The Sandidge-Walker House at 2420 College Avenue was built by cattleman George Sandidge, who only lived in it for four years. Legendary Will Rogers was a frequent guest. The next owner was Dr. Gussie Walker, who had served as Fort Worth’s City Health Officer. In 1954 it became the rectory for the nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church, from whom the present owners purchased it. In 1986 it was added to the long list of Texas Historic Landmarks.
“It wasn’t in great shape when we bought it,” owner Judy Robinson tells me. “Repairs and electrical work weren’t professionally done. Work was mostly done by church volunteers,” she explains. Owners Steve and Judy Robinson completely rewired the structure in 1996.
Ample, airy, spacious, and sun-drenched are adjectives that spring immediately to mind on entering. The style is best described as eclectic, incorporating Prarie Style and Revivalist influences. A shallow vestibule allows the visitor to take in the floor plan of the 3,800-square-foot house.
The deep living room is to the foyer’s left. Behind is a cozier sitting room or library where the owners spend most of their time.
A vintage butler’s pantry with a breakfast room to the right leads to the kitchen. Some may be tempted to join all of this space to make a mega-kitchen, though I suspect in most cases, remodelers are building more kitchen than they need. I rather fancy the vintage cabinets, which could be updated with a jazzy color. Surface and appliances admittedly could use an update.
At the top of the stairs is an impressive linen cabinet original to the house, which stretches the entire length of the longest wall. The house was designed by Wiley G. Clarkson, who looms large in Ryan Place and Fort Worth architectural history generally.
The house is a four-square, meaning it has four bedrooms at each corner of approximately equal size. There are two full baths on the second floor with a powder room on the ground floor. Bathrooms as well beg for an update.
Lots on College Avenue are among the deepest in Ryan Place, and 2420 College offers many opportunities to the amateur gardener. At back there is a hidden garden within a garden with a charming little pond. Another gift to the would-be buyer is a new $200,000 Ludowici tile roof.
Sharyn Marrone of Keller Williams is offering 2420 College Avenue $699,500.
About Ryan Place
I haven’t written about my own neighborhood, Ryan Place, in some time. Recent events have elucidated why I find it such a special place — a place I felt confident moving my parents to this year, knowing they would be safe and well looked after. Ryan Place is such a tightly knit community of benevolent busy-bodies who look after each other and, predictably, within a few weeks, it seemed that all of the immediate neighbors knew about my parents even before they were installed in October.
For over 40 years, Ryan Place has also benefited from a very strong neighborhood association — Ryan Place Improvement Association — now ably managed by the very capable Tim Keith, who was recently in the national media spotlight. On May 19, in an unusually brazen attack, an 8-year-old girl was snatched from her mother in the 2900 block of 6th Avenue. The mother, trying to free her daughter, was thrown from the kidnapper’s car. Within minutes the neighborhood began sharing tips on The Ryan Place Facebook Page and home video surveillance yielded the suspect’s license plate. Neighbors searched the area until the car was located. The girl was found and freed in approximately eight hours.
“A reporter asked if I was surprised she was found so quickly,” recalls Tim Kieth. “No, I said not here in Ryan Place.”
However, the incident revealed the cumbersome, outdated, and flawed procedures in the City of Fort Worth’s Amber Alert system, which broke down and may have delayed recovery efforts. A high-profile special neighborhood association meeting to review the events of May 19 was attended by the chief of police and local press. A positive outcome of this very disturbing event is that the city has pledged to streamline and modernize its notification and alert execution systems.
Kudos to my neighborhood, Ryan Place.
Eric Prokesh is an interior designer whose work has appeared on HGTV, and in books and publications including D Home, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, and House and Garden. In January 2005, HGTV named Eric one of the 50 tastemakers in America and D Home has included him as one of Dallas’ Best Designers for 10 years. Having lived most of his life in Dallas, he now calls Fort Worth home and is one of our experts on beautiful Fort Worth Dirt. His own home on historic Elizabeth Boulevard has been featured in 360 West.