Logo Sign - PRINT 16x16

If you like the idea of having a home on the range but can’t imagine living in the middle of nowhere, you might take a look at Corsicana. The first oil boom town in Texas, it was founded in 1848 and by the early 1900s it was one of the top 10 cities in the nation with the most millionaires. It’s stuck to its small-town roots ever since.

(more…)

Collinwood house

All photos courtesy of Plano Magazine. Photos by Jennifer Shertzer.

We recently told you about the precarious situation of the historic Collinwood House. It is the oldest structure still standing in the city of Plano, and it faced demolition to make way for a recreational pavilion in a new park being built by the city.

But after a community-based campaign to save this historically significant house, Plano City Council says it will leave the decision up to voters in the May 2017 bond election.

At last week’s council meeting, they ditched an earlier ultimatum that gave friends of the Collinwood House until Aug. 5 to raise $1.5 million for restoration of the house, and to present a viable preservation plan.

The estimated $3.5 million it will take to restore the Collinwood House will be placed in the future bond election. Council also asked the Plano Heritage Commission to continue their research into the historic significance of the structure, and council agreed to secure the house by building a fence and installing an alarm.

“We were pleased to hear that the council decided to follow the direction recommended by the Heritage Commission, which entailed securing the house, putting the restoration costs on a bond election in 2017, and allowing research into the site and structure to continue,” said Candace Fountoulakis, a board member for Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation. “Council members added to that with their statements about needing confirmation of the facts, staying focused on the Heritage Commission’s role, and refusing to agree to move the house if the bond election passed. We hope to inform Plano’s citizenry about the house so that they will know exactly how valuable the house truly is and what the costs of restoration will be, based on further research.”

(more…)

mayrath house

Ahead of the demolition of iconic Mayrath house at 10707 Lennox Lane, midcentury modern lovers will be given the opportunity to pick over the bones of the Truett A. Bishop-designed home. Once lauded as one of the most innovative homes in the country, it will soon be razed to make room for a new build on the 2.29 acre lot.

I’m a little gobsmacked. This style is only growing in popularity, with more and more of these structures being updated and remodeled by caring and clever craftsmen. It’s truly a sad day for Dallas.

“This is such a unique and historical house — they are going to have a heck of a time tearing that down … because my dad made things to last forever,” Anne Christian, one of Martin Mayrath’s children, told CandysDirt.com writer Leah Shafer.” He spared no expense to add all the wonderful touches to the house. The steel piers going down into the bedrock would be the most interesting part—I would think it would make the ground unstable [for a future home built there] to have them torn out.”
The Mayrath family in the grand entryway, late 1950s. Martin Mayrath made his fortune by inventing the grain auger. Photo: Preservation Dallas

The Mayrath family in the grand entryway, late 1950s. Martin Mayrath made his fortune by inventing the grain auger. Photo: Preservation Dallas

(more…)

mayrath house

Original Geneva cabinets are just one of the Midcentury Modern wonders in the iconic Mayrath house, located at 10707 Lennox Ln. in Northwest Dallas near the Straight Lane estates.

For all of its progress toward becoming a world-class city, Dallas still has a lot to learn about the value of historic architecture.

We are tear-down happy. The list of demolished Dallas buildings with significant historic and architectural value would go on for pages. But here are a few recent examples:

We might have another situation happening now. The Mayrath house at 10707 Lennox Ln. is a Midcentury Modern gem. It was designed by Dallas architect and homebuilder Truett A. Bishop in 1956, and is largely unchanged since then.

Photo: Michael Amonett

Photo: Michael Amonett

A Dallas Times Herald article from Sept. 23, 1957, titled Not a Splinter of Wood Used In Outstanding Home in Dallas, describes the Mayrath House like this:

Wood, the most frequently used material in homes, is completely shunned in the home of one Dallas family. There isn’t so much as a splinter of wood in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Mayrath, 10707 Lennox Lane…Built on columns of steel, the two story house is constructed with aluminum, glass, concrete and Austin stone. It may look like a country club at first glance, but it is a luxury home—one that probably is not equaled in the vast Southwest.

In terms of architectural value, this Northwest Dallas home near Royal Lane and Inwood Road is priceless. But it was listed Jan. 18 by Sharon Quist with Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate for $2.5 million, which is just the lot value.

That means the iconic Mayrath house and all its Midcentury significance is likely to face the wrecking ball, probably replaced by another generic McMansion or faux château.

When discussing this possible fate for the Mayrath house, a friend commented, “That is so Dallas.” But it doesn’t have to be. This home is worth saving.

(more…)

City Council 2

In what I expect was a piece of theater, last night, the Dallas City Council trucked over to Fair Park to meet with the people in an open-door session. The goal was for citizens to voice their opinions about the Fair Park task force’s plans. As one black community leader pointed out, a two-hour session with the neighborhood after a year of work by a largely secretive task force was “a slap in the face.”

Before I continue, I ended my last piece on Fair Park wondering how much rent the city was generating from the State Fair.

In 2013 (the most recent financial statements I could find), the State Fair generated $42,411,006 in revenues (up $4.5-million from 2012) and paid the city $1,784,185 in rent for its 3.5 month lease of Fair Park. That would place an annual rental value on Fair Park of $5,947,283 or just $1,789 per acre per month. Does that seem a terrifically low price for a National Register property?

Put in perspective, the nonprofit State Fair pays its top nine executives just over $3 million in salaries and perks, not quite double what they pay the entire city of Dallas. Also keep in mind, for $1,789 a month you could either rent a 917 square foot, 1-bedroom apartment in West Village or an ACRE at Fair Park with all its accompanying historical buildings. How’s that for perspective?

(more…)

The Art Deco exterior of the 508 Park building.

The Art Deco exterior of the 508 Park building before restoration. Its architecture is considered an excellent example of a Zig Zag Moderne building. Photo: Encore Park

You probably never noticed the boarded-up tan brick building near Park and Young streets in downtown Dallas. It sat abandoned for two decades, its sidewalks littered with trash and walls vandalized with graffiti.

But behind the grime and neglect, there was a story of intersecting histories waiting to be told.

This Art Deco structure, called 508 Park, was once the hub of the local music scene. Mississippi Delta blues legend Robert Johnson recorded nearly half his songs, as well as his final work, in 1937. In fact, over 800 blues, jazz, western swing, and Mexican recordings occurred at 508 Park by Johnson and other legends such as Gene Autry, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Light Crust Doughboys, and Lolo Cavasos.

Blues legend Robert Johnson whose final recordings were at Encore Parrk's 508 Park. Photo: Encore Park

Blues legend Robert Johnson, whose final recordings were at Encore Parrk’s 508 Park. Photo: Encore Park

The Stewpot of First Presbyterian Church across the street purchased 508 Park in 2011. Thanks to their efforts, as well as dedicated preservationists, historians, architects, and volunteers, this architecturally significant building is singing again.

The campus, known as Encore Park, is a multi-phased, multi-venue campus that aims to bring all cultures together to experience and appreciate history, art, music, and community gardening.

Pat Bywaters is executive director of Encore Park Dallas and grandson of influential Texas artist and “Dallas Nine” member Jerry Bywaters. He’s been spearheading the research into 508’s history, visiting archives in California, Louisiana, and New York.

“I love doing research, and I’ve always loved history. As soon as we looked into 508, the music history came flooding,” Bywaters said. “The Encore Park project preserves not only the architectural relic, but a special place and time in Dallas’ history.”

(more…)

 

 

115 S. Tyler Front

This neo-classical building at 115 S. Tyler Street once supplied electricity to North Oak Cliff.

By Katrina Whatley
Special Contributor

Dallas is fortunate to have plethora of housing styles. You want something by a contemporary architect? We have many innovative, world-class examples. Want a charming 1920s Tudor or a Craftsman bungalow? We have several neighborhoods with beautiful offerings — both large and small — from Swiss Avenue to Elmwood. Midcentury modern lover? Cha-ching! Dallas has many exciting neighborhoods that are strictly thus!

Each home is always unique in its own right, and you will find many options for your preferred style in our fair city. However, CandysDirt.com takes you to a place so unique that there are only four examples in all of Dallas. Four. That’s right: one, two, three, four.

Realtor Randall Simpson is offering the only historical Dallas Power and Light building for sale at this time for a cool $1.6 million. The building, designed by Lang & Witchell, originally powered rail cars in Dallas. Jump for a peek inside!

115 S. Tyler Entry

(more…)

Faubion House 2

Tyler and Caitlin Faubion with their Vizsla John Wayne outside their Patricia Ave. Tudor. The Faubions have opened their homes for the annual Hollywood Santa Monica home tour, which benefits local schools. (Photo: Jo England)

Caitlin and Tyler Faubion fell in love with the potential inside their Hollywood Heights Tudor on Patricia. Right when they walked in the front door they could imagine open spaces, a lovely updated kitchen, and a sunroom that brought in the beauty of the outdoors.

There are so many wonderful touches in this home that make it feel absolutely classic, like those mahogany French doors and windows hewn by a close relative of the Faubions, as well as the subtly elegant details like crystal chandeliers and perfectly refinished hardwood floors. And while this home clocks in at about 1,260 square feet, the openness that allows you to easily navigate the common areas of the house make it feel much larger.

This will definitely be a popular property on this year’s Hollywood Santa Monica Neighborhood Association Home Tour, so don’t wait to buy your tickets and show your support of this active historic conservation district in East Dallas! You can purchase your tickets to the April 25-26 home tour online, as well as register for the silent auction on April 24 hosted by the Dallas Arboretum.

Jump for more on the Faubions and their fabulous home!

(more…)