Vickery Meadow, a small town full of hangouts for teens from the 1940s to the 1960s
Jerry holley, an antique auctioneer at the Dallas Auction Gallery, attended school and grew up near the northwest corner of Greenville Avenue and Walnut Hill Lane, where her grandmother owned a farm.
In the 1940s, the town of Vickery was an incorporated rural area north of Dallas comprising a few shops, a church, and acres of farmland and woodlands dotted with single-family homes on large lots and roughly bounded by what is now North Central Expressway, Walnut Hill Lane, Royal Lane and Harry Moss Park.
âIt was just an open country,â says Holley. âAnd for me, you know, looking back on it, I always felt like it was sort of the best of both worlds.
“I mean, we lived there a little bit isolated from the big city, but we were pretty close to the big cities and all the other things.”
Everyone knew each other and the graduating classes were small. There was not much delinquency and the children roamed freely and spent their time as they liked.
In 1945, the town of Vickery was annexed to the city of Dallas. Little changed for residents of the Vickery area until the 1970s, when a series of apartment complexes were built in the area to accommodate new residents as Dallas grew.
But the hangouts and roads that made Vickery a favorite haunt for teens and families in the 1950s and 1960s have remained.
Spring and summer nights in Vickery were spent either playing roller hockey, swimming or camping in White Rock Creek, or listening to music and picnics in Vickery Park, Holley says.
âYou come down the hill and cross the creek, and there was Vickery Park,â says Holley. âIt was huge. It claimed to have the largest swimming pool in Texas. They had music there on the weekends and dances and things like that.
Vickery Park was located on Greenville Avenue and Pineland Drive. This area is now the American Heart Association, Northwest Community Center, and Texas Cardiovascular Health.
Plumber Doug Saffel moved to the neighborhood as a child in 1949 with his family.
âThey had a big wheel, they had several rides,â says Saffel. âAnd up front, they had an annual picnic at Vickery Park. There was a large swimming pool, but I don’t know when it all started.
The pool and grounds – an area roughly at Greenville Avenue and Pineland Drive on 28 acres – were redeveloped in 1973 into apartments, according to a Dallas Morning News article. Part of the site eventually became the headquarters of the American Heart Association.
Some other teen hot spots at the time were the Deuback Ice Rink at 7800 Greenville Ave. near Harry Moss Park, a restaurant called Mr. Chicken on Shady Brook Lane (later moved to Greenville Avenue. in Milton) and White Rock Creek where they had spent the nights swimming in the part of White Rock Creek in Moss Park between Greenville Avenue and Walnut Hill Lane.
In Deuback’s, a family-friendly place that eventually burned down, teenagers rollerbladed and hosted championship roller hockey teams.
Deuback’s was owned by John Deuback’s parents before he and his brother Victor became owners of the rink in 1954.
âMy mom grew up with this rink,â says Holley. âShe used to go there when she was little. They went bankrupt, but you had that basic kind of entertainment there. “
Holley’s mother, Betty Brown, was a member of the first graduating class of Vickery Meadows High School in 1939. The school opened in 1938; seven years later, the school’s name was changed to Hillcrest High School.
At 99, Brown still remembers life at Vickery Meadow. From the Walnut Place Living Facility, she and Christine Holley, Jerry’s wife, recall their time in the neighborhood, separated for 30 years between 1939 and 1969.
Brown and the Holleys are alumni of Vickery Meadows / Hillcrest High. There were other schools in the area, such as Vickery Grade School on Holly Hill Drive in Ridgecrest. who went up to grade 12 at one point, and Ben Franklin Junior High. But it was at Hillcrest High School that Jerry and Christine first met.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the couple began to notice a shift from small family homes and acres of vacant land to a gradual filling of apartment complexes.
Leafing through the pages of a 1939 Vickery Meadows class yearbook, John Deuback’s photo can be found a row above Brown’s photo on the same yearbook page. The two knew each other from nights spent at the ice rink.
âI was there every night,â says Brown, some sort of skating genius at the time. â(The Deubacks) had a place next door where they sold root beer. “
Mr. Chicken, a chicken and hamburger restaurant, and Melody Lane were frequented for lunch, dinner and the race, respectively.
Melody Lane was a dark stretch of road in the woods between Park Lane and Shady Brook Lane. It is now a residential area lined with apartments and passes the Walmart and Sam’s Club on Retail Road. Thrill seekers who knew the cars well enough to take them apart and reassemble them took to the road, which was a well-known hangout for drag racing.
âWell, Jerry had a Chevrolet 57, and it was the fastest car on the market,â Christine says. âAnd he could take it apart and put it back together. He and the other guys were going over there on Melody Lane, which is now all singles apartments. “
Meeting in person was a must if anyone wanted to socialize. Christine says shared phones, or âreception linesâ at home, eliminated private or long conversations outside of school.
âSo the ice rinks, the church, the fast food parking lots, the drive-thru theaters and the school were our social media,â she says.
Drive through Vickery Meadow today, and the shopping environment is different.
The old hot spots are now fast food and retail chains. Vickery Feed Store on Greenville Avenue and Park Lane is now a sandwich shop and Mr. Chicken, who is no longer there, was across from where Henk’s Black Forest Bakery is now located. The number of pharmacies and small grocery stores that once lined these streets of Greenville and Park Lane are now the Vickery Park Library, The Shops at Park Lane, and cultural fast food outlets and restaurants.
âThe only thing in Vickery that I still recognize is the church I was baptized into and the food store which is now a Great Outdoors Sandwich store,â Saffel says.
So what happened and when did people start moving? The change started when the first apartments took hold. At the time, Jerry and Christine were in college. The younger ones who stayed in the 1960s wanted a taste of the big city and moved elsewhere.
âIn a way, that’s what happened there,â Jerry says. âYou know, kids of my generation, they started halfway through college and then moved on to other places. “