Preservationists in Dallas have had plenty of opportunities to get outraged in the past few years as building after building of historic significance have faced the wrecking ball and lost.
These treasures are gone forever, and this rash of destruction has inspired a reinvigorated, community-wide focus on preserving the older structures that make up part of Dallas’ vibrant and rich cultural heritage.
With that momentum, Preservation Dallas is partnering with several groups to offer a slate of free and ticketed public events, exhibits, talks, and tours for 43rd anniversary of National Preservation Month in May. The month-long observance is recognized nationwide, created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Their slogan for the month is This Place Matters, an idea that resonates with many Dallas residents.
“In the past we’ve recognized it, but haven’t done a full-blown month of activities and since I’ve been here, this is the first time we’re partnering with other organizations,” said David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas. “We wanted to highlight historic preservation in Dallas, why its important, and look at all the groups who are involved and so important.”
National, state, and local experts will share their insights on why preservation matters in hopes of getting North Texans talking about how a city’s history lays the foundation for its future growth. Throughout the month, they’ll also be spotlighting historic places that matter in Dallas.
“A city’s essence derives from its history and its buildings—it is what attracts people to it, and gives them a foundation on which to build,” Preziosi said. “During National Preservation Month, we hope everyone will take time to notice and celebrate the unique historic places that make Dallas special, give it character, and distinguish it from other cities across the nation.”
NATIONAL PRESERVATION MONTH EVENTS
Fair Park Art + Architecture Scavenger Hunt (3939 Grand Ave.)
May 1, 1-3 p.m., free. Discover the exciting art and architecture of historic Fair Park through a scavenger hunt for children and adult teams of up to six. Participants who go on the hunt will be entered into drawings for prizes to be given out at the event. Parking is free in the lot closest to the Hall of State between Washington and Admiral Nimitz streets. Washington Street is accessed at gate 3 off of Parry Avenue.
Architectural Styles of Dallas Exhibit at Dallas City Hall, first-floor lobby (1500 Marilla St.)
May 2-31, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., free. Experience an engaging exhibit which highlights 27 unique architectural styles found in Dallas. The hallmarks of each style are explained through text and photographs of local examples that showcase the styles bring the exhibit to life.
Preservation Achievement Awards, Lee Park at Arlington Hall (3333 Turtle Creek Blvd.)
May 3, 6-8:30 p.m., $50 for members, $85 for non-members. Join Preservation Dallas in celebrating the outstanding preservation work in Dallas of property owners, architects, developers, builders, and civic leaders during the 17th annual Preservation Achievement Awards at historic Arlington Hall. Non-refundable advance reservations are required. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.
Dallas Architecture Forum Lecture by Fred Kent on Placemaking (Magnolia Theatre, 3699 McKinney Ave.)
May 4, 6:15-8 p.m., free for DAF members, $20 for nonmembers. Fred Kent is the founder and president of Project for Public Spaces (PPS), the premier center for best practices, information and resources on Placemaking. PPS helps people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Kent is widely recognized as a leading authority on revitalizing city spaces and one of the foremost thinkers in livability, smart growth and the future of the city. He will address the preservation of public space as cities develop, and why it is crucial to preserve and carefully renovate these spaces in today’s urban environment, utilizing examples such as Bryant Park in NYC. There is an informal reception at 6:15 p.m., with the event starting at 6:30 p.m. For more information, click here.
Historic Dallas photo exhibit at St. Matthews Cathedral Arts (5100 Ross Ave.)
May 5-June 12, Sundays 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. and Monday to Saturday by appointment, free. Photographic exhibition of Carolyn Brown’s spring photography adult class who are capturing historic sites around Dallas. Brown is a well-respected photographer who has worked around the world shooting the architecture and world around us, including stints in Mexico, Egypt, and the Caddo Lake region. Her books include Dallas: Portrait of a City, Houston: Simply Spectacular, and Upper Egypt. There will be a ticketed opening night reception on May 5 from 6-8 p.m. For more information, click here.
Swiss Avenue Historic District Mother’s Day Home Tour presented by Swiss Avenue Historic District (Ticket pick up in Savage Park at Swiss Avenue and N. Munger Boulevard)
May 7-8, Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., $20 in advance and $25 the weekend of the event. Swiss Avenue is one of Dallas’ most important historic areas and features some of the best examples of historic architecture in the city. As Dallas’ first historic district it paved the way for future preservation efforts in Dallas. Experience the district during the annual Mother’s Day tour with exquisite homes open for visitors to experience the unique architecture and deep history of Old East Dallas. For more information and to buy tickets or reserve seats at the Mother’s Day Brunch, click here.
Dallas Architecture Forum panel discussion moderated by Jeff Whittington, Economics and Architecture (1909 Woodall Rogers Fwy.)
May 10, 6:15-8 p.m., free. As Dallas continues to mature and it enters the next stage of civic life, we will witness transformation marked by progressive urban, cultural, and architectural changes. However, progress is never far from growing pains as exemplified by the recent Supreme Court decision, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. This case rendered Texas’ current affordable and low-income housing tax credit allocation unconstitutional, and its subsequent decision has forced many developers to re-consider their development strategies and will have architects re-examining what neighborhood context looks like. This Supreme Court decision will impact our definition of neighborhoods in Dallas, and it can give birth to a vibrant and exciting phase of our city’s growth if we allow it to. Jeff Whittington will moderate the panel looking at issues relating to historic provisions for housing for low-income individuals in Dallas, how some of those neighborhoods were redlined, and how those neighborhoods are now changing. There is an informal reception at 6:15 p.m., with the event starting at 6:30 p.m. For more information, click here.
Fifty Years of Preservation: A Panel Discussion at Dallas Heritage Village (1515 S. Harwood St.)
May 15, 2-3 p.m., free. In 1966, Dallas Heritage Village was founded to preserve Millermore. That same year, the National Historic Preservation Act was signed into law. What was happening in historic preservation to lead to these two events? And where are we today as we continue to fight to preserve the past? Dallas Heritage Village and Preservation Dallas are bringing together Evelyn Montgomery, Curator of Dallas Heritage Village; Evan Thompson, Executive Director of Preservation Texas; and Beth Wiedower, National Trust for Historic Preservation, for a conversation highlighting 50 years of historic preservation at the local, state and national levels.
An Evening in Seville at Paigebrooke Farm in Westlake (1 Paigebrooke, Westlake, 76262)
May 15, 5-8 p.m., Tickets $135. Hosts Kelly and Scott Bradley invite guests to tour their historic home, built in 1938 for Ted Dealey, former publisher of The Dallas Morning News, by famed architect Charles Dilbeck. Enjoy tapas, paella, sangria, and craft beers, as well as a brief concert by international artist and classical guitarist Christopher McGuire. This event benefits the Allegro Classic Guitar Society. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to guitarsociety.com or call 817-498-0363.
Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Dallas (2719 Routh St.)
May 19, 6-8 p.m., free. Preservation Dallas and The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture bring together a panel of representatives from Black Dallas Remembered, Dallas Mexican American Heritage League, and the Dallas Jewish Historical Society to explore their challenges and success stories in preserving their cultural heritage in a time when they no longer live in tight-knit communities in localized areas of the city. A reception begins at 6 p.m. with the panel discussion starting at 6:30 p.m.
Preservation Dallas Spring Architectural Tour
May 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $35 for members, $50 for nonmembers. This year, the annual spring tour will feature Preservation Dallas award-winning projects around the city for people to enjoy and learn from the outstanding preservation efforts of their owners. For more information, click here.
InTown Outing to Cannon’s Village in North Oak Cliff (W. Davis Street and N. Edgefield Avenue)
May 24, 6 p.m., free for Preservation Dallas or Old Oak Cliff Conservation League members, $20 for nonmembers. In partnership with OOCCL, Preservation Dallas will host a tour of the unique Tudor-style 1922 commercial building, known as Cannon’s Village, located on West Davis Street in North Oak Cliff. A recent renovation brought the derelict building back to life with new commercial spaces on the first floor and apartments on the second floor.