University Park began as a cluster of homes surrounding the fledgling Southern Methodist University, which was founded in the then-rural Dallas County in 1915. The university supplied these homes with utility service until 1924, when the growing population could no longer be supported by the school's utilities. In response, the area's homeowners first sought annexation into the town of Highland Park, but were refused due to the high cost that would have been required to provide the necessary utility and safety services. Shortly thereafter, Dallas also refused a request for annexation on similar grounds.
Community leaders organized to incorporate as a separate individual city. According to state law, incorporation required that area residents hold an election on the issue before the new city could be officially formed and recognized. On April 24, 1924, voters approved the measure by a 5:1 margin. Operating under the commission form of government, the city began the work of shaping the new government and addressing the pressing need to establish basic municipal services. To provide for the financial needs of the city, another election was held soon thereafter to authorize the issuance of municipal bonds. Passing by a near unanimous margin, the $150,000 bond issue funded the installation of a new water supply system, street paving, and the construction of a new city hall and fire station. When first incorporated, the city encompassed 515 acres, 380 homes, and 1200 residents.
As a result of efforts to build and improve the city, University Park grew to a population of over 20,000 residents by 1945 and had become one of the most prestigious locations in the area. In fact, the community's attractiveness and tax value had risen to such an extent that the city of Dallas now wanted to annex University Park into its boundaries. At the time of the election, even the Board of Commissioners favored the election. In the largest voter turnout to that date and still one of the largest in city history, the annexation was denied by a 53% to 47% margin.
In 1946 an election to adopt a Home Rule Charter was held, but the measure failed and the city continued to operate as a General Law city. In 1989 voters approved a Home Rule Charter which officially adopted a council-manager form of government and expanded the three member board of Commissioners into a five-member city council.
Since the 1940s, the population and area of University Park has stabilized at 24,000 residents and 2,350 acres (4.7 square miles). The city is now surrounded by Dallas on three sides and the town of Highland Park to the south.
Originally University Park was a middle class community. Highland Park residents spearheaded the creation of the Highland Park Independent School District and asked the neighbors to the north to become a part of the district; taxes were lower since the district included University Park's population. HPISD had no racial diversity in the 1950s and 1960s, when other Dallas-area school districts dealt with racial integration and white flight. The federal court orders to integrate had no effect in HPISD since it did not receive federal money. As a result, values of HPISD-zoned properties in University Park rose dramatically and the demographic makeup became wealthier, with smaller houses being replaced by larger ones circa the 1970s.
- Snider Plaza
- Highland Park Village
- North Park Center
- Galleria Dallas
- University Park Parks
- Holmes Aquatic Center
- University Park Tennis Courts
- University Park Public Library
- Southern Methodist University – Campus Events
- Dallas Country Club
- Texas Sports Medicine
- Hillstone Restaurant Group
- Speed Worldwide
- Highland Park High School
- Ranked first among the 2019 best enrollment high schools in the DFW Metroplex
- Overall API: 100
- Highland Park ISD: 96.4
- Median value of single-family homes: $1,193,800
- Median household income: $211,741
- 80.4% of the University Park population are homeowners
- Crime incidence rate: 12.9 per 1000 residents
- Property tax rate: 2.11% of tax appraisal value
- Approximately 8 miles (15 minutes) from University Park to Downtown Dallas
- 23 miles (29 minutes) to DFW International Airport Passenger Terminals
- 8 miles (12 minutes) to the North Dallas Business Center
COMPASSTX License Number
Frisco, TX 75034