Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Event Features Home of Preservationist Virginia Savage McAlester

The Mission-style home at 5703 Swiss has been owned by the family of Virginia Savage McAlester for generations.

The 1917 Mission revival-style home at 5703 Swiss has been owned by the family of Virginia Savage McAlester for generations.

It’s a time-honored tradition now in its 42nd year, and it’s one of the best way to ogle at some real, historic, graceful house candy! Truly, the Swiss Avenue Historic District’s Mother’s Day Home Tour is the only opportunity you’ll get all year to witness the grandeur of the oldest historic district in Dallas from the other side of the window panes.

This year’s tour, scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend (that’s this weekend, y’all!) has some amazing homes on the schedule, including the 1908 residence of architect Collett Munger, as well as the Harris-Savage house, the home of historian, preservationist, and author Virginia Savage McAlester, this year’s Honorary Chair. Her book A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture, is a hallowed tome here at CandysDirt.com.

The tour includes a total of six historic homes and an English garden at 6005 Swiss, as well as the Von Erich family estate at 4918 Swiss. The Von Erich’s, Dallas’ first family of wrestling, had an interesting and tragic history best recorded by Texas Monthly‘s “Six Brothers” story by John Spong in 2005.

4918 Swiss was once the home of the Von Erich family.

4918 Swiss was once the home of the Von Erich family.

Jump for more photos of the tour homes, and info on how you can win a pair of tickets to the tour!

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.

Besides the popular walking tour, you can take advantage of a lecture series a the Aldredge House, music and entertainment at Savage Park, a vintage car show, a kids activity area, an art fair with local artists and vendors, as well as the famous Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch featuring music from the Matt Tolentino Band. You can also visit the tour homes by hopping on a mini coach or a horse-drawn carriage.

This stately Craftsman-style home at 5400 Swiss makes quite an impression at the curb.

This stately Craftsman-style home at 5400 Swiss makes quite an impression at the curb.

6214 Bryan Place is a lovely Tudor with a dramatic roofline.

6214 Bryan Place is a lovely Tudor with a dramatic roofline.

If you just want to go to the tour, tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the tour. You can score them before Saturday at Whole Foods, Talulah Belle, and HESS in Lakewood or online. If you want to treat your mother to the most memorable brunch in Dallas, that’ll cost only $25 per person. The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with brunch on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Home tour proceeds benefit William Lipscomb Elementary, J.L. Long Middle School, Woodrow Wilson High School, Peak Preparatory School, Lakewood Library and many other Lakewood institutions.

If you haven’t bought your tickets to the tour yet, we have two pairs of tickets to give away here on CandysDirt.com: Just comment below with which home you’re most excited about touring. The contest closes at 4 p.m. tomorrow, so don’t waste a moment!

 

13 Comment

  • 5400 Swiss Avenue – crazy for craftsman style!!!

  • 5400 Swiss Ave looks especially spectacular! Hope we win!

  • I would love to see the English garden at 6005 Swiss!

  • All of them, especially 5400 Swiss!

  • Can’t wait to see 6005 Swiss in person!

  • They are all gorgeous, but I love craftsman style, so 5400 Swiss Ave is my pick.

  • All of them for their attention to preserving beautiful craftsmanship, and gardens at 6005 Swiss.

  • I am a Realtor in the area and will be volunteering at the Mc Alester home, so if anyone has questions about real estate I will be happy to answer them :-)…hope everyone has fun! Also, please stop by the Hounds Haven snackin’ wagon and get your doggie a treat 🙂

  • The McAlester Home! Virginia Savage McAlester wrote the book on Dallas homes. McAlester was one of 11 original members of Preservation Dallas (then called the Historic Preservation League) when it was established in 1972. When the group set its sights on preserving Munger Place, the first deed-restricted neighborhood in Texas when developed in 1902, Weiming Lu, Dallas’ director of urban design at the time, told McAlester and her colleagues that Munger Place could not be a historic district. He said it met none of the criteria for a neighborhood that could be salvaged, and the city had written off everything below Beacon. McAlester was chairman of the Historic Dallas Fund, which operated with the help of about 100 volunteers. The fund raised the money to buy 23 dilapidated houses in Munger Place, some occupied as rooming houses, some condemned. Before the fund was established, the group worked for a year to get one particular house, which was not as run- down as the others nor subdivided into rented rooms, sold for an asking price of $15,000. Today it’s worth perhaps 30 times that. McAlester co-wrote a book on the making of the Swiss Avenue Historic District, established in 1973 as Dallas’ first historic district. The National Trust for Historic Preservation reprinted it three times.

    • Randy, thank you for sharing this! I’m excited to learn more about the history of Swiss Avenue. I moved to the Dallas area 14 years ago, and last weekend on a tour of chicken coops around the White Rock area, I realized that there are so many beautiful areas of Dallas that I’ve never seen. I can’t wait to take my girls on the tour this weekend. We’ve never been down to Swiss Ave.

  • Must see the storybook English garden home!

  • The Von Erich home would be very interesting. I never realized they lived on Swiss. I remember them well. My lady friend would love to see the English garden. See is quite the Anglophile.