Bear Creek Historical Society – Irving, Texas

Established on the outskirts of what is now Irving, Texas, Bear Creek is one of the oldest freedmen communities in Texas. Jim Green, a former slave, purchased land near Bear Creek in 1878. By the early 1900s, nine black families owned land in the community at Bear Creek.

These residents were farmers who either worked on their own land or sharecropped on others’ land. Green and the other residents established Shady Grove Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1884 and later in 1917 a school building, which was on land donated by Jim Green to the community.

Founded in 1917, the Freedom School at Bear Creek began as a community-supported facility. During the twentieth century, the school became part of the Dallas County Common School District and was renamed the Sowers School #2 for African-American children. In 1955, the Irving Independent School District annexed the schools in Bear Creek.

During the twentieth century, the areas surrounding Bear Creek began experiencing rapid growth from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and the related highway and airport expansion. This industrial growth would eventually make its way to the small farming community of Bear Creek, which today is a small neighborhood located in the city of Irving. Some of the descendants of the original settlers of Bear Creek still live in the area and have set up a small museum to honor the memory of the early inhabitants of the community. 

The cemetery for Bear Creek residents is known as the Shelton’s Bear Creek Cemetery, and it has faced a similar fate as the St. John’s Cemetery. Much like St. John’s, Shelton’s Bear Creek is isolated on someone’s property, very few people in the community know it exists, and it is very rarely cleaned up. Descendants of people buried in Shelton’s Bear Creek Cemetery have seen what Denton County has done for the St. John’s cemetery by taking responsibility for it and appropriating nearly $20,000 in funding to the cemetery, and they hope the City of Irving will follow suit for the Shelton’s Bear Creek Cemetery.

The demographics of a place can be a fair indicator of how ‘neighborly’ a place is. 61% of the households in Bear Creek Historical Society are renter-occupied.

It is not surprising to note that places with highly-rated public schools tend to have relatively higher home prices because of the perpetual demand for those neighborhoods. If you have children or plan on having them in the future, checking out the nearby schools and their ratings is a good idea. There are 2 C and higher-rated public elementary schools in the district. There are 2 C and higher-rated public middle schools in the district. There are 2 C and higher-rated public high schools in the district.

There are also plenty of dining options for the residents of Bear Creek Historical Society, Irving. You can grab your morning cup of coffee from Pax & Beneficial, Starbucks, or Chick-fil-A and sit down for a relaxed weekend brunch at Angelo’s Spaghetti and Pizza House. Dessert shops like Argentina Bakery, Baskin-Robbins, and Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy Store in Bear Creek Historical Society, Irving are great options for satisfying your sweet tooth. 

Residents love to order tacos from El Pollo Regio, El Pollo Loco, or Rudy’s Mexican Restaurant and burgers from Whataburger, Griff’s, or Mixed Up Burgers. Whataburger, El Pollo Regio, and Aspen Creek Grill are some great spots for a fun dine-in experience.


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