Lake Highlands history lesson: Little Egypt

This is the Egypt Chapel Baptist church back in the Little Egypt days. Today the church and new generations of the Little Egypt community live in Oak Cliff. Dallas Morning News file photo.

I learned so much (endless fodder for future stories and blog posts so be very excited) when I sat down with several of my fellow Lake Highlanders to determine where, exactly, Lake Highlands is …

Here’s one: Little Egypt. It was before my time, but I had read of it.

Apparently, Little Egypt was a small area located near the southwest corner of Northwest and Ferndale. I received a couple of corrections because I in the podcast I mistakenly said it was at Northwest and Abrams. Sorry about that.

Anyway, according to historians, Little Egypt was given to former slaves following the Civil War. It was a distinct community until the ‘60s when developers began buying surrounding land for retail development. Eventually most of the families sold their properties, but a lot of them stuck together and moved to south Dallas.

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Lake Highlands resident Mary Lu McKellar remembers the Little Egypt Baptist Church (it is now in Oak Cliff), near Herb’s (Paint and Body) first gas station. She says she was friends with several Little Egypt residents, including Savannah and Mac McLemore.

“Mac was a courtly gentleman who I seem to recall had gone on hunting trips with the owner of the large, original home on Windy Hill, she says. “He always courteously helped Savannah into his truck when he picked her up from work. He had a little garden next to the cleaners at the Northcliff Shopping Center and would bring us turnip greens from his garden.”

Another neighbor, Jack Reynolds who has lived on Lanshire for more than 50 years, remembers the day that the Little Egypt community moved. It wasn’t as if they moved little by little or family by family, he says.

“One day, they all moved. It was amazing — a whole row of them — I drove to work that morning and saw moving vans and more moving vans.”

Reynolds says it must have been a very complicated real estate deal. If they did stick together as it says in your story, he tells me, that makes sense, because they were truly a community.

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