion along Coombes Creek.

The History of Coombes Creek -- a Stream of Evolution:
Pictures and Script presented to the Heritage Oak Cliff group on the 24th of January 2018.

Street Names:
2009 chart with histories of the names of all the streets in the William Myers Section.

The above articles are taken from the fourteen volume series, THE HISTORY OF THE WILLIAM MYERS SECTION, compiled by James D. Barnes; 2000-2009. Copies were donated to The Dallas Historical Society, and to The Dallas Public Library (archived as the "Jim Barnes Collection" aong with various relics regarding the William Myers Section).

Miscellaneous Articles About Farther-away Oak Cliff

Where was the cliff of Oak Cliff?:
Gerald Harris recounted his family's account of a specific precipice that inspired the name.

Where was the White House?:
In 2008 M.C. Toyer raised a significant early Dallas history question -- it remains unanswered.

1914 Meteor Monument:
Gayla Brooks pointed out this forgotten stone monument celebrating Oak Cliff's relation with the Cosmos.

13th April 2017; last revised 18th July 2019
Jim Barnes
Barnes444@sbcglobal.net
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