The Dallas 10th Street Historic District won support from a national preservation organization Thursday.
The organization's Associate Field Director Meg Lousteau was in the neighborhood Thursday for the announcement.
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10th Street is a Freedmans Town neighborhood where emancipated slaves began settling more than 150 years ago.
"The history of this neighborhood speaks to the history of Dallas and it's really in danger of being erased because of all the demolitions here," Lousteau said.
10th Street District residents have been fighting city demolition of old houses in the neighborhood. Vacant lots are everywhere.
"And we're hoping that the spotlight of the eleven most list will bring about some changes to the way the city handles the demolition process, so this neighborhood can be saved," Lousteau said.
Residents of the neighborhood have promoted the idea that it could become a Dallas attraction, beside the Interstate 35E/R.L. Thornton Freeway which is under reconstruction as part of the Oak Cliff Gateway project. A deck park over the freeway in front of the Dallas Zoo is just a few blocks from the neighborhood.
10th Street Residential Association President Patricia Cox said the neighborhood was self-sufficient in years past, with its own stores and businesses.
"Everybody is just amazed by the history of 10th Street," Cox said. "I think it will add more support to our historic designation, and that we'll be able to maintain our neighborhood."
New homes are being constructed on some of the vacant lots. Cox said current homeowners are worried that gentrification will price existing residents out of the area.
"Build homes that will add to the neighborhood not take away from it," Cox said.
Cox said long-time residents want new construction to be smaller dwellings that match the appearance of older homes.