old neighborhood on Simpson Stuart, a few blocks east of I-45?
April 28, 2010 04:38PM
I've been exploring all over Dallas and I came across what appears to be an old demolished neighborhood.W
It's at the corner of Simpson Stuart and Locust Dr. just east of Central Expwy.
There are paved roads that have been long abandoned and are now being reclaimed and covered by plantlife.
I know at one point there were homes, but now there are just streets, some old boats that were dumped, and other various bits of trash.
There's one area that looks like it may have been a corral of some sort, fencing and a large circular area of sand.

Anyone have any idea what this area was?

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2010 04:43PM by hebert.
Re: old neighborhood on Simpson Stuart, a few blocks east of I-45?
April 29, 2010 12:30AM
Herbert -

See this Dallas Morning News article:

Driven out by floods, ex-residents now can only reminisce - Hogs hold sway where Floral Farms once flourished
The Dallas Morning News - Tuesday, August 4, 1992
Author: Jennifer Nagorka, Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News: THE

Floral Farms is a good neighborhood gone to the hogs, a ghost town.

The bones of the old community -- its streets -- still appear on Dallas maps as neatly crosshatched lines angling off Simpson Stuart Road, just before it dead-ends near the Trinity River.

The map deceives. The streets are cratered stubs, more dirt than asphalt. Mounds of tattered sofas, tread-bare tires and derelict appliances block the roadways. Pigs galumph through the overgrown yards, where children once played.

"It's really difficult seeing it in the condition that it's in,' said Frankie Andrews, whose father built a house on Pine Row in 1950. Dozens of houses, three churches and a city park eventually sprouted around her family's home.

"It was really something when we lived down there,' said Ms. Andrews, 45. "Most people didn't know it was there. They would go off in there and see this whole little neighborhood.'

But floods doomed the southeast Oak Cliff community almost as soon as families had moved in. The city bought out most homeowners in the mid-1970s. Floral Farms died.

As residents moved out, hog farmers, illegal dumpers and refuse scavengers moved in. On some sweaty summer days now, the stench in Floral Farms is as thick as the undergrowth.

"I lived at the end of Locust Drive , and the last time I was down there you couldn't get to the end of the street because of the trash,' said Paul Middleton, a contractor.

In the mid-1980s, a new resident moved in: the Sunday afternoon Pig Park rodeo. The brothers who run the rodeo would make good neighbors -- they watch for dumpers, collect canned food for homeless shelters and do benefit shows for charities.

But there's no one to be a neighbor to in Floral Farms. Latter-day pioneers

Fifty years ago, Floral Farms was flood-prone fields. Its owners began slicing it into house lots in the late 1940s and early '50s; the city annexed the land a few years later.

At the time, segregation forced Dallas' black residents to live in confined, sharply defined areas. Floral Farms provided an inexpensive, semi-rural alternative to segregated urban neighborhoods.

"This is what they called the suburbs,' said Johnnie Jefferson, 78, who hammered together a four-bedroom house on Pine Row.

The first residents were latter-day pioneers, mostly blue collar and all African-American.

"When we moved out there in 1950 or 1951, there were only maybe two other families out there,' Ms. Andrews said. "It was just brambles and grapevines.'

By 1964, Ms. Andrews had 17 neighbors on Pine Row, according to an old city directory. Holiness Baptist Church stood alongside homes on Floral. Japonica Street Baptist Church became the largest of the churches in the neighborhood, which grew to include about 100 families.

"Most of the people out there were family people,' said Mr. Middleton, who has four sons and a daughter. "It wasn't like the city with the crime today. Everybody knew everybody.'

Mr. Middleton's wife, Billie, said she couldn't have worked for three decades at the Veterans Affairs hospital if her neighbors hadn't helped watch her five children.

Youngsters fished in Lemmon Lake, a short walk east of the neighborhood. Or they played dodgeball with the knobby fruit of bois d'arc trees.

"There were flowers everywhere,' said Ms. Andrews, now a receptionist and college student. "In the spring, we would flood our teachers with bouquets. It was just heavenly in the spring.'

But Floral Farms didn't have the typical comforts of a modern suburb: No city water or sewer service, Mr. Jefferson said. No schools, said Charlie Jackson, whose husband was born in Floral Farms. Children attended segregated classes in the Wilmer-Hutchins district and then graduated into a segregated high school in the nearby Joppee neighborhood. There was no city bus service.

"You walked out to Central Expressway and started walking and hoped that somebody picked you up,' Ms. Andrews said.

Though sometimes inconvenient, the neighborhood's isolation helped protect the children.

"We could go trick-or-treating,' Ms. Andrews said. "You didn't have to be in the house before dark because everyone knew everyone and the kids could roam freely. You could just be a child. It was nice and safe.' 'Hated to leave'

But no amount of neighborliness could protect Floral Farms from water -- and city disinterest. Heavy rains repeatedly swamped Simpson Stuart Road, cutting the area's lifeline to Dallas.

"I came home one evening from work, and they moved my family out,' Mr. Middleton said, recalling a 1957 flood.

Ms. Andrews said her father pestered the Dallas City Council to do something to control the water. Instead, the city chose to move the families. It stopped issuing building permits in the area, Ms. Andrews said, so residents couldn't repair or renovate their homes.

In the mid-1970s, Ms. Andrews agreed to move out of the house her father had built.

"I just wanted out,' she said. "You had mosquitoes and then water moccasins. If you had any type of crack, it was not unusual to come into the house and there was a snake. I had killed several in the house.'

The city valued her Floral Farms home at $11,000, and she secured a house in Polk Terrace for slightly less through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After she moved, the city demolished her old house.

"They tore down all the houses they bought,' she said.

Johnnie Jefferson received $35,000 for his land and his home of 20 years.

"I hated to leave it,' Mr. Jefferson said. "It's a nice place down there. Quiet, too.'

The Middletons had moved to Floral Farms because "R.L. Thornton (Freeway) was going right down my living room,' Mrs. Middleton said. When they were forced out of Floral Farms, they moved south of Interstate 20.

There are no organized reunions of former neighbors, but many families stay in touch through friends, Ms. Andrews said. She also sees the Middletons at Japonica Missionary Baptist Church, which was moved from Floral Farms to far southeast Oak Cliff.

The city ran out of money before completing the buyout, and a few holdouts stayed in their homes, former residents said. The settlement is now a patchwork of private and public land. 'Ready to travel'

In time, Floral Farms became hog heaven. From frisky trotters the size of cocker spaniels to porkers that outweigh two sumo wrestlers, pigs make up most of the neighborhood's current population. The hogs flop and wriggle in the muddy pens they share with rusting barrels, 5-gallon buckets and obsolete appliances.

On humid days, a strange scent knifes its way into nostrils. It's both acrid and sweet. The odor comes from pig excrement, burnin plastic and rotting trash. Blooming fruit trees and wildflowers contribute to the sweetness.

"When I come out here, I'm home,' said Willie Foard, 63, who grew up on a Mississippi farm.

He keeps about 30 hogs, belonging to several people, in a ramshackle pen on city land. The South Dallas man and part-time pastor feeds them scraps he collects from fried-chicken restaurants and garbage discarded by the peddlers at Farmer's Market.

He'll leave when the city reclaims the land, or perhaps before.

"I'm overloaded,' he said, his work pants well-worn and streaked with dirt. "I'm ready to quit, but I've got other people's hogs. I'm ready to travel some.'

Theartis Brown regularly visits Floral Farms, another man trying to cull income from other people's trash. He's 65, a concrete-construction worker for decades. For the last two or three years, on weekends or whenever he has a chance, Mr. Brown has driven a battered pickup to Floral Farms to comb the rubbish for scrap metal.

"Whoever gets here first gets it,' Mr. Brown said. "That keeps the arguments down.' Integrated rodeo

On Sunday afternoon, cowboys kick up the dust at Pig Park arena. J.R. Gilder and his brother, Roy C., furnish stock to the rodeo, which they've helped run since 1986. J.R. leased lots in Floral Farms after building and growing dissatisfied with two other pens.

"I wanted to get back to the country,' he said. He found the rural atmosphere he sought 10 minutes southeast of downtown.

The rodeos are informal affairs that stretch into the evening. Horse trailers are dented but serviceable, not shiny and streamlined. J.R. Gilder, who travels to rodeos around the state, said the rodeo provides entertainment in an area where malls and movie theaters don't exist.

"You got to do something when it comes summer,' he said.

The rodeo doesn't make money, he admits, but it gives riders a chance to hone their skills. Contestants pitch in $5 each, which forms the winner's pot.

The audiences sometimes ante up to sweeten someone else's pot, he said.

"At Christmastime, we go around and collect canned goods for the shelters,' Mr. Gilder said. "Some Sundays, I get three and four barrels of canned food.'

The rodeo has had one ironic side effect. A decade after it disappeared, Floral Farms became an integrated neighborhood. Black and white cowboys gallop together in pursuit of lumbering steers. The audience remains mostly black and crowded with children, who delight in mimicking the announcer's lingering Texas drawl.

"That'll be a no-time,' a set of girls choruses as two riders fail to drop the rope around a steer's horns.

The races mix easily, J.R. Gilder said.

"They get along. I don't want no crowd of just one kind,' he said.

Mr. Gilder said he remembers when people lived on the sandy land he leases -- and he remembers the floods that drove them away. Now he tries to drive illegal dumpers away from roads that lead to the rodeo.

"If I wasn't down here, you probably couldn't see the place,' Mr. Gilder said. "They'd be dumping here.

"It used to be a good neighborhood down here.'

Ms. Andrews agrees. That's why she rarely returns to the area where she spent two decades of her life. She said the recently scuttled plan to build a state prison near Floral Farms typified how the area had always been treated -- "as a stepchild.'

"It was such a nice and pretty area to grow up and be a kid in,' Ms. Andrews said. "If you look at it now . . . it's just so trashed. It just didn't deserve that.'
Caption: PHOTO(S): 1-2 Above left: Paul Middleton Jr. (left) and friend Paul Gant posed for this photo in Floral Farms in the late 1970s; (Special to The Dallas Morning News). Above right: The neighborhood has deteriorated since the residents were moved out, and now dumping is a problem; (The Dallas Morning News: Richard Michael Pruitt). 3. Lynel James ropes a cow recently at the informal rodeo held in Floral Farms. Its organizer notes that the rodeo brings together blacks and whites; (The Dallas Morni ng News: Richard Michael Pruitt). MAP(S): Site of ghost town; (DMN); PHOTO LOCATION: 1. - 2. (filed with) Neighborhoods (cfs 53568, 54712). 3. NR.

Section: NEWS
Page: 1A
Record Number: DAL1278368
Copyright 1992 The Dallas Morning News Company
Re: old neighborhood on Simpson Stuart, a few blocks east of I-45?
April 29, 2010 01:27AM
City of Dallas is in the process of building a paved nature trail there

Re: old neighborhood on Simpson Stuart, a few blocks east of I-45?
May 02, 2010 05:58AM
Thanks for the information, I've been looking all over the place and came up with nothing.
I appreciate it!
Re: old neighborhood on Simpson Stuart, a few blocks east of I-45?
January 26, 2013 02:29PM
Has anyone had any experience of this place, knowing information of anything suspicious?
I had a very disturbing encounter here today. I had drove up to Floral Farms with a camera and a lunch, in hopes to have a nice afternoon taking pictures and exploring this obscure place. All was well until about 45 minutes after my arrival, I had decided to make it back to my car, which I had parked at the entrance of the neighborhood, where there is a closed gate. Me and my car are now separated by about 50 yards, and we are separated by that closed gate. At this moment, a dirty silver SUV had appeared, coming in from Simpson Stuart, quickly drove up to the gate, rolled down the window, and a short haired, maybe 40-55 year old man with facial hair had taken out a camera and took multiple shots of me.
I shouted "Did you just take a picture of me?" which I doubt the man had even heard, or would have cared to hear, as he put his car in reverse, and speedily reversed to Simpson Stuart, and sped off.

...does anyone have any idea what this could have been? Was there a crime scene recently at Floral Farms? I am a bit disturbed by this
Re: old neighborhood on Simpson Stuart, a few blocks east of I-45?
January 26, 2013 05:13PM
Maybe he thought YOU were there to do some illegal dumping and was photographing you for evidence.
Re: old neighborhood on Simpson Stuart, a few blocks east of I-45?
January 26, 2013 06:54PM
Sorry that happened to you! I would suggest parking at the Eco-Park parking lot or the River Oaks Road Parking Lot where it dead-ends across the railroad tracks at Joppa Preseve. If you park at the River Oaks parking area, park about 100 yards past the railroad tracks, to the left(north) in a gravel parking lot close to the fence. My good friend Lupe lives in the mobile home nearby and I have many friends that have horses stabled inside the fence next door. They are very good honest people and while they will not watch your vehicle for you, it's good to have a set of eyes around while you are gone.

What kind of car was this bearded driver in? Do you think it might have been a 4 door SUV kind of small? Like a Saturn, Isuzu or Mistubishi? I have seen an SUV like that around there before.

There are some very bad things going on over there at the moment concerning government corruption and efforts to sweep it under the rug. Why they photographed you has nothing to do with illegal dumping.

If that happens again or to anyone reading this, call the Dallas County Sheriff, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden and the Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers Company B. You will notice a glaring omission of who most would call in regards to such matters inside the city limits of Dallas.
Re: old neighborhood on Simpson Stuart, a few blocks east of I-45?
January 27, 2013 10:57AM
Thank you Ben S, this information is very useful

Yes it was a 4-door, with a spare tire on the rear. My first guesses were that it is a Isuzu or a Honda
I currently have a few different ideas of what it looked like:


Isuzu (nearly sure it was this model):

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