During this year’s Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour, the Aldredge House – the Grand Dame of the Swiss Avenue Historic District – will open its doors at 5500 Swiss Avenue and host a free and open to the public speaker series sponsored by Friends of Aldredge House.
Slated for Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12, scheduled talks will cover a wide range of topics, including antique cars, family heirlooms, historic homes, and preservation, as well as native greenery.
The speaker series is just one of the activities on offer during the weekend-long Swiss Avenue Historic District Mother’s Day Home Tour.
Saturday, May 11
11 a.m. – Paul Ridley: Coffee and Cars
1 p.m. – Dr. Evelyn Montgomery, Ph.D: Living in this Old House
3 p.m. – Janet Smith: Inviting Nature Back Home with Native Plants
4:30 p.m. – City View Antiques: Appraising Family Heirlooms
Sunday, May 12
2 p.m. – Jim Anderson, former historic preservation officer for the City of Dallas: Swiss Avenue and Historic Preservation in Dallas
“The presentation will recap a 26-year career with the City of Dallas. It outlines how the historic preservation program began on Swiss Avenue and how [the] seed that was planted grew into an extremely successful program. All 17 historic districts feature photographs of before and after restoration. It also highlights the 35 large vacant historic buildings downtown [that] were up for potential demolition. These buildings are all [now] restored into new apartments, condominiums, and hotels.”
4 p.m. – David Preziosi, FAICP, Preservation Dallas: Historic Preservation Trends and Patterns
“Historic Preservation has been used in cities since the 1970s, [and] for over  years those tools have been the standard. This program will explore how preservation efforts have evolved since the early days and the new trends to support the sustainability of our built environment and investment in our historic resources.”
The Aldredge House is a prime example of historic preservation. From elegant columns and dark wood interior to lavish finishes, the sprawling two-story mansion is characterized by its original splendor.
Built over a century ago for Maryland native and wealthy West Texas rancher William J. Lewis, the exquisite home – designed by noted architect Hal Thompson – took two years to construct. But a year after moving in, Lewis’ young bride, Dallasite Willie Newberry Lewis, decided the mansion was too grand for her taste.
It was ideal, however, for one of Dallas’ elite power couples. In 1921, banker and Texaco director George N. Aldredge and his wife Rena Munger Aldredge, daughter of Munger Place developer Robert Munger, purchased the mansion where they lived for more than 50 years.
According to Rena’s final wishes, Dallas County Medical Society Alliance was to receive Aldredge House upon her death, provided it agreed to maintain the mansion. Since 1975, the medical society has done just that.
Today, Aldredge House is a historic house museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is one of only three nationally significant estates in the 1975 Dallas Historical Landmarks Survey.
Two years ago, preservationists, Swiss Avenue neighbors, and community volunteers came together and organized Friends of Aldredge House. In addition to raising significant funds via education programs and historic preservation outreach, the nonprofit hosts tours of the house on the first Saturday of each month.