Hamilton Park, 12225 Willowdell

Basketball hoop at Hamilton Park,  April 6, 1968
Basketball hoop at Hamilton Park, 
April 6, 1968

The 1950s were turbulent times for black families dreaming of home ownership. South Dallas homeowners regularly faced deadly violence, bombings even. A black neighborhood near Love Field was leveled to accommodate the airport. A white oilman named Jerome Crossman and the Dallas Interracial Association gained funding from white philanthropist Karl S.J. Hoblitzelle to develop a safe, desirable black neighborhood, but strong opposition from white landowners erupted anytime a site was considered. In 1954 they procured a swath of farmland north of Forest Lane, and Hamilton Park was born. When this “civic undertaking to help Dallas’ negro population,” as a WBAP newscaster described it, occasioned a dedication ceremony, the event was attended by City Councilman W.C. Miller, Dallas banker and Chamber of Commerce president Ben Wooten and Marshall T. Steel, pastor of Highland Park Methodist Church. The choir of St. John the Baptist Church provided the day’s music. The neighborhood this year received a historical marker.

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