This day in 1925

A Grand Boulevard That Never Was

Not to be confused with a section of Elmwood Blvd once named Kessler Blvd,* Dallas long ago had plans for a 100-foot-wide road that would loop from the Houston Viaduct through the Kessler Park and Stevens Park neighborhoods, turn south and follow the natural path of creeks near what is now Kiest Park before looping back north. A 1925 story in The Dallas Morning News is the first mention of this road.

 The Dallas Morning News – January 8, 1925

The Dallas Morning News – January 8, 1925

Oak Cliff author Gayla Brooks wrote a wonderful history of the Kessler Loop for Oak Cliff Advocate, theorizing it was the automobile that ended plans for a road designed for horse-and-buggy transportation. But plans for the southern part of the loop continued well into the 1940s when cars were everywhere, so it's possible that two other factors played a role: funding and changes in transportation policy.

The Great Depression slowed most construction projects nationwide, especially ones that were not shovel-ready and later advanced under New Deal programs like Dealey Plaza's triple underpass and many buildings around White Rock Lake. And shortly after WWII, federal dollars focused on building the Interstate Highway System, which prioritized city-center to city-center connections. It makes sense that local roads like the Kessler Loop were shelved for national projects like I-35.
 
A larger road, the Outer Kessler Loop, did advance and became part of what today is Loop 12, with a segment named after county commissioner George W. Ledbetter.

 "Inner Kessler Boulevard Works Wins Ledbetter Recognition."  The Dallas Morning News  – June 16, 1928

"Inner Kessler Boulevard Works Wins Ledbetter Recognition." The Dallas Morning News – June 16, 1928

 

*On October 14, 1942 the Dallas City Council voted to rename a section of Kessler Boulevard to Elmwood Boulevard "to eliminate confusion" with the proposed Inner Kessler Loop.