5. 1901 Ramsey 2012
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This commercial structure, built circa 1920, is surrounded by residences and located near the old Dallas Streetcar Line 46, which cut diagonally through the Trinity Heights. Trinity Heights was a subdivision, annexed by the City of Dallas in the 1920’s, with it’s own school system, post office and water facilities.

Henry Braley purchased the Ramsey property in 1918, and it is believed that the building was constructed soon after, based on the 1922 Sanborn Maps. Braley was one of the founders of the Texas Kennel Club in 1898, and he and his wife were active with breeding and showing dogs while living at the Ramsey address.

The original purpose of the structure is not clear and very little historic documentation has been uncovered through valiant search efforts by many interested parties. The building is rumored to have been a Convenience Store, referred to as Icehouses back in the day, and possibly also housed a Barbershop (according to a neighbor). Other theories include a Post Office, a Government Building, or a Fire Station. The adjacent garage has a large central sand trap floor drain, possibly used for a large vehicle. There was once a wood framed structure attached to the east side, moved to Waxahachie by a previous owner in the 80’s. The ghost line of the removed building is visible and the change in brick quality indicates the gabled structure may have been built before the commercial structure, or at the same time.

The current owner of the building is a design professional and has plans to renovate. He and others have discovered many details about the building, for instance, the red brick is from a Coffeeville, Kansas brick factory. Coffeeville was home to a number of brick plants in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s, and brick from these plants were commonly used for train stations, passenger platforms, and government buildings. A basement exists under 1/3 of the main structure and includes a small vault with a missing door. The frame of the removed door is marked with “Citizens National Bank”, and was probably re-purposed. The interior seems to have once been structured as a living space with a 1960’s era kitchen, currently removed, as well as lowered ceilings. The owner has worked on removing interior walls and damaged plaster ceilings to expose the concrete deck and beams.

Regardless of the building’s original use, the structure is very unique and contributes to the neighborhood. We encourage the property owner to follow through with renovation plans, and become one of Oak Cliff’s success stories.

Special thanks to William Baker and Gayla Brooks Kokel for sharing information and photographs.