Wednesday Wonder: The Dickinson House on Professor Row Lives the Secret Life of Bees

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3441 University extI’m heading east for a college reunion soon, back to the Ivy-covered walls of Dartmouth, Baker Library and to catch tea at Sanborn House. But it was Dickinson House in Dallas that put me in the collegiate mood.

Dickinson House, 3441 University, is in the heart of Professor Row, as they call it, because the boulevard spills beautifully onto the SMU campus and the street was famous for the college professors and theologians who lived there and founded the street. In fact, many of them built their homes with loans from the college!

It is not named after Emily Dickinson, but after the first dean of the School of Theology at SMU, Robert E. Dickinson, one of SMU’s early theologians. The home was built in 1924 on a 55 by 177 deep lot as a one story craftsman. Today the home is a two-story wonder of spaciousness in a regency style, though if you look in the attic you can still see parts of the original roofline. Now a hefty 4393 square feet, the home boasts five bedrooms, four full and one half bath, formals, three living areas, a screened in porch, a sport court, and a full guest house that is grandfathered in as a back house and garage.

And, behind the garage, this home has a honey of a surprise: a bee hive that produces 50 pounds of fresh honey a year, all but eliminating the homeowner’s allergies.

3441 University foyer

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3441 University kitchen2The rooms are well sized, and two upstairs bedrooms share a bath Jack and Jill style. Know what’s amazing? The owner of this house raised no less than seven children in this house, and they are all grown up, successful, and raising families of their own — hence the “grandchild room”. You enter to a short foyer with the stairs leading to the soaring second floor and the beadboard ceiling way overhead. Since the home was built in the 1920’s, ceilings were designed to be high. The fireplace is striking with its slate rock front. All windows in the house have been replaced.

Here is another surprise: the master bedroom is DOWNSTAIRS and sports a beautiful spa-like master bath. Even the colors are spa-like and soothing. While much of the remodelling on this house was done in the late 1980’s, it was done with such classic design that it is all rather quite timeless. The master bath features Wood-Mode cabinets surrounding a center jacuzzi tub. There is a steam shower, and a bidet next to the commode.

The kitchen is very functional with a charming built-in booth table. I might resurface the wood in here, but the counters, appliances and wood floor is great. There is a screened porch off the kitchen where you can enjoy the beauty of the yard without the critters. In fact, the focal point of this yard is a huge, twisty live oak unlike any I have ever seen in a Park Cities back yard.

The guesthouse, now used as an office, is in the back attached to the three-car –rare for Park Cities — covered parking.

Upstairs are four bedrooms, the laundry room which measures about 16 by 8 feet, and a study. Also up here, incorporating the front staircase landing is an open-to-below gameroom with beadboard ceiling.

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3441 University grandchildren roomWalking into this home is very much like walking into a professor’s home, a tribute to the traditional, classic genre. Even walking outside brings in history: the entire front walkway and patio is paved with red bricks from the Fort Worth Stockyards. Every other one is stamped “Thurber Brick”.  The house itself is steeped in SMU history and has had four owners, according to The Block Book by Bonnie Wheeler, a professor of English at SMU, who lives across the street.

The house is steeped in history, but it may well be the street that is the best catch.

3441 University porch

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Now here’s the funny thing. As I was reading over the history of Dickinson House in The Block Book, I spied familiar faces. Turns out that a dear friend whom I had known from Dartmouth lived in this house in the 1990’s with his four babies, in Dickinson House. Talk about a collegiate coincidence!

Listed with Kenneth Walters at Ebby Halliday’s Little White House. Asking price is $1,499,000 for the bricks and mortar; the history – priceless.

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature, and, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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