Pill Hill’s Dr. Harper Would Approve of Updates to This Midcentury on Monssen

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Wynnewood North, an Oak Cliff neighborhood originally developed by Angus Wynne Jr., was once a magnet for doctors. That’s how it became known as “Pill Hill” in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, many of the doctors that called Wynnewood home actually worked with Wynne — the developer who would build Wynnewood Village and Six Flags Over Texas — to design their homes. And you can still see the personal touches of Dr. Jack Harper, a longtime friend of Wynne who served in the Pacific during World War II, in 534 Monssen Drive, this week’s High Caliber Home of the Week sponsored by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans.

While the history of this home and neighborhood is rich and interesting, we love how much attention it’s getting from people who know good homes when they see them. “I find it interesting that a number of Realtors live in Wynnewood North,” says Diane Sherman of David Griffin & Co. “Makes good sense since Realtors understand good value.”

Angus Wynne Jr.

Diane is co-listing this particularly lovely ranch on a corner lot with her son, Vinnie Sherman. “It’s definitely a family affair,” she joked.

And Wynnewood, with its streets named for World War II destroyers, has been home to families for years, and those bonds remain strong. This home on Monssen has a fully updated kitchen, but still retains the original charm in both of its bathrooms and throughout the bright and airy living spaces. There are plenty of windows — some of them are the original steel casement — from which you can see the beautiful mature trees that Dr. Harper himself planted.

Wynnewood North resident Janice Coffee wrote this in the Jan. 2008 edition of the neighborhood newsletter:

“There were so many doctors in the neighborhood it was called “Pill Hill.” Dr. Jack Harper and his wife, Sydney, lived on the southeast corner of Monssen and Llewellyn and were some of our first friends. In those days, children were taught to respect their elders by referring to them as Mr. or Mrs. We called Jack Dr. Harper and being the polite children we were, we called Sydney Mrs. Dr. Harper. Until she passed away several years ago, I could never call her anything other than Mrs. Dr. Harper.”

The long living and dining area perfectly shows off the original oak hardwood floors, which are in excellent shape, Diane attests. In all, the home has 1,834 square feet with three bedrooms, two full baths, and a two-car garage for $367,500. That comes out to $200 per square foot, which is right in line with neighborhood comps. 

We love the subtle retro touches in this ranch, especially with the light fixture in the foyer, which boasts a huge storage closet. There are plenty of niches for your collectibles, too. The design of the home feels streamlined thanks to the absence of curtains or swag and the bright white paint throughout, which lets the art and midcentury furniture collection shine.

In the kitchen, though, it’s all modern and sleek. Fully updated in 2014, a beautiful 48-inch, six-burner, cobalt blue Viking Professional range with double convection ovens and industrial Viking venthood is the centerpiece. Obviously, this kitchen was hand-picked for a foodie, right down to the two-tone oak and lacquer cabinetry and marble countertops. We love the very subtle blue shade of the Roman-shaped subway tile backsplash. 

Of the three bedrooms, the one without an en-suite bath is being used as an office. Daydreamers will love the huge steel casement window that looks out to the shady and lush backyard. The other two bedrooms are bright and adequately sized. But it’s the bathrooms with their original powder blue and baby pink tile that really shine. If you are a fan of vintage tile, prepare to fall in love.

Now, there’s plenty to love about what’s outside the home, too, notes Diane. “The homes are large and the lots are, too,” she said. “The streets wind around the numerous greenbelt areas. It’s a short commute to downtown with excellent freeway access, and there’s a strong neighborhood association. The Wynnewood Village Shopping Center is soon to be revitalized.”

“Revitalized” is putting it lightly, as the new owner of the long-beleaguered shopping center is going to completely re-imagine and modernize the space. For the longest time, Wynnewood Village Shopping Center counted myriad wig shops, dialysis centers, discount stores, and little else as tenants. In its heyday, the shopping center had everything nearby residents could want, including a movie theater

Wynnewood Village Shopping Center in 1954 (Historic Photos Courtesy of Flashback Dallas)
Wynnewood Village’s new owner, Brixmor, is planning to bring entertainment back to the shopping center with a new movie theater. (Rendering: Brixmor)

Of course, the seller of 534 Monssen fell in love with Wynnewood so thoroughly that she decided to buy another home just around the corner. She found absolutely no reason to leave the neighborhood, as it’s still an easy commute from Wynnewood North to her job in Highland Park. “I think it’s a great testimonial for a neighborhood when a resident chooses to stay and just switches addresses,” Diane said.



Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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