Highland Park Village Preston at Mockingbird- Great Shoppin

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Willard H. (Bill) Langhenry, MAI
214.893.5331 (cell)
214.692.6920 (office)

Kendall Laughlin, Broker
214.215.5343 (cell)
214.361-4420 (office)

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Highland Park Village Preston at Mockingbird- Great Shopping

Opened in 1931 amid much enthusiasm and attention, Highland Park Village is recognized as the first shopping center in America and the prototype for shopping centers across the country. According to the Urban Land Institute, Highland Park Village was the first development built on a single lot surrounded by parking areas with stores facing away from access streets. Uninterrupted by public streets, the Village hosts individual stores unified under one image, built and managed as a unit under single ownership. In March of 2000, Highland Park Village was designated as a National Historic Landmark. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Village represents a pivotal point in the evolution of the shopping center as a distinctive form of 20th century American architecture.
The story of the development of the Village began in 1906 when entrepreneur John S. Armstrong purchased 1,326 acres of land bisected by an old Indian trace later used as a cattle trail, now called Preston Road. Meandering through this farmland were several creeks filled with turtles. Mr. Armstrong envisioned a new, exclusively planned community just north of the bustling, young city of Dallas.

With great foresight, Mr. Armstrong and his two sons-in-law, Hugh Prather and Edgar Flippen hired noted architect Wilbur David Cook, the designer of Beverly Hills, to lay out the new Town, which opened in 1907. They set aside 20% of the land for parks, planning a high-class community with fine homes surrounded by abundant green space. The new community would be named Highland Park. After all, it was 130 feet higher than Dallas, and it certainly had plenty of parks.

In 1912, Mr. Flippen and Mr. Prather lured a country club to Highland Park as a drawing card to attract wealthy citizens of Dallas to their new development. This club, Dallas Country Club, is the oldest country club in Texas.

Over the years, Highland Park, a separate town now located within the boundaries of the city of Dallas, has become one of the most beautiful communities in the nation, rivaling even Beverly Hills. Because of a good original master plan and strict deed restrictions, it is today an enclave of gracious homes, fine schools and beautiful parks.

When Mr. Flippen and Mr. Prather decided that Highland Park needed a shopping center that could function as a town square, most bankers and merchants offered them discouraging words. Business was “expected” to stay downtown. But with the same planning and foresight used in establishing Highland Park, the developers traveled to Barcelona and Seville, Spain as well as to Mexico and California, studying the architecture in order to plan a retail center for Highland Park.

Prominent architects Marion Fooshee and James Cheek created this Mediterranean Spanish masterpiece, which today truly has become the “heart of the town.” Located at
the corner of Mockingbird Lane and Preston Road, it’s often referred to as “Downtown Highland Park.”

Highland Park Village had its Grand Opening in 1931 and everyone in town came. According to a long time resident, it was a true community party with booths and games, a Ferris wheel in the center, and the attraction of a grand prize for the lucky winner - a pony. For many years afterwards, a pony was raffled off at the annual Village fiesta celebrations. During these early years, it was not unusual for a shopper to arrive on horseback from one of the nearby bridle trails, and hitch up his horse to do a little shopping at Hunt’s Groceries, or to stop for a bite to eat at the S&S Tearoom.

The first buildings in the Village were a filling station on Preston Road, a sales office in the middle section, and the first retail section in the southwest corner. The completion of the Village required more than twenty years, interrupted by the great Depression and by World War II.

In 1935, the landmark Village Theatre opened. It was the first luxury suburban theatre in Texas. Built at a cost of $100,000 with seating for 1,350 persons, it has been a popular entertainment spot ever since. Until the theatre was leased in 1987 to American Multi Cinema, the second-largest theatre chain in the United States, it was said to be the last independently run theatre in the nation’s ten largest cities to show first-run films. Today the renovated theatre, operated by Regent, boasts four screens.

The year 1935 was a busy one in the Village, which saw the addition of Safeway (now Tom Thumb) Supermarket, as well as Volk Brothers. At first, Volk’s just sold shoes, only later becoming a department store. In fact, everyone thought Mr. Volk was crazy to be the first downtown store to open a branch in the suburbs. But in just a few years, the store had doubled in size and many people in Highland Park were wearing Volk’s shoes.

Possibly the grandest grand opening in the Village came in 1951 when hometown football hero and Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker opened his sporting goods store. The celebration caused traffic jams for blocks. By this time the Village was nearly complete. It had truly become the town square envisioned by Mr. Flippen and Mr. Prather, “Downtown Highland Park.” Business and pleasure on the plaza did not have to be interrupted by delivery trucks and service vehicles. The foresight of the planners and architects was reflected in their careful eye to detail. In the original master plan of the Village, they provided for loading zones in the back of stores so that trucks would not have to be on the plaza during business hours.

After the death of Hugh Prather, Sr. in 1959, management of the Village was taken over by his sons, John Prather and Hugh Prather, Jr. In 1966, the Howard Corporation acquired the shopping center. Under Howard Corporation management, little attention
was given to proper tenant mix, landscaping deteriorated, overhead wires began to criss-cross the property, inappropriate signage appeared, and tenants were permitted to make facade alterations that were not in keeping with the classical architecture of the Village.
Spanish arches were covered up and newer materials that did not blend with the basic stone and stucco began to appear.

In 1976, the Howard Corporation decided to sell the Village and enlisted the help of the Henry S. Miller Company. Henry S. Miller, Jr. became attracted to the Village’s unrealized potential. Mr. Miller had a sentimental attachment to the property because his father had been an associate of the Flippen-Prather Realty Company from 1917 to 1919 and a close personal friend of both partners, Hugh Prather and Edgar Flippen.

Henry S. Miller and partners acquired the property in 1976 for $5 million, a small portion of the money eventually invested in its renovation and refurbishing. He immediately set about replacing the basic infrastructure with new wiring and plumbing, and removing the overhead wiring. Simultaneously, he concentrated on the re-tenanting of the center. He convinced two of the anchor tenants that were considering leaving the Village to renew their leases. As leases of other stores expired, certain tenants were replaced by more appropriate ones.

In 1986 this nationally recognized landmark development received a bronze plaque from the Park Cities Historical Society in recognition of the historical and architectural significance of the center. The foresight of the original developers and the hard work of Henry S. Miller, Jr. were paying off.

Surrounding the central fountain, typical of Spanish plazas, are ten acres of brick paths and walkways, lush landscaping, benches and trees, and unique rows of buildings designed in a timeless Spanish Mediterranean architecture boasting arched doors and windows, imported red tile roofs, overhanging balconies, ornate tile work, embellishments, all finely crafted.

One of the developments of which Mr. Miller is most proud is the restructuring and renovation of the Village Theatre. It cost a lot more money than it would have cost to build a brand new four-screen theatre, but he wanted to maintain the exterior of the theatre because it was a landmark.

Over the years, the Village has acquired an international flavor. Internationally renowned shops such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Bottega Veneta, Escada, Robert Talbott, and Beretta Gallery combined with the local favorites of it’s a wrap, Deno’s Shoe Repair, Randall Morgan Village Stationers, William Noble Rare Jewels among others, create an atmosphere synonymous with style, charm and excellent customer service.

Highland Park Village has evolved into a center full of high quality apparel that also caters to the everyday needs of the people. Site of an annual Christmas Tree Lighting, Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides and Annual Celebrations, Highland Park Village offers something for everyone

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Angie Amadi 214-559-4050   Kiehl’s Since 1851 214-559-0700
Ann Taylor 214-522-4700   Larry Leon & Associates 214-526-0001
Anne Fontaine 214-522-0070   Larry North Fitness 214-526-6784
Anthropologie 214-219-4510   L'Image Salons Dallas 214-526-6410
Avant Garden 214-559-3432   Luca Luca 214-219-5822
Banana Republic 214-443-9485   Madison 214-528-8118
Banana Republic Men's 214-526-3269   Mailboxes Etc. 214-521-3776
Beretta Gallery 214-559-9800   Mi Cocina 214-521-6426
Bosley Medical 214-559-4447   Paciugo 214-219-6161
Dr. Patrick Brady & Dr. Nathan Harris 214-528-6116   Patrizio 214-522-7878
Café Pacific 214-526-1170   Peeper's 214-522-0352
Calame Jewelers 214-528-2866   Pockets Menswear 214-368-1167
Calvin Klein 214-520-9222   Polished Perfection Nails 214-528-9211
Cattle Baron's Ball


  Polo/Ralph Lauren 214-522-5270
Celebrity Bakery Café Takery 214-528-6612   Porthault 214-526-3545
Centennial Liquor 214-528-2041   Q Custom Clothier 214-780-0555
Chanel Boutique 214-520-1055   Regent Theater 214-526-9666
Cole Haan 214-522-5396   Regus 214-295-3000
Collectors Covey 214-521-7880   Robert Talbott 214-526-6800
Cooter's Village Camera 214-521-4553   Rudi Steele Travel, Inc. 214-522-2777
Couture Alterations 214-522-1140   Starbucks 214-528-0121
Crystal Charity Ball 214-526-5868   St. John 214-522-4194
Deno's Shoe Repair 214-521-1070   St. Michael's Woman's Exchange 214-521-3862
Dupree/Miller 214-559-2665   Susan Woodruff Luxury Shopping 214-522-6842
E. 61st 214-521-0828   Tom Thumb 214-521-5025
Escada 214-521-2882   Gerald Tomlin Antiques 214-526-3702
Fitigues 214-219-2649   Village Barber Shop 214-528-2497
Fishburn's Fabric Care Center 214-528-3603   Walker Row 214-373-6866
Harold's 214-521-4770   Walker Wellness Center 214-526-0064
Haynsworth Photography 214-559-3700   Who's Who Burgers 214-522-1980
Hermès 214-528-0197   William Noble Rare Jewels 214-526-3890
it's a wrap! 214-520-9727   Williams Dental Group 214-528-9799
Jamba Juice 214-219-3338   Williams-Sonoma 214-219-1753
Jane Noblet & Associates 214-521-8367   David Zelman, Ph. D. 214-528-9401
Jennifer Croll 214-520-6230  
Jimmy Choo 214-528-6801  
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