Modern Mile Dallas Aims To Retree Walnut Hill

Long known for its modern architecture highlighting home tour, Modern Mile Dallas suddenly – like many neighborhood groups along the path of last year’s EF3 tornado – found itself faced with a mile that was quite bereft of its formerly lush tree canopy.

That tornado that tore through the southern half of that mile also tore through an awful lot of mature trees, destroying some and heavily damaging others.

And now, as homes are being repaired or rebuilt, the group is putting the home tours on hold – in fact, shortly after the tornado, they even talked of dismantling altogether.

But the loss of the trees didn’t sit right, so the committee instead decided to focus on repairing that view – planting new trees throughout that half mile, including at the soon-to-be built Walnut Hill School and the yards of homeowners that were in the path of the tornado.

But trees aren’t cheap, even though the group is working with Armstrong Berger Landscape Architects and Fannin Trees to determine where and what to plant.

MMD is now asking for donations – $250 will buy about $500 worth of trees, they said, and they even have an anonymous donor willing to match $50,000 in donations through the end of November.

That, if you’re doing the math, would equal $100,000, which will buy an awful lot of trees.

Kathy Adcock-Smith:

“We have currently raised over $28,000 and your additional donation will make that money go twice as far,” MMD’s Kathy Adcock-Smith told prospective donors in an email earlier this week. “We have a $50,000 pledge to match funds from an anonymous donor.

“If we make our $50,000 goal, the resulting $100,000 will plant a lot of trees!”

Courtesy Modern Mile Dallas

But that’s not the only fundraiser the group is holding. Many long-timers recalled that in the 1960s, painted wooden Christmas trees started appearing in front of the homes along Somerton Drive – identical, handmade wooden trees painted in Christmas colors and covered in lights.

Eventually, local legend has it, the trees were in front of every home on Somerton. Then homes on Gooding joined in.

But by the ’70s, they disappeared. Allegedly, a group of high school boys broke or damaged most of the trees one night, and they disappeared after that.

But MMD, in a fit of nostalgia, is bringing them back as part of its fundraising efforts to buy more trees. They have a goal of selling 500 of the throwback trees, which cost $165 including delivery.

To donate to the tree drive, click here. To buy a wooden Christmas tree, click here.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at

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