Heritage, 2010, Volume 1 Page: 22
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A Dallas couple looks back at that city's Hamilton Park area in the late 1950s.
It Was a Wonderful Neighborhood
In this oral history conducted with Ola Lee and Freddie Allen in early
1991, the couple talks about moving into the largely African-American
neighborhood of Hamilton Park in Dallas in the late 1950s. That area
is outlined in the map above. The interview was conducted by William
Wilson and is part of the archives at the University of North Texas in
WILSON: Some people have told me when they moved to Ham-
ilton Park, they looked at the model homes...and they were very
carefully screened (for mortgages). They really checked over in-
come and financial stability. Was that your experience?
F. ALLEN: That's true...The first time around, when we walked
in, they said, "We'll let you know something in two or three days.
In two or three days, they said, "Y'all are in good status...(My wife
and I) don't have much...but we try to pay our bills. There was
(sic) always lots of things we didn't have, but we were comfortable
not being pestered by debt...
We paid $10,900 (for the house)...our down payment was 5
percent. Our first payment was $59. I was getting $3.75 an hour in
1958 (working construction)...
WILSON: You mentioned earlier that this was a four-bedroom
house...How many baths?
F. ALLEN: One bath. (The house) had central heating, but it
didn't have air conditioning.
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HERITAGE Volume 1 2010
O. ALLEN: Believe it or not, when we first moved
.- out here, it was so nice that we didn't need an air
conditioner...We slept with the windows open....
3 Then by and by, they started pouring cement, doing
, the roads and stuff, and it got hot. We got some regu-
lar fans and used them for a while...When things got
built up around us, that's when we did have to have
WILSON: Well, some...have mentioned that it was a
precipitous drop (in temperatures).. .when you crossed
Northwest Highway ...I've heard that before the trees
were up and there was nothing to block the breeze,
0 even in August, you would want a sweater.
F. ALLEN: That's right. It was just really cool. As a
matter of fact, you could go out in the back in August,
and when the sun got over here (gesture), it would be
so cool that people would think that you had some
kind of shield around to protect you. People that came
here, who didn't live here, would say, "...You don't
need to go in the house! It's so nice and cool here!"
WILSON: What color was your house when you first moved in?
F. ALLEN: My house was kind of a pink when we moved in, kind
of peachy-pink. It hasn't changed-the color-very much.
WILSON: And you moved in 1959?
F. ALLEN: August of 1958. All of my children were already
born. My youngest was ...seven and a half months old.
O. ALLEN: Really, Hamilton Park was pretty when it was new
because the houses were in different colors...They didn't put a
white house here and another white house there. They had it just
kind of mixed out in colors. To me, it was pretty.
F. ALLEN: Well, it would be pretty now except there is (sic) so
many that don't keep their place up.
Do you know that it hasn't been three years ago that I first
put a lock on my garage? I've been here 31 years. (Back then)
nobody bothered nothing. Then, for the last two or three
years, it got to where you had to be careful because you just
don't know. We never used to have a problem. We all got
along. I don't regret anything. I think it was a wonderful
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2010, Volume 1, periodical, 2010; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254216/m1/22/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.