The English garden at 6005 Swiss is the stuff dreams are made of.

The English garden at 6005 Swiss is the stuff dreams are made of, but it’s not the only stunning home you’ll find in the Swiss Avenue Historic District.

It all began when successful real estate developer Robert S. Munger had a unique and forward-thinking vision. He came up with the idea of planning and building an upscale residential community near downtown Dallas. This first deed-restricted neighborhood in Texas included the exclusive and elegant parade of stately, beautifully grand homes along Swiss Avenue.

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6015 Bryan Parkway

This beautiful historic home at 6015 Bryan Pkwy. just hit the market. It’s located inside the Old East Dallas neighborhood of Munger Place.

Even being a long-time Dallas resident, you might not be familiar with the official lines of Old East Dallas, unless perhaps looking at homes in the area. Looking at the neighborhood’s past is like a fascinating history lesson! Four adjacent, amazing historic neighborhoods are all part of Old East DallasSwiss Avenue Historic District, Peak’s Suburban Addition, Munger Place, and Junius Heights.

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5533 Swiss Ave ext

Mary Mapes is the CBS News producer who lived the life fantastic as Dan Rather’s principal producer for 60 Minutes. In 1999, their collaborative work culminated in a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for an investigative report on abuses in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

But Mapes and Rather, as you may recall, are also known for leaving CBS after their famous 2004 report that questioned how George W. Bush got into the (largely noncombat) National Guard during the Vietnam era. It questioned whether he received favorable treatment and even fulfilled the required obligations before his 1973 honorable discharge. It was the early era of blogging and the web microscope. The authenticity of military documents Mapes and Rather used in the report was questioned by bloggers who contended that the typeface used in those documents (Microsoft Word) didn’t yet exist, strongly suggesting the documents had been doctored or were forgeries.

It was one of the most famous events in the history of American journalism. To anyone in broadcast journalism, Dan Rather was the Walter Cronkite of our generation, the shoulders of truth. The ordeal was surreal.

On Sept. 20, 2004, CBS News president Andrew Heyward apologized for the report, as did Rather on the air that same night.

And thus began a nightmare for Mapes, including dismissal from the sterling network brand. Rather resigned from CBS a year later, shipwrecking one of the most stellar careers in broadcast journalism. Mapes was put through the wringer:

Mapes eventually found herself on the receiving end of a more than 200-page report from a panel commissioned by CBS and headed by former Republican attorney general Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press president Louis D. Boccardi.

The panel said it “had not been able to conclude with absolute certainty” whether the documents used in the report were “authentic or forgeries.” Nor did it find evidence of “liberal bias.”

All that time, Mapes was married to Dallas Morning News reporter Mark Wrolstad and living in Munger Place on Swiss Avenue right here in Dallas. The couple bought the home in 1998.

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964

2501 South Blvd.: One of the great homes available in this historic area

Ever wish you’d bought on Swiss Avenue in the 1970s and 1980s, long before you needed nearly a million smackers to buy a mansion?  Well, step right up …

If Part One was a bit of a Cliff Notes version of the South Blvd and Park Row historic neighborhood, then this column gets you into the game.  While purchasing one of the current listings can’t be considered the “ground floor” of this burgeoning area, there’s still plenty of sweat to be turned into equity. For those truly seeking the ground floor, keep your eyes peeled one of the area’s derelict properties to hit the market.

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4937-Swiss-web

It’s practically an institution in Dallas, an event that brings together families to enjoy one of the city’s favorite neighborhoods. Of course, I’m talking about the Swiss Avenue Historic District Mother’s Day Home Tour, which is a two-day event on Mother’s Day Weekend (May 7-8) with a jazz brunch, an art fair, a free speaker series at the Aldredge House, and plenty of time to stroll down the picturesque streets of this standard-bearing neighborhood. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the tour. Brunch is $25 per person.

This year’s tour features some phenomenal homes that really speak to the diversity of architecture in the neighborhood. Not only can you enjoy the classic Prairie-style and Arts & Crafts architecture for which the neighborhood is known, but this year’s tour includes stops at a fabulous Dutch colonial revival and a stand-out two-story manor.

While we can easily fall in love with just about every home in the area, we have a soft spot for 4937 Swiss Avenue, which is owned by Lee and Bryan Jones. This home has gone through such a thoughtful and tremendous restoration that you just have to see to believe! We caught up with the homeowners to see how they’re getting ready for this annual spectacle, and what tour goers have to look forward to when scoping their lovely abode!

Stay tuned to the blog next week as we will be giving away tickets to this fabulous event!

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4109 Live Oak

The stately home at 4901 Live Oak was torn down by investors last year. Noted preservationist Virginia McAlester has put together a fund that will keep properties like this one from being razed.

Back in the 1970s, Munger Heights was a seedy neighborhood full of rent-by-the-room boarding houses and dilapidated old homes desperate to be shored up should they catch a stiff breeze. Homeowners and activists saw the area for what it was — full of potential — and created a revolving fund to buy the homes at risk of being lost to a wrecking ball so they could be restored to their historic beauty.

After watching perfectly useful historic homes and buildings being torn down one after the other, Virginia McAlester, Jim Rogers, Lisa Marie Gala, and Neil Emmons said that enough was enough. Together they founded the Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties (DEEP) fund.

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The home at 6272 Mercedes Ave. is one of five we're featuring this week in our round-up of open houses.

The home at 6272 Mercedes Ave. is one of five we’re featuring this week in our roundup of open houses.

This is one of the last weekends before the holiday madness begins, so take advantage of the gorgeous days and visit some of Dallas’ open houses.

In this week’s roundup, we’re visiting neighborhoods from the M Streets and Knox-Henderson, to Swiss Avenue and Lakewood. The prices range from $420,000 to $2.295 million. We hope you make time to visit some of these open houses or others you discover—by our count, there are 193 in Dallas alone. Leave us a comment with your thoughts, or if you know of any you think we should mention next week.

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Aldredge-House

I had a personal stake in this dog fight, as I have mentioned before: I’m a proud member of the Dallas County Medical Alliance and I do not want us (the DCMA Foundation) to lose Aldredge House. Never ever. It’s a beautiful home, one of the few open historic homes left in town, and it means a lot to many people in Dallas, particularly Alliance members. So of course I attended the hearing as soon as I could, and was happy to see so much press there. Robert Wilonsky at the Dallas Morning News tells it best, and he’s not an Alliance member. Read on.

But can I just tell you about some of the more tantalizing moments?

Chris Hamilton, the young attorney with a child who lives across the street from Aldredge House, and who has spent so much time on this case,  said that the party noise woke his child and sometimes also him from sleeping.

He showed a video in which attendees cursed at a neighbor; he said it was “a little bit scary” to be woken from a “dead sleep by people who are screaming at the top of their lungs.” He showed forged signatures from a vendor contracted by the caterer showing that neighbors were OK when giant tents being erected on the property in 2014 and 2015.

Red panties

The red panties that started it all!

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