Deep Ellum is an adaptation of southern dialect for "deep Elm Street." The neighborhood is composed mainly of art galleries and shop, entertainment venues and recently, urban living. It is close to downtown Dallas and considered to be in East Dallas.
Deep Ellum is rich in history, developed in the late 1800s, it started as a residential and commercial neighborhood. Originally called Deep Elm, the pronunciation "Deep Ellum" by early southern residents stuck. Deep Ellum is now the official and historical name of the area located on the east side of Dallas. Deep Ellum was one of the first commercial districts settled by African-Americans and European immigrants. It is one of many historically significant neighborhoods in Dallas.
Deep Ellum is home to the city’s largest collection of commercial storefronts that were built in the early 20th century. It includes many individual structures that have significant history, including the first cotton gin factory built by Robert S. Munger in 1988. The Continental Gin Company was a series of brick warehouses along Elm Street and Trunk Avenue. The business became the largest manufacturer of equipment for cotton processing and was expanded with additional buildings in 1912 and 1914. In 1997, the industrial complex, which is part of the Dallas Landmark District, was converted to loft apartments.
Henry Ford selected Deep Ellum as a site for one of his early automobile plants. The facility was designed by architect John Graham and became an assembly plant for the Ford Model T. Located at 2700 Canton Street, the facility remained as such until the mid 1930's.
In 1914, Henry Ford selected Deep Ellum as the site for one of his earliest automobile plants. Designed by architect John Graham, who designed many regional facilities for Ford during the early 1900s, the building was constructed as an assembly plant for Ford’s famous Model T. The plant remained in this location at 2700 Canton Street until the mid-1930s; Adam Hats moved into the four-story brick and terra cotta structure in 1959.
The Trust Building, which is located at 2551 Elm Street, is one of the best known Dallas landmarks in Deep Ellum. It was constructed in 1916 as the Grand Temple for the Knights of Pythias. The Trust Building in Deep Ellum was designed by William Sydney Pittman, an African-American architect who was the state’s first black architect. He was the son-in-law of Booker T. Washington. In addition to being the headquarters for the Knights, it also housed many of the earliest offices for African-American doctors, lawyers and dentists.
Deep Ellum Music Scene
Deep Ellum is also known for its music scene. During the 1920's Deep Ellum was popular for early jazz and blues. The hot music scene attracted musicians such as Bessie Smith, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Texas Bill Day, and Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter. Deep Ellum was home to 20 nightclubs, cafes and parlors by the 1950s.
Deep Ellum's success began to wane after World War II as the automobile became the primary mode of transportation. This lead to the closing of teh Houston and Texas Central railroad tracks, which were removed to create Central Expressway to handle the new volume of automobiles. The streetcar line was removed by 1956 and residents began moving to the suburbs. In 1969, the expansion of Central Expressway removed most if the central Deep Ellum neighborhood on Elm Street.
Deep Ellum's Entertainment District
A revitalization began in the 1980s and by the 1990s Deep Ellum was quickly becoming a lievly entertainment district. There are 57 bars and nightclubs during this period and people traveled from all over Dallas to patronize Deep Ellum. Some of the most known venues include Deep Ellum Live (now closed), Trees, Club Dada, The Angry Dog and the Green Room. This lead to restaurants, tattoo parlors, shops and high-end residential coming into the area.
Deep Ellum struggled with a preceived high crime rate that started to create a reluctance for people to visit the area. Local papers started to report the "demise of the neighborhood" in 2006 as long-time music venues closed. The departure of these alternative-style venues left mostly clubs that were more 'hip hop' music, altering the "feel" of the area. Additional venues closed in 2007.
A turn-around began in 2009 and 2010, as new bars, live music venues and restaurants began opening again in Deep Ellum. Many closed venue re-opened along with the new, including Trees, Club Dada, The Green Room, Tucker's Blues, The Boiler Room, Anvil Bar and Three Links.
The Deep Ellum Brewing Company opened in 2011 and became popular initially in Dallas. Currently it distributes to bars all across Texas.
In 2014 and 2015, the streets were repaved and more parking was added. Growth and revitalization continues in Deep Ellum as a cultural and musical center for the Dallas and Fort Worth areas.