A Wall Street Journal article yesterday talked about our beloved Highland Park, written by real estate journalist Alyssa Abkowitz.
The article describes the area’s perfectly manicured lawns and “traditional architecture.” It also mentions their charming 4th of July parade and Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. “It’s like you’ve gone to Mayberry when you walk in,” said Mr. Ray Washburn of Highland Park Village, which he owns. My reaction:
Washburn bought HP Village in 2009 and is responsible for bringing in more upscale tenants like Stella McCartney and Dior. Very Mayberry, n’est pas?
Now we never did get to see little Opie grow up, but I’m quite sure he was never accused of raping a classmate or making bomb threats against his high school. Nor did Sheriff Andy Taylor rent a warehouse for Opie and his friends to get wasted underage.
In one episode, a family’s home is condemned because it is so run down. Rather than let the family face eviction, the entire community bands together to repair their home. Think of that in Highland Park, either a family letting their home get to that state or the community helping out.
Mr. Washburn is an older gentlemen and remembers the Highland Park of a bygone era. When Highland Park Village was a neighborhood shopping center and when other longtime residents knew their neighbors. In a tight-knit community, one knows when something is out of place, and you watch out for each other.
Nowadays, Highland Park is the epicenter of Dallas’ materialism, generally enforced by newcomers, “outsiders.” And this phenomenon can be seen all over the country: Beverly Hills, River Oaks, Coral Gables, Buckhead, or Scottsdale.
D Magazine wrote in their review Dallas’ suburbs, “we once eavesdropped on some high schoolers who were eating at Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village. One boy said to the group: Everyone in the word hates America. Everyone in America hates Texas. Everyone in Texas hates Dallas and everyone in Dallas hates Highland Park. Isn’t that awesome?”
That sums it up. HP is the center of their own world.
Even in Nichols Hills, Oklahoma where I grew up, the city’s relative affluence, as the home of ex-Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon, has now gained far more notoriety than its community feel. As a child I was never conscious of the area’s wealth, nor was my family by any means one of the wealthiest families. Home prices were also far lower back then, as is the case with Highland Park. Of the 44 current listings in Nichols Hills, just about half are for homes worth $1 Million and up. In Highland Park, the cheapest listing is nearly $700,000.
Were my family looking to buy into Nichols Hills now, we couldn’t. That sucks. Not to pick on California, but I blame you. You spoiled brats are pricing out the natives.
All is not lost. As Highland Park continues to drown in its own decadence, new genuinely family-oriented communities wil take its place. I love Lakewood. There is a lot to like about Southlake too, though it is (gasp!) in Tarrant County.
The point: you can spend your life chasing money or you can carve your own path. That’s exactly what the original residents of HP did! They left the established residences in the east and went “out west” to Dallas. They worked hard and built the prairie into the city we know today.