Celebrate 113 years of one of East Dallas’ most lovely neighborhoods Saturday with the Munger Place Wine Walk tomorrow. You can sip and stroll between five historic houses from the early 1900s with samples of wines and hors d’oeuvres from local businesses.
The Munger Place Wine Walk takes place April 14, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. starting at 5124 Victor St. There are two ticket options available, the wine taster ($25 in advance, $30 at the door) and the wine enthusiast ($60 in advance only). Proceeds of this event benefit the Munger Historic District Association, Lipscomb Elementary PTA, and the Boys and Girls Club of Dallas.
Tickets may be bought at Talulah & Hess, 5810 Live Oak St., online at www.mungerplace.com.
Jump to read about the featured houses!
FRONT PORCH LIFESTYLE WITH FRESH UPDATES INSIDE AND OUT
Having looked at dozens of Dallas addresses while house-hunting four years ago, the current resident of 4909 Victor St. knew she’d found a home before she got beyond the entry foyer with its visually engaging split stairway, the leaded-glass bay window, period light fixture, and original pocket doors.
“I moved here from metro Washington, DC, and could not find a house that spoke to me — everything was similar in appearance and then I came to look at this house over a lunch break,” she said. “I was not 5 feet inside the door and told the realtor that I wanted to make an offer. I am still happy with my decision as I am close to downtown and in a walkable neighborhood.”
A sense of whimsy is evident in the dining room, where the original beamed ceiling is set off by a metal-chained chandelier, teal walls, and comically high-backed dining chairs. Beyond the dining room, the den – which was not in the original floorplan – looks out onto the deck and garden. Also in back, what was once a single-story garage now has guest quarters stacked on top — this addition probably came about in the 1940s.
The house was built in 1911 for Susan and Graham Stearns; he was expert in road-building and eventually owned an explosives company downtown on Jackson Street. Susan outlived him by some 17 years and upon her death in 1955, the house was advertised “to settle estate – $11,500.” The home underwent its most significant renovation in the 1980s – there’s a photo album of the work – and the next undertaking is a remodel of the kitchen.
The current owner has painted the interior and exterior and rebuilt the brick skirt under the house, as well as repaved portions of the driveway. She has also replaced most light fixtures with LED and repaired the foundation of the garage, a challenge because it could not be repaired from the outside at any location, so they had to drill into the floor slab in some locations and re-pour those areas after they put in new foundation piers to support the wall. The main house foundation has also been shimmed and leveled.
CLASSIC PRAIRIE-STYLE FOURSQUARE
Built in 1907, the classic Prairie-style Foursquare at 5007 Tremont St. was one of the first two houses on this street and is among the oldest in the Munger Place Historic District. A look at the wide photo in the front room suggests that the first occupants, Rose and Joseph Durham, enjoyed the luxury of the trolley that ran down nearby North Collett Avenue at that time. Joseph worked for the managing agents who sold and marketed the original lots in Munger Place and by 1962, the family had lived in four different houses in this same block. Ernest Haeber – pharmacist and proprietor of Haeber’s Pharmacy on Elm Street – and his wife Olivia lived here from 1926 until 1957. Subsequent occupants were not as kind and, in 1981, Munger Place Realty advertised the house for $40,000, “as is.” Following two years of renovation, the same firm offered it for $170,000 – a fine return on an investment in the future of Munger Place.
Many of the home’s original features remain, including the hardwood floors and a few fixtures, and the floorplan has changed only slightly over time. A bay window opens up the breakfast room/family-gathering spot addition off the kitchen, the hall from the entryway to the kitchen was closed off to create a downstairs bathroom, and the upstairs sleeping porch was converted to the master bathroom and a sitting room. The classic feel of the house has led to a few star turns in TV commercials. Befitting the era before air-conditioning, residents and visitors alike are enticed outdoors by a front porch swing, a pleasant side yard, and a backyard patio laid with turn-of-century bricks.
LOVELY FRONT GARDENS AND ERA-APPROPRIATE UPDATES
After the front garden, the delightful capitals on the front-porch columns are among the first features to catch the eye on the approach to the 1909 home at 5015 Reiger Ave. Like many original aspects of the house, they required special care during a recent renovation that necessitated updates throughout the house. A massive, sustained electrical-power surge damaged several houses on this block. The family moved out for nearly a year while walls, ceilings, and floors were peeled open for re-wiring. The kitchen was one beneficiary of this misfortune; a wall of shiplap was left exposed and period-appropriate soapstone countertops are now complemented by new, vintage-style appliances.
A large bathroom adjacent to the kitchen was down-sized and an extension built to serve as a butler’s pantry and a laundry room (with two washers and two dryers – a practical necessity for this family of several teenagers). Another rear addition was renovated to serve as the master suite, complete with vaulted ceiling, a stylish bathroom, a walk-in closet, and a view into the deep backyard. A gracious deck spans the width of the house and is decorated with a variety of succulents. Beyond the pool, an aged wisteria blankets a wide chicken run.
The unstained, quarter-sawn oak floors downstairs are all original to the house, as are the pocket doors and a number of other tasteful details.
Behind the ornate, neo-classical façade of the 1909 (or maybe 1910) home at 5101 Victor St. lies an oft-remodeled Foursquare. The original owners – the Griffins – apparently sold the home within a year to the family of Seaborn Y. Matthews, whose Matthews Bros. Clothing store on Main Street offered the straightforward slogan, “Good Clothes That Fit.” The house changed hands several times in its first decade and was owned in turn by a dentist, a physician, a furniture executive (from 1920-1950), and then a carpenter/contractor (1952-1975).
By the time Patsy and Hank Stephenson rescued the home from decline in 1980, striped awnings had been added over every window and then removed again, an upstairs kitchen had been installed, and the load-bearing wall dividing the two front rooms had been demolished, leaving a pronounced sag in the downstairs ceiling.
The extensive renovation involved re-establishing that load-bearing wall, combining three upstairs bedrooms into a single master suite, opening the attic space as a walk-up with skylights, and adding a den. The current owners turned that den into a billiards room and – within the last few weeks just before this home tour – finished their kitchen renovation by installing leathered-granite kitchen countertops and created an adjacent mudroom/wine room.
WOODS, WINDOWS, AND WINGS
Unlike many of the homes in the Munger Place Historic District, 5112 Victor St. was built as a boarding house in the early 1920s, replacing one that burned to the ground in 1915. Said to be the favorite of engineers working at the Ford Motors plant downtown, the big house offered boarders all the modern conveniences: running water in every room, sleeping porches, easy access to street car lines, and “good meals served in large, cool dining room,” according to a 1923 ad in the Dallas Morning News.
In 1982, the late Raymond Poche and his family embarked on the daunting task of rescuing the vacant house, which had been damaged by fire and neglect. They reconfigured the bedrooms (removing piles of sinks and empty gin bottles in the process) and added a second stairway, but kept the unusual wood trim and original doors with much of their hardware. The paneling in the downstairs hallway came from a nearby office building that was being demolished. Some of the original cast iron bathroom fixtures remain, as do the fireplaces, which were uncovered by the current owners. Also original are the parlor’s piano windows, pocket doors, and built-in bookcases.