BROWDER STREET at CADIZ ST.

The homes on Browder Street were built in the early 1890s and began to be razed in the late 1930s and early 1940s for parking space in the expanding business district.  To some extent, the deterioration of Browder St. and the majority of the Cedars came from the large home owners themselves. Their many little barns, outhouses, and servants’ buildings created a crowded, unsightly clutter around almost every house. As late as 1911 the Sanger brothers retained a large stable near their homes to house delivery van animals, even after trucks came into general use.The coup de grace to the rapidly declining situation occurred when the industrial expansion along the railroad lines surrounding The Cedars began to spill over into the residential area. An increasing number of cotton mills, petroleum distillation plants, cottonseed oil presses, lumber yards, and ice factories (with attendant workers’ quarters, black shantytowns and subsidiary businesses) began to constrict that protected, isolated pocket of big homes, further decreasing their desirability and value. Even Mill Creek, the meandering stream which had been such a pleasant attraction only a few years before, evolved into an open sewer, filled with foul-smelling human and industrial wastes, and lined with refuse as if it were the city dump.

Fashionable Residence, Browder St. at Cadiz St.Since Dallas’ earliest days, Mill Creek had been very attractive to the city’s industry. Several of the early grist mills, Scott’s Flouring Mill, and the City Cotton Compress located along its banks because it was the largest waterway in the city aside from the Trinity River system. Larger than Turtle Creek or Five Mile Creek, its waters ran all year, and it also had a tremendous amount of cedar and oak for lumber. As the city grew, the mills and other industries obliterated the tree cover and began to use the stream primarily to flush away wastes. The foul sight and smell contributed greatly toward making South Dallas an undesirable place to live. George Kessler, in his city plan of 1911, called for the cleanup of Mill Creek and for its development as a greenbelt-parkway, but by then the area had declined past any hope of breaking the destructive momentum. The city decided to lay pipe in the creek bed for drainage and then covered it up in the mid-1930s.

Photo of the Browder Street residence and text is ourtesy Dallas Rediscovered by William L. McDonald.