Highland Park Village: A Historic Strip Mall

Highland Park, Texas is an enclave municipality within the city of Dallas. Along with its northern neighbor, University Park, Highland Park forms the über-rich duo known as the Park Cities. Within Highland Park, right across from the posh country club, is a historic strip mall called Highland Park Village. Declared a national landmark in 2000, Highland Park Village is one of the oldest car-centric shopping centers in the country. It’s also got some very nice Spanish-style architecture, so I drove down there on a warm February morning for some pictures.

Gallery

Clock Tower

Highland Park Village Clock Tower 1

This clock tower stands in the middle of the complex. It looks very California-esque.

Highland Park Village Clock Tower 2

Closeup of the clock tower.

Patio

Highland Park Village Stairs 1

There’s a small patio in the middle, with these elaborately decorated steps leading there.

Highland Park Village Grackle

A grackle on the patio.

Highland Park Village Tile

Closeup of the patio tile.

Highland Park Village Fountain

A pretty fountain on the patio. No coins in it though.

Highland Park Village Elevator

Even the elevator doors are elaborate. This isn’t original, but it sure matches.

Movie Theatre

Highland Park Village Theatre 1

Highland Park Village Theatre, with the marquee and a funky looking spire.

Highland Park Village Theatre 2

The movie theatre from the side, with a neighboring store in an octagonal addition.

Highland Park Village Spire 1

The movie theatre spire sticking out through the trees.

Highland Park Village Spire 2

Closeup of the spire. I love how blue the sky is.

Architectural Details

Highland Park Village Stairs 2

Another set of steps, leading to some offices next to the movie theatre.

Highland Park Village Lantern

There’s a dragon on this light fixture. It looks like something from the Renaissance Faire.

Highland Park Village Window 1

Even the windows are elaborate. The Highland Park city limit signs use this same shape.

Highland Park Village Window 2

Another window, this one without glass.

History

In the late 1920s/early 1930s, two local developers decided to build a “downtown square” for the town of Highland Park. They traveled around to Barcelona, Seville and California to get ideas. I have to say, they did a pretty good job of capturing the Spanish mission style. I’ve been all over Spain, and I can tell you that Highland Park Village captures the look of the Alhambra (though the Alhambra doesn’t have a parking lot and a Starbucks within its walls.) It’s certainly no substitute for real Spanish architecture, but it’s better than most of the strip malls you find nowadays. In a city know mostly for shopping and dining, Highland Park Village does it right.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer, photographer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://steve-lovelace.com.

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