Experts Offer Tips on How to Save a Historic Property

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Historic property
Saved! The Fuller House, one of only two homes in Texas designed by A. Quincy Jones

Have you ever wondered how a historic property is saved from the wrecking ball? It’s down to you, frankly.

Historic property
Saved! The Meisner-Brown home is now an event center.

Historic Fort Worth is now accepting nominations for 2020’s Most Endangered Places.

“Anyone can nominate any building in Fort Worth,” said Jerre Tracy, executive director of Historic Fort Worth. “Sometimes people know a lot more about great buildings in Fort Worth than our public affairs committee does.”

Historic property
The Meisner-Brown before restoration

For instance, gospel music producer Jim Roberson bought a historic property at 5716 Winifred Drive in the Wedgwood neighborhood. He was searching for a Fort Worth home a few years ago while teaching music at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and came across a Midcentury Modern that needed a lot of work. Fast forward — the work was completed, and it’s become a home worthy of recognition.

“His friend nominated it for our endangered list,” Tracey said. “In fact, it received a residential rehabilitation award and prompted HFW to add all Midcentury Modern houses in Wedgwood to the 2017 list.”

Historic property
The Robeson’s home at 5716 Winifred Drive after restoration
Historic property
5716 Winifred Drive before restoration.

Another big win for preservation in Fort Worth was Heritage Park Plaza. This historic property was on the endangered list several times.

“We fundraised for an architectural historian to write a national register nomination,” Tracy said. Although not yet open to the public, once the renovation is complete this will be yet another Fort Worth treasure saved by the hard work of a small group of people.

Historic property
Saved! The Fort Worth Post Office Building
Historic property
In danger: The Texas and Pacific warehouse building. Think about Southside on Lamar which was the Sears warehouse long ago. This would make great loft spaces.
In danger: Farrington Field
Gone: The Masonic Print Shop
Gone: The Dillow House

You may be wondering what the point is of having an annual Most Endangered Places list. It’s actually a clever marketing and educational tool for any historic property.

“It spotlights historic resources threatened by a variety of circumstances — extremely deferred maintenance, no local landmark designation, loss of parking, and lack of awareness of economic incentives to rehab historic buildings. Owners of properties recognized as ‘Endangered’ benefit from increased public awareness and assistance from Historic Fort Worth, Inc. to address these issues. The List is released each year in May, during National Preservation Month, at a press event at Thistle Hill.”

“At the end of the day, an endangered list creates a conversation with the public,” Tracy said. ” That conversation sparks good things for great buildings that would not normally happen without this list.”

If you know of a worthy historic property you can download the nomination form on the HFW website.

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Karen Eubank

Karen is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years and a professional writer for over 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying for his masters at The New England Conservatory of Music. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap.

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