History of Joppee
The historic Joppee neighborhood of Dallas is tucked away near the banks of the
Trinity River, and at the edge of the Great Trinity Forest in southeast Dallas.
As one of the few remaining “Freedman” towns in the nation, the Joppee community is ripe
with history. It is believed that the community’s name originates from a biblical reference
and translates to “beautiful” or “the beginning” in Hebrew. “Joppee,” has also been
been spelled: Joppa, Joppie and Joppy. Phoenetically, since the 1800’s it has been
Joppee and the community decided to maintain that spelling. The community was
settled in the late 1860’s by freed slaves of the nearby Miller plantation, and is one of
the three remaining Freedman communities in Texas. It is still considered one of the
best preserved Freedman communities in the United States. Joppee hosted the first
Juneteenth festivities in Dallas, celebrating the day the Emancipation Proclamation
came into effect, June 19,1865.
Joppee was founded in 1872 by Henry CritzHines and freed slaves from the Miller Plantation. William Miller gave Hines a ferry, which was used to cross the Trinity River.
The railroad had been built and the ferry was becoming outdated, however Hines still
prospered. He married Matilda Miller, a former slave and later started a new community
called, “Miller’s Switch.” Although they were freed slaves, many chose to stay and work
for Mr. Miller, while the train was being built.
They carved trees out of the forest for
cabins, then replaced them with shotgun houses, some of which are still standing today.
Many of the original Joppee residents were freedmen who migrated from East Texas
Freedman's Town Memorial Bridge was dedicated May 23, 2007 in honor of the Joppee Community Founders. Dallas City Leaders as well as the community gathered together for the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, before walking over the bridge in unity.
The quaint town of Joppee, has been able to preserve its “small town” feel in the midst of a city as large as Dallas. There are many upcoming projects, like theTrinity River Corridor Project which promises to give positive enhancements to this community.
Joppee will be surrounded by a 20-60 million dollar golf course, in 2016; a 12 million dollar Equestrian Center, in 2015 and with another 3.5 million the City has promised to expand the neighborhood park, "South Central." in efforts to provide a trail connection into the Great Trinity Forest. The trailhead will offer a great view of the
Lower Chain of Wetlands, where park visitors will be able to see the many species of waterfowl that migrate through this area and the small forest animals that make it their home.
On May 15, 1999, residents of Joppee marked a momentous occasion in the history of their community. They dedicated a street as Foster's Crossing in memory of renowned civic leaders P. H. and Laura Belle Foster;
They were highly respected for their leadership and commitment to their fellow citizens. The Fosters devoted much time and energy during their lifetime to the betterment of Joppee.
Foster's Crossing and bronze markers were unveiled at the dedication and remain visible reminders of the couple's dedication to the South Central Dallas community where they lived.