From Stanley Marcus to Jack Ruby, The Cedars has a History

The Cedars, named for the trees that once populated this area just south of downtown, is often called the city’s first neighborhood. Here's a rundown of the district that dates to the 1870s. 

The Cedars, named for the trees that once populated this area just south of downtown, is often called the city’s first neighborhood.

The neighborhood, which dates to the 1870s, began as a district of moderately priced homes, later becoming a favored location for Victorian mansions and cottages housing the city’s business entrepreneurs, Jewish population, and some of its wealthiest citizens.

The Cedars’ famous residents included Stanley Marcus, the founder of downtown luxury retailer Neiman Marcus and nightclub operator Jack Ruby.

The Cedars’ famous residents included Stanley Marcus, the founder of downtown luxury retailer Neiman Marcus and nightclub operator Jack Ruby, who shot and killed JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Ruby had several properties in The Cedars including a striptease bar, a theater, and a brothel. The former brothel — in a building that is now more than 100 years old — later was renovated into apartments and today houses condos.

The neighborhood’s wealthy eventually left for enclaves to the north and east, and The Cedars evolved into a heavy commercial and industrialized neighborhood. Most of its 19th-century homes didn’t survive the evolution and are gone now. Many of its old industrial buildings still stand, however, including the original Ford dealership building and the Southwestern Bell switching station.

“People moved out and you had that flight to the suburbs as things became industrial,” says Phillip Robinson, president of the Cedars Neighborhood Association. “It stayed that way right through the 1990s and into today there are still vestiges of the industrial era.”

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