It’s getting harder and harder to find a historic home in Dallas that has avoided the bulldozer. People are so quick to tear down without thinking through why a house is still standing almost a century later.
It takes a sophisticated buyer to understand what provenance brings to the party and to realize you can no longer afford to build homes like 4209 Lorraine Avenue. This beautiful Georgian mansion is not only a masterpiece of original design, but it has also had a series of owners that have kept it up to date over the years.
One of the wonderful things about historic homes is their provenance. If someone could afford an architect-designed, two-story Georgian mansion in the 1920s, they were generally one of the movers and shakers of the city. The Dallas Morning News archives are full of wonderful tidbits of information on teas and engagement parties that took place in these homes.
As I was digging through the archives, I came across possibly the first owner of this Georgian mansion, as the records date back to 1931.Henry Grady Goggans was a partner in the law firm of Goggans and Ritchie and Chairman of the Board of Texas Bitulithic Company. He married Margaret Ferris in 1931, and the teas and parties in this home began! They were a very social family, and their daughter Peggy became the Dallas Mardi Gras Duchess for the annual Galveston event. Reading through these social notices, you begin to get a sense that this Georgian mansion has always been the center of family, fun, and festivities.
Fast forward to 2019, and we see nothing much has changed except the updates that have kept this home current. Prior owners did an extensive renovation a few years ago adding a family room, game room, two more bedrooms, and an elevator. This gorgeous Georgian mansion is now 5,120 square feet with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and three powder baths.
“I just love this house,” Compass listing agent Jonathan Rosen said. “The elevation is beautiful. You would have a very hard time recreating this look.”
Although it would be easy to add on to the home, and of course turn the attic into living space, Rosen noted that he’s seeing buyers spending the same amount of money for a house this size as they would for a much larger home in the suburbs.
And indeed, why not? As I said, you could not build a home of this quality today. If you are new to our fair city and are not familiar with Hal Thomson, he was one of those architects that helped to define the look of Dallas. We tend to remember him for his grand mansions, but he also designed the addition to the Adolphus Hotel and partnered with Sir Alfred Bossomon the Maple Terrace Apartment House.
Preservation Dallas has the following information on Thomson:
The architecture of Henry Bowers (Hal) Thomson has come to represent one of the most important periods in Dallas’ history—referred to by many as its golden era. As the architect of some of the city’s grandest houses, concentrated mostly on Swiss, Bordeaux and Armstrong avenues, Thomson helped to shape many significant neighborhoods and create a new air of sophistication within the city.
Thomson was considered a master of many different architectural styles, including Tudor, Georgian, Neoclassical, Italianate, Spanish Eclectic and French Eclectic. Many of his finest works can be seen along Swiss Avenue, the home of Dallas high society in the 1920s. His design at 5439 Swiss is considered the finest example of Georgian Revival style in the city. The Aldredge House at 5500 Swiss, probably the most well-known Thomson house, was constructed in 1917 for Dallas banker George Aldredge. This French Eclectic design, with its center pediment, columns, and porch balustrades, is the epitome of the lavish architectural style of the Gilded Era.
This Highland Park Georgian mansion is one of those incredible homes that come along only a handful of times in history. This is a rare opportunity to purchase a masterpiece.
Rosen has the house listed for $4.295 million.
Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager and writer for over 25 years. Karen teaches the popular Staging to Sell class and is the creator of the online course, The Beginners Guide to Buying Wholesale. Her love of dogs, international travel, history, white paint, champagne, artificial turf, and Tudor and Midcentury Modern homes, and any house designed by Clifford Hutsell knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well! Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com