DEEP Gearing Up to Save 1890 Circa Home of Dallas’ First Architect

1923 N Edgefield

The Flanders House, above, is at 1923 N. Edgefield in West Dallas. At 125 years old, it is one of the oldest buildings in Dallas. It was built as the home of James Edward Flanders, who is widely known as Dallas’ first architect. (Except that’s not entirely accurate.) The home has not been lived in since the 1960’s, never updated or remodeled. In fact, it looks exactly as it did when it was built in the 1890’s. It is, like most historical homes, a beautiful reminder of the different life lived in these parts prior to 1900.

James Edward Flanders James Edward FlandersNow the land is being redeveloped by a developer, who is trying to save the house rather than demolish it.

But time is running out.

Looking at the structure, you can see the architectural history:

Flanders House CU

    • Medallion and carved lintel above dormer window
    • Transom and sidelights on front door
    • Spandrel on porch with spindle work detail along with turned posts
    • Mansard porch roof
    • Bay window with two-thirds split window on bay window
    • A possible kitchen addition to the rear of the house. Kitchens of this period were often located in separate back buildings for fire safety: stoves were dangerous and a kitchen fire could burn down an entire house.
    • window with imbrication surrounding
    • Fish Scale patterned wood shingles

But DEEP is on it! Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties Inc., recently struck a verbal agreement with the developer who owns the land, and who has agreed to put some of its demolition budget toward the cost of moving the old homestead.

Donate here.

But since the preservation group is so new, pockets are shallow. DEEP is just beginning to gather funds, but the clock is ticking. There is no cost estimate yet on how much the move will cost, though founder Lisa Marie Gala says that when she’s been involved with moving old buildings before, it rarely costs more than $30,000.

Currently the nonprofit has only a few thousand dollars in the bank. The group is looking to raise more funds and find a volunteer moving company who can move the home on short notice.

But move it where?

That’s the other problem preservationists often find: even if you can save a house, where do you put it?

Environmental engineer Terri Symond owns a wooded lot on Coombs Creek Drive just south of Illinois; she wants to move the house there, but the land has a conservation easement that basically says, no house allowed.
Symond was doing environmental testing on the property for the developer when she found the home. When the developer told her the home would be demolished, she asked to keep it. Kind of like an old sweater a friend is about to toss. The developer has been terrific, says Symond, even helping her remove the conservation easement.

So as Lisa Marie Gala works with DEEP to raise the money to save and move the house, Symond will be working on the conservation easement from her property. Donors, say the group, are more than welcome, particularly if they have a nice big flatbed truck capable of moving a house or maybe even a piece of property. Wouldn’t this be a great home to show school children how people lived in Dallas 125 years ago?