Presented By

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  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The Founding of Uptown Friday, June 13, at 3:53pm on Rosie, one of the McKinney Avenue Trolleys

Phil Cobb

Phil Cobb and partner Gene Street began expanding their restaurant empire out of Oak Lawn and onto McKinney Avenue when there was no such thing as Uptown. 

“Most residential east of McKinney was starting to leave; yuppies were buying land in the historic part of State Thomas,” Cobb says. “There was hardly any residential at all. We came here in 1976. I would say population was 300 people.”

The residents who were there were passionate about their neighborhood. Activists watched every move Cobb and Street made, counting parking spots, measuring square footage. “Gene and I thought we better join them just for self-preservation,” Cobb says with a chuckle.

Through Cobb and Street’s Vineyard Association, the neighborhood received $250,000 in bond money to refurbish five blocks of McKinney Avenue. When they peeled back the asphalt, they uncovered trolley tracks. 

“Ed Landrum called me and said he and some other ‘juice freaks’—that’s the term for fans of trolleys, because of the DC current on the wire—had been measuring the crown of the ball of the rail,” Cobb says. “And he said you could probably run a streetcar on that rail for another 50 years.” 

Landrum invited Cobb over to his house, where he produced a seven-minute 8-millimeter film that showed the last time a trolley had run in the city of Dallas: midnight, January 15, 1956. The film showed a car pulling into the yard by Fair Park and the gates closing. 

“It was almost like a religious experience for me,” Cobb says. “I remember, literally, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Landrum claims I asked him to run the film 13 times. I was hooked. I wanted to see if I could do it.”

In 1989, for the first time in 33 years, a streetcar ran in Dallas. The trolley and the restaurants on McKinney helped brand the area. More important, they became the commercial anchor for the residential developments that would make Uptown one of the most successful urban revitalization projects in Texas history.