It was only a generation ago you would pass through the small farm & ranch community of Southlake, TX and forget you ever did. Officially becoming its own town in 1956, a few years after the construction of Lake Grapevine, Southlake has grown into one of the premier places to live in the United States. With unmatched proximity; elite public schools; abundant shopping and dining; and small-town feel, Southlake is becoming one of the top lifestyle-places in America for established individuals, affluent young professionals and budding families alike.
Until very recently (a decade or two), Southlake has always been a farming and ranching community; well before its incorporation in 1956. Known to locals in the Civil War Era as "The Area West of Grapevine", Southlake was a place folks could settle for a reasonable price. That reason ended up being the unforgiving, less fertile soil; yet, that didn't deter the first colonies to form. These were people from all over the US. They established Lonesome Dove, White Chapel, Old Union, Jellico in present-day Southlake. The beginning of the 20th Century had it's high's and low's in Southlake, just like it did in the rest of the country. World War I and the Spanish Flu touched every soul in all of the colonies, and some of their loved ones are still buried in Lonesome Dove and Whites Chapel cemeteries. The Great Depression did no favors for any locals either. Farmers and ranchers were decimated, but most people in Southlake made it through relying on themselves and each other. At the end of the era, Bonnie & Clyde's streak of terror tore right through present day Southlake. A monument at Dove Rd & Hwy-114 was erected in memory of the two Texas State Troopers the duo gunned down.
Not all was gloomy during the first few decades of the 20th Century. Education (as well as religion) was extremely important to everyone. Each colony had their own schools, but soon merged into one centralized school known as “Carroll Hill School”, named for local educator Burrell Estelle Carroll. Bob Jones, one of the first major landowners in the area, established the Walnut Grove School for the local African-American children as well as his own children. It is the namesake for one of Southlake’s current elementary schools, Walnut Grove Elementary. Bob Jones would end up being a local hero and most recognized businessman of the era; a legacy he would pass to his entire family tree.
With the population in North Texas beginning to boom after WWII, infrastructure became vital to the US. A perfect example is the eminent domain of the Lake Grapevine project in 1952 built by the Army Corps of Engineers. Clean water for the region became vital for growth. Not long after, Southlake would officially incorporate in September of 1956. Southlake was the quintessential small Texas town. They had several churches; a few stop lights; a school for grades 1 through 9 (Carroll High School began in 1965); a bank or two; the famous Jones Cafe (the first non-segregated restaurant in Texas); and a police car. Many locals enjoyed their small, tight-knit town with a decent football team. Things change though, as they tend to do. A cataclysmic event was coming that would make the Lake Grapevine project pale in comparison, and change the area forever: DFW International Airport.
Once the airport was built, Southlake saw their population double in the 1980's and then triple in the 1990's to about 22,000 people. If it wasn't for proximity in DFW, Southlake's major draw was and still is the Carroll ISD. Carroll ISD consistently ranks one of the top public school systems in America. Equally competitive to the classroom is the athletics. Almost every sport and activity Carroll provides holds at least one championship in the last 15 years. Finally, Southlake built their landmark Town Square in 1999 to accommodate the changing demographic.
Southlake today is one of the most affluent demographics in the United States with the average home price over $825,000 and average income over $250,000. Just recently, and due to the commerce-driven and business-friendly ecosystem, Southlake has become the corporate headquarters for companies like Sabre Holdings and TD Ameritrade. In conclusion, Southlake is extremely unique. It's still the small town feel, but with a burgeoning and dynamic demographic. You can be surrounded by the corporate elite, and at the same time, watch the town clear out for Dragon Stadium on Friday night. Southlake is truly an experience. I should know. It's my hometown!
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