Just moments ago, in Highland Park, O’Neil Ford’s largest creation in Dallas sold to the highest bidder, a couple, at Heritage Auctions’ very well-orchestrated real estate auction of 3756 Armstrong, which we have written about and followed extensively on this blog.
With about 12 bidders in the house, bidding started at $3 million and the estate sold at $4.950 million (including the 10% buyers premium). The buyer was represented by Allie Beth Allman.
The family story behind 3756 Armstrong is the best. Custom built for a young, attractive Dallas couple who took ownership in 1954, it remains an architectural icon that has been named by Preservation Dallas as one of the major Dallas buildings in danger of destruction:
…the Penson House was designed by O’Neil Ford, and built in 1954 for Jack and Nancy Penson. It is one of Ford’s largest residential projects and was designed in one of his favorite styles, Texas Regionalism. The exterior and interior of the 9,800-square-foot home remains very close to the original design with the exception of a second story addition, a master bath expansion, and enclosure of a rear porch.
I caught up with Read Penson Gendler, who happens to be a neighbor, and asked her about her earlier years growing up in this house, and also how she feels about handing the house off to new owners.
“Our family moved in when I was two,” she told me. “My earliest memories are actually at our first home on McFarlin. I don’t think I realized the significance of the home until much later.”
She says she grew up with other kids who also had large contemporary homes, some of them larger than her’s. But Armstrong was definitely her parents’ dream house.
“They never talked about moving,” says Read, “both said they would go out of that house feet first.”
Her parents did entertain frequently in 3756 Armstrong, deb parties, teen parties, birthday parties and charitable events. And her children — the Penson’s grandchildren — have fond memories, as well, of going to Nan and granddaddy’s house on holidays, most often swimming in that pool and enjoying a barbecue outside. Just regular family time and fun.
Will the three Penson daughters miss it?
Says Read, who has a beautiful house of her own: “whatever we do with it now will be in our own hearts.”
The home is solidly built and can very well be remodeled. But should the unthinkable happen, is she prepared? Here is what she told her sister.
“Yes,” says Read. “I told my sister, in a way, this is our house and always will be the way our parents built it, and how our family lived there. If someone else tears it down, now, then we will have been the only ones — no one else gets to live there.”