When I was in high school I remember going to Deep Ellum to see shows. I always had to have a parent, friend’s parent, or my older brother go with me. I never thought I’d be living here and taking walks by myself around the neighborhood as often as I can.
In October I will have lived in this spot for two years, and in that time Deep Ellum has seen a lot of change. Bars, restaurants, art galleries, vintage shops- these kinds of places have been blooming like flowers of economic hope lately. Only sometimes I worry that Dallas is going to go all Dallas on Deep Ellum and screw up the historic ghosts that placidly haunt and inspire this area.
I use my jaunts in Deep Ellum as a time to awaken creativity. When I walk past some of the abandoned buildings or old storefronts I attempt to recall articles I’ve read detailing the narrative of the buildings I pass. I try to remember stories I’ve heard from people who called Deep Ellum their stomping grounds in its heyday. A part of me longs to travel back to the 20’s and sip cocktails at one of the area’s jazz lounges. While I make my way along the sidewalks, in my mind I recall my own drunken nights here filled with embarrassing stories and I try not to blush. Then I think about the artists and entrepreneurs I’ve seen and met who have contributed to this area and it inspires and excites me. I listen to songs of local bands piping through my earphones as I stroll down the now rapidly-changing streets and I wonder how everything might change with it.
But then, I think about the businesses here and the people who frequent them, run them, work there, or show off their art/music there and how most of these people also call Deep Ellum home (and have for a long while). And I realize how maybe pockets of a city can remain the same despite certain circumstances as long as the community and business owners uphold the history and value of this place. And I believe they will.
Perhaps these upcoming changes are kind of like the white paint on the old Union Banker’s building- peeling back to reveal the original red brick; a natural sloughing of something that, for a while, wasn’t working only to expose something that was there from the start- something beautiful and true.
I believe it’s up to you and me as much as anyone to unveil the “red brick” of Deep Ellum. To let it be what it’s always been- a place for creativity and possibility to come alive. A place where you can find and be found.
What are some of your favorite memories in Deep Ellum? What do you think of all the new changes being made in the area?