In 1892, one of the United States’ most prominent financiers and real estate developers, August Belmont, Jr., bought the land that is now Belmont Addition, part of what is commonly referred to as Lower Greenville. By the early 1900’s, the neighborhood had become one of Dallas’ premier neighborhoods with numerous new homes. As Dallas residents moved to the suburbs during the 1950’s through the 1970’s, Belmont Addition, as many other urban neighborhoods, began to decline. Within the last 10 years, Belmont Addition’s close proximity to downtown Dallas and beautiful older homes have drawn many new residents, who in turn have revived Belmont Addition to her once prestigious state.
August Belmont, Jr., like his father, maintained investments in several business sectors, including railroads, land development, and banking. Belmont Stakes, the third jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown, derived its origins from Mr. Belmont, who also developed the New York City subway system. In 1892, when Mr. Belmont bought the land that became Belmont Addition, he planned to turn it into a tony urban residential development. He extended an existing streetcar line, cleared and elevated the lots for building, laid sidewalks and streets, and ran utilities to the new homestead lots. Well-known historian Captain Roy F. Hall referred to Belmont Addition, saying, “Anything August Belmont did in those days was news and ‘Belmont’s Addition’ was the talk of the country.”
Just as he put the Belmont Addition lots on the market, the economic crash of 1893 hit, and he was unable to sell the property. The land became overgrown and sat vacant for more than a decade, with the lots finally being sold to developers and builders by the Hann and Kendall Real Estate Company, who retained the Belmont Addition name. At the time Hann and Kendall sold the lots in the 1910’s and 1920’s, Belmont Addition was referred to as the “best part of East Dallas.”
Belmont Addition remained one of Dallas’ premier neighborhoods until the mid-20th century, when urban flight to the suburbs left many of the homes unoccupied or turned into rental properties. Its residents moved to other Dallas area neighborhoods, such as Lakewood and Highland Park, and Belmont Addition became inhabited by low-income residents who could ill-afford the cost of maintaining a 40-year-old home. The area was re-zoned as multi-family, and as some of the older homes were chopped up into rental units, it appeared that Belmont Addition would forever lose its charm.
Then, in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, just as the rest of the country began to experience a movement away from the tear-down-and-build-anew mentality of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and as Dallas property values began to rise, people once again saw Belmont Addition as the shining star of the East (Dallas) that she is. Since then, the area has experienced a total rebirth – many new residents have moved into the area, and most of the homes have undergone substantial renovation to bring them back to their original luster. Present-day Belmont Addition remains a mix of single and multi-family homes, and they exude a charm best understood by someone familiar with East Dallas. “Buying a home in Belmont Addition is buying a piece of Old East Dallas history.”