Update: We learned that David Webster George, the architect behind Olla Podrida and other major works in the area, died last week at age 90.
There’s nothing mysterious about Far North Dallas. Just a bunch of residential neighborhoods and shopping centers that sprouted up amid the real estate boom of the 1970s and ’80s. All the history and folklore is in Downtown, East Dallas and Oak Cliff.
That’s the perception anyway.
The truth is, we’ve got some strange and spooky stories of our own. Take Olla Podrida Mall, for instance. The whimsical shopping court, which was built almost entirely of timber, opened in 1971 at 12215 Coit, and many believed it also was home to some friendly spirits. We wrote about it in our October 2011 feature story, “Dark shadows of Far North Dallas.” The rumor is that the mall was built on top of an old pioneer-era graveyard.
The mall closed in 1996 and was demolished about 10 years later. It’s now the site of two Jewish schools, the Akiba Academy and Yavneh Academy.
Other “haunted” areas of interest include the Magic Time Machine, a building that used to be the old Addison School House in 1914. Venture to the upstairs karaoke bar, and that’s where you might start hearing some of the staff’s ghost stories, including one about a little girl with blonde ringlets.
Ask any psychic in our area, such as the popular Valentina Burton who offices off Spring Valley and Goldmark with her partner David Alexandre, and they’ll tell you that seeing ghosts is part of their morning routine.
Of course, these are all just stories. Whether you believe in this stuff or not, it does add some welcomed weirdness to our area of town.
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