Deep Ellum (derived from “deep Elm Street”) is an arts and entertainment district near downtown in east Dallas, Texas. One of the area’s attractions, especially to art aficionados, is Ellum Tunnels, also called “Good-Latimer Tunnels,” whose walls are covered with murals and various urban street art-type images from local “Big D” artists. The tunnels have long been viewed as the gateway to the popular Deep Ellum district.
Unfortunately, and much to the dismay of local artists and community activists, Ellum Tunnels are in the process of being demolished to make way for a new DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) station. They’re being taken down in stages and filled in over a two-year period, allowing the rail line and Deep Ellum Station to be constructed. A section of one tunnel commemorating its 1930 construction will be donated to Preservation Dallas.
The good news is that DART will also build a special art project at the new station as a reminder of the tunnels’ traditional role in the community. A “Deep Ellum Gateway Replacement Project” meeting was held earlier this year at Kettle Art, a neighborhood gallery, for artists interested in creating new art. This competition is for “bits and pieces” of art that will provide a “visual, pedestrian-friendly connection between the station and the Deep Ellum neighborhood.”
Upon learning of Deep Ellum Tunnels and its fate, Lowrider Arte Editor Edgar Hoill made it a point to visit the place during his next visit to Texas. The demolition was already under way, and much of the Tunnels had already been destroyed, but he did capture these images to preserve a bit of the Tunnels’ flavor.