TABLE OF CONTENTS
In the midst of the great depression in the 1930s, there was not enough capital for much housing development in the United States. During WWII, the capital that could have been used to develop housing was being diverted for the war. When American soldiers came back to the United States eager to buy houses, they soon discovered that there were simply not enough of them to support the demand. This demand led to an unprecedented housing boom in the United States. An economic recovery after the war, coupled with savings, and U.S. Federal Housing Authority loans, made home-owning for many GIs possible. Legislation enacted by President Truman and congress gave economic incentives to encourage private investment in large-scale housing developments. Post-war suburbs sprang up all across the United States. These "packaged" suburbs had many common characteristics, such as prefabricated house parts, two to four standard models of varying size and price, and standard electric appliances. The community that most typifies the mass produced post-war suburb is Levittown (in New York), whose name is part of the American lexicon and conjures up images of rows of identical houses and yards.
Wynnewood was the first such post-war community in the Dallas area, and the first families moved in around January 1947. The story of Wynnewood, however, started long before. In 1913 American Home Realty Company bought the land, but plans for a suburban housing development were not made until the WWII years. The property had at one time belonged to John M. Wright, an earlier settler for whom a survey was made when it was farmland. Most of the land remained undeveloped until the 1940s, at which point the American Home Realty Company and its 820 acres in Oak Cliff switched hands. Ownership of AHR went to prominent businessman Toddie Lee Wynne Sr. and prominent real estate investor and developer Benjamin Hick Majors.
The presidency of AHR was given to Angus Gilchrist Wynne Jr., the nephew of Toddie Wynne Sr. Wynne was born 9 January 1914 in Kaufman County, Texas to parents Angus Wynne, Sr. (Texas) and Nemo Shelmire Wynne (1920 U.S. Census reveals her place of birth as Louisiana, but newspaper articles and the 1930 U.S. Census claim her birth was in Texas). His father and grandfather practiced law in the nearby town of Wills Point until his family moved to Dallas around 1928. Wynne attended Highland Park High School and graduated there in 1931. While Wynne Sr. successfully practiced law in Longview, Texas from 1932 to 1937, Wynne Jr. attended the Lawrenceville New Jersey Preparatory School, then Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. from 1934-1935, before receiving a B.A. from UT Austin in 1938. He worked on Texas oil fields from 1938 to 1940 when he received an ensign's commission in the Navy. In the Navy, he was awarded six service stars for service in the European and Asiatic theaters during WWII. After his tour, Wynne returned to Dallas and was handed the task of developing 820 acres in Oak Cliff in December of 1945.
Mass production techniques developed during WWII were used to meet Wynne's demanding building schedule, which, due to bad weather and shortage of materials, was rarely ever met. In 1946, the American Home Realty Company bought a large Dallas lumber mill to overcome the shortage and meet the strong demand that the housing development required. There were several different sections of Wynnewood throughout the development phase, including Wynnewood Park, intending to be an area of low-cost homes, and later, Wynnewood North, designed for bigger lots and lavish houses.
Wynne (Jr.) is largely credited with having the vision to make the Wynnewood idea - with its efficient building practices and well-designed, high quality houses - come to fruition. Part of the vision was to create a self-contained community, complete with an all-encompassing shopping area. The 27-acre Wynnewood Village Shopping Center provided everything from a hotel, bank, theatre, church, beauty salon, grocery and supply stores, restaurants, and doctors' offices. Wynnewood's aim of mass-produced, quality houses with unique and personal characteristics was unrivaled and its success continued to suggest to Dallas developers the notion that there was great potential on the other side of the Trinity River. In 1946, Wynnewood was one of the largest residential developments of its kind, originally estimated at $25 million; and estimated at more than $40 million by 1960, solidifying its place among the first and most ambitious post-WWII suburbs in the nation.
This scrapbook contains a collection of various items related to the creation and marketing of Wynnewood, including newspapers, photographs, home building and promotional publications, and community papers. The collection is a good resource for information on post-WWII subdivisions in Dallas as well as prominent businessman Angus Wynne Jr’s career. The dates covered in this collection are from 1946 to 1953.
The scrapbook pages themselves have been numbered and encapsulated (a few have not been fully encapsulated), while the rest of the lose materials have been broken down into appropriate files or folders.
Restrictions on Access
Access to this collection is not restricted.
Restrictions on Use
Photocopying of the collection is allowed at the discretion of the archivist.
Other material in Texas/ Dallas History and Archives Division relating to Wynnewood:
Fall 2002, Legacies, p 39
Blanton Economic Studies, Call Number 338 B643 Numbers 25 and 170
Business and Industry - Wynnewood
Biography - Wynne, Angus Jr.
Biography - Wynne, Toddie Lee Sr.
This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Wynne, Angus Gilchrest Jr.
The scrapbook pages were deacidified with Bookkeeper Deacidification Spray prior to encapsulation.
MA 03.4 Wynnewood Scrapbook, Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library
Processed by Brian Collins
Return to the Table of Contents