In The Weeds, 12.28.14: Idiot’s Hill

One of the most famous (or notorious) neighborhoods in Denton, Idiot’s Hill, is bounded by Sherman, Windsor, University (U.S. 380) and Nottingham Drives. I say notorious because many who have owned homes there have endured the sandy loam soil and their resulting problems. There are also at least four possible origins of its distinctive name:

1. That anyone who would build/buy a house there must be an idiot.

2. Ironic name for an area where many professors and academics from the two universities lived.

3. The houses were thought to be overpriced at the time of construction.

4. Dr. John Ed Allen of UNT Mathematics Dept. is quoted in a recent NT Daily article stating that, “‘It’s called Idiot’s Hill because, at one point in time, this was considered too far from town and only an idiot would live so far from where they worked.'”

This area was and is still known for tax and surveying purposes as the Crestwood Heights Addition to the city of Denton. If you visit any of the three DPL locations, you have free access to Newspaper Archives where all issues of the Denton Record-Chronicle from 1909 to 1977 can be searched by date, name, phrase or keyword and there you can find many old classified ads for the various lots and homes in the area. Also helpful are County Court notes where deed transfers with dollar amounts are mentioned and this leads me to a connection I wasn’t aware of between Joe Skiles, the Park named for him and Idiot’s Hill.

 Here is Mr. Skiles’ obituary from the May 4th, 1981 DRC (click on all images for larger size):

SkilesObit5.4.81

Ads and short article on new development ca. late ’50s. Interestingly, it was also known informally as the “Skiles Addition”:

SkilesAddition

Those County Court records have numerous mentions of Mr Skiles and property transfers to various individuals. Interesting to see the prices listed back in the 1950s. Idiot’s Hill has had a bit of a local renaissance of late with younger “Gen X” homeowners. In fact, there is at least one music studio located there and a local coffee roaster has named one of its products after the area.

Chuck Voellinger

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