By Mary Jacobs / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
Douglas Newby poses a question to people he meets: "What are the four most iconic streets in Dallas?" Answers vary, but inevitably, Beverly Drive in Highland Park is one.
"It's a street that conveys architectural majesty and grandeur," says Mr. Newby, a real estate broker who specializes in architecturally significant homes.
Beverly Drive has some of the city's most expensive "dirt," particularly between Hillcrest and Preston roads, says Jeff Duffey, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker. Current asking prices on homes for sale range from $1.79 million to $17.9 million.
With holiday lights going up, Beverly Drive will soon become a destination for sightseers and people taking horse-and-carriage rides from Highland Park Village.
Kelly Bunting remembers going to Beverly to see the lights when she was growing up in North Dallas. Now a resident, she enjoys returning the favor. Her children sit on the front porch on December evenings yelling "Merry Christmas!" as the carriages go by.
"I want people to feel the same way I did when they come by my house," she said.
What's special about the street? It was laid out in the early 20th century by Wilbur David Cook, who was also the planner for Beverly Hills, Calif. His genius still shows, Mr. Newby said.
"The love affair with Beverly is not because of the size of the homes," he said. "There are many bigger homes in the area.
"It's the proportions of the homes and the architectural rhythm of the street." Beverly Drive is wider than most Highland Park streets, the lots are bigger, and the setbacks are deep. Uniform setbacks and similar residence heights allow various architectural styles – Spanish Colonial, Mediterranean, English, Georgian, Tudor, Italian and eclectic – to blend nicely, he says.
But ask residents why they like the street, and they tend to point to simple pleasures such as neighborliness. The Beverly Drive Book Club, for example, has been meeting monthly for more than 60 years.
"It's a cohesive neighborhood," said Bob Holmes, a resident since 1974. Part of the reason he's stayed is the quality of city services, he said. When traffic was rerouted to Beverly from Mockingbird Lane as roadwork began in August 2007, Mr. Holmes and others met with city officials, and he was pleased with the response. Police increased patrols and added stop signs. (Mockingbird reopened Nov. 22.)
"We love the energy of the street," Ms. Bunting said. "I feel it's truly the heart of Highland Park."
Beverly Drive At A Glance
- History: Wilbur David Cook laid out the plans for Beverly Drive a few years before Highland Park was incorporated in 1913.
- 2007 home sales*: $1.1 million to $2.1 million
- Shopping: Highland Park Village, NorthPark Center
- Schools: primarily Highland Park ISD
- 2007 crime**: No murders, no rapes, no robberies, no aggravated assaults, 2 burglaries, 12 thefts, 1 vehicle theft
- For more information: www.hptx.org
*Reported sales prices of homes listed through MLS
**Statistics for 3100-4700 Beverly Drive (portion within Highland Park)
SOURCES: Highland Park Department of Public Safety; Jeff Duffey, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage