In July of 1922, Dallas real estate mogul C.S. Mitchell filed an appeal in Federal Court to develop a shopping center on a double lot at the southeast corner of Davis and Edgefield in the Winnetka Heights residential district. Businesses weren’t allowed in residential districts and Mitchell’s plans had been denied by the city. The case was largely seen as a test case for Dallas’s building ordinance that restricted the establishment of business buildings in residential districts. He would have to exhaust the appeals process and it would take until November of that year for the matter to be settled.
Afterwards, Mr. Mitchell declared that he intended “to erect one of the most handsome business buildings in the city” that “will beautify, rather than detract from, the surrounding neighborhood.” To this end, the structure sought to incorporate English Tudor architecture, a slate roof, shrubbery and grass, set backs allowing for cars and “with the exception of one small sign at the corner of the building, the structure will be free of signs or exploitation matter, it is declared.” These things were to help the building blend in with the neighborhood rather than stand out and settle the feathers that had been ruffled with the long drawn out court case.
The building would have 8 stores on the ground floor including a drug and grocery store, a floral shop and a tearoom. The upstairs was used as a biological laboratory by an organization of local doctors. A decade or so later that would be converted to apartments and the anchor tenant downstairs would become Cannon’s 5-cent and Dollar Store earning the building the name Cannon’s Village.
In 2009 “1029 Strawberry LLC” out of Mineola, New York purchased the Village. The absentee owner has done little to improve the property. As a contributing structure to the Winnetka Heights Historic District, the historic mixed-use structure offers such a potential contribution to the area particularly adjacent to the success of the Kessler Theater. The upstairs is abandoned and the building shows significant signs of wear and tear. As the first retail building in the neighborhood with such impressive unique detail as well as a hard fought history, Oak Cliff needs this iconic structure to survive and succeed.