Monday, October 13, 2014

Highland Park Celebrates 100th Birthday October 17-19

Did you know that the land now known as Highland Park was bought by a group of investors from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the late 1800s? Wickipedia tells us that Henry Exall led the project and he intended to develop the land along Turtle Creek as Philadelphia Place, exclusive housing based on parkland areas in Philadelphia. He laid gravel roads, and dammed Turtle Creek, forming Exall Lake, before the Panic of 1893 brought a blow to his fortunes, halting development. In the 1890s, Exall Lake was a common picnic destination for Dallas residents. In 1906, John S. Armstrong (the former partner of Thomas Marsalis, the developer of Oak Cliff), sold his meatpacking business and invested his money in a portion of the former Philadelphia Place land, to develop it under the name of Highland Park. He chose this name as it was located on high land that overlooked downtown Dallas. Wilbur David Cook, the landscape designer who had planned Beverly Hills, California, and George E. Kessler, who had previously planned Fair Park and most of downtown Dallas, were hired to design its layout in 1907 "as a refuge from an increasingly diverse city." Notably, twenty percent of the original land was set aside for parks. Highland Park's 500 residents voted to incorporate on November 29, 1913, and incorporation was granted in 1915, when its population was 1,100.  Seems to me that if Highland Park is celebrating its 100th birthday, they would celebrate in 2015, but they are celebrating now.

To help celebrate Highland Park ISD's Centennial, a group of dedicated parent volunteers designed historical displays on each campus. The displays showcase artifacts and pictures from HPISD's history, including cheerleading and athletic uniforms, diplomas and certificates, trophies and pictures from every decade. The public is invited to view the display cases from 1:30-3:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 17, when each campus will host an open house. Many of the items will also be showcased at the Scots Museum at HPISD's Centennial Block Party, from 2-5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 19.

After enjoying a tour of campuses during the Oct. 17 open houses, community members are invited to attend the BBQ with the Band dinner in the HPHS cafeteria. This event is the band's annual fundraiser, and will be held from 5-7 p.m., before the home football game. Dinner tickets are $10 each. This event will feature delicious food from Peggy Sue BBQ, live entertainment from The Dixie Scots and fabulous raffle and auction items. A take-out option for dinner is also available from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Click here for more information about the event.

The entire town is invited to join together for a Block Party on October 19 from 2-5pm at Highlander Stadium and the Multi-Purpose Activity Center across the street. Party highlights include: Bounce houses and games for kids, Food trucks, including: Ruthie's Rolling Cafe, Easy Slider, Jo Dawgs, SoCal Tacos, Three Happy Cows, Parrot Ice and The Guava Tree. Attendees will be able to view the Scots Museum, featuring photos, clothing and artifacts from the last 100 years in our schools, all on display at the Multi-Purpose Activities Center across the street from Highlander Stadium.  There will also be live performances from HP students, including choir, Belles, band and orchestra members. Guest speakers at the event will include Bruce and Leeanne Hunt, Leslie Melson, Mary Frances Burleson, Dr. Dawson Orr, Syd Carter and his granddaughter Sydney. Special songs will be performed by former superintendent Dr. Cathy Bryce, MIS student Mark Hancock and 2010 graduate Katie McDaniel. The block party will also feature special videos displayed on Highlander Stadium's new scoreboard.

Happy 100th Anniversary to Highland Park!