Deep Ellum – The Nightlife of Dallas
The Munger Improved Cotton Machine Company was built on the site that is now Deep Ellum in Dallas in 1884. Henry Ford built his assembly plant in 1913 and three years later, The Grand Temple of the Black Knights of Pythias was constructed. Even though Deep Ellum was growing into an industrial district filled with warehouses, jazz and blues music started to creep into the area by the 1920s and 1930s. Clubs started to open, hosting artists and musicians such as Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bessie Smith and Huddie Ledbetter. It was a trend that would grow and define the atmosphere of district in years to come.
Deep Ellum began to sprout tea rooms, tattoo studios, clothing stores, locksmiths, pool halls and barber shops as time went by. Forgotten warehouse lofts became a lure for artists and empty warehouses became the ideal location for large clubs. Nightclubs such as Studio D brought performers such as Stick Men With Ray Guns, The Meat Puppets and The Dead Kennedys to Deep Ellum, while The Theatre Gallery hosted various acts from musicians such as the Red Hot Chili Peppera, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, and 10 000 Maniacs, to visual art performers and theatre acts.
During the 1980s, Deep Ellum underwent renovations and improvements, such as installing more street lights (which reduced crime), resurfacing and fixing roads and showering the buildings with much needed attention. Even though some argued that the original atmosphere of Deep Ellum had disappeared with the improvements, the district started to come alive with retail shops, restaurants, bars, coffee bars, live entertainment venues and an influx of painters and other eccentric and artistic figures looking to rent the renovated lofts.
Today, Deep Ellum is a major tourist attraction in Dallas, which has become the heart of new trends, unique gift shops, one of a kind restaurants and home to blues, jazz, Latin and rock. Another feature of Deep Ellum that serves as an attraction in its own right is the graffiti that can be seen in various places around the district, especially on the remaining pieces of the old Good Latimer Expressway tunnel. It is a district that is alive with eccentricity, art, music and a vibrant atmosphere, a part of Dallas that visitors should not miss out on.