06/25/19 9:55am

Bella Villa’s restoration brought this 1920s building up to date while retaining historic charm and details.

In Italian, Bella Villa means “beautiful villa.” In Vickery Place, Bella Villa means a stunning, newly preserved neighborhood landmark that’s living up to its name a second time.

Bella Villa is a prime example that preserving history often takes a village. The circa 1926 complex was not only the sole multi-family building in Vickery Place, but parts of the structure were also originally the Vickery Place School.

But Barrett Linburg, co-founder of Azur Commercial Capital, and Seth Bame, founder of Indio Management, saw the potential in Bella Villa and what an asset it could be to the neighborhood.

“Seth and I have been working on properties all over Dallas for about 10 years.  We independently saw the potential in this property in early 2015 and finally got the chance to work on it in 2017,” Linburg said. “We didn’t know the extent of the history, but knew that the character of the building was special and we were excited to bring it back to life after many years —maybe decades — of deterioration under several owners who operated very differently than we planned to.”

As Dallas Landmark Commissioner Mike Birrer told the Lakewood Advocate, Bella Villa was one of the city’s earliest adaptive reuse projects. Preserving its historic character while making it livable was critical.

“We deliberately restored the building under the watchful eyes of the US Department of the Interior, Texas Historical Commission, and the Dallas Landmark Commission,” Linburg added. “We are pleased that the building’s character has remained intact while we have been able to add modern amenities and livability.”

(more…)

06/19/19 9:15am

5510 Merrimac Avenue Circa 1926

Greenland Hills is one historic Dallas neighborhood that seemingly has it all. Besides the popular M Streets and stunning collection of Tudors, it’s alive with an eclectic – and electric – vibe all its own. That feel is perhaps what defines the neighborhood most.

The Neighborhood Evolution

From the beginning, Greenland Hills danced to its own drummer. According to the Greenland Hills Neighborhood Association , the adjacent Vickery Place and Belmont neighborhoods built in phases, beginning with larger homes and graduating to smaller houses. In contrast, the entire Greenland Hills neighborhood was built simultaneously.

(more…)

06/18/19 9:15am

Writer Paula Bosse and her social media brainchild, Flashback: Dallas, are 2019 recipients of the Preservation Education Award, which was presented by Preservation Dallas at its 20th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards.

No one is more deserving of this recognition. As a lifelong Dallas resident and history junkie, Bosse brilliantly developed her own eclectic brand for sharing local lore by launching her Flashback: Dallas blog in 2014. Consequently, she is continually raising awareness of regional history.

“Last time I checked the numbers, I had over 10,000 followers across various social media platforms and had surpassed 1 million page views of the blog,” Bosse said. “Those might not be earthshaking numbers in terms of internet-reach, but it’s pretty amazing to me. Who would have thought that many people would be interested in what is, let’s face it, a fairly esoteric topic?”

Presentation is everything. Despite Bosse’s well-researched and cited work, there is nothing esoteric about her writings. Between her conversational writing style, storytelling talent, and often quirky humor, Bosse has the innate ability to make history informative-yet-entertaining to a vast reading audience.

Bosse paints history with a broad brush. In the past five years, she has published about 1,000 online articles covering a wide scope of historical topics – ranging from buildings, businesses, and events to people, houses, and neighborhoods.

“Really, if it’s somehow related to Dallas and it happened before the 1970s, [which is] my arbitrary cut-off time period, it’s something I might write about,” Bosse said.

(more…)

06/12/19 9:35am

4912 Worth Street

There are historic neighborhoods in Dallas. Then there is Munger Place.

Wealthy cotton gin manufacturer Robert S. Munger and his brother, Collett, used all the developmental strategies when planning their 300-acre namesake neighborhood Munger Place. They implemented deed restrictions to attract the most elite homebuyers. They offered all the bells and whistles in infrastructure, such as paved streets, sidewalks, and shade trees as well as gas mains, sewers, and electric street lights.

4929 Worth Street

From the location, location, location standpoint, Munger Place was situated in Old East Dallas – just minutes from downtown. While the brothers covered all the bases of developing a modern upscale neighborhood, they did so with one big difference: circa 1905.

(more…)

06/11/19 2:30pm

History ran deep in Jack and Kate LaGere’s 1928 Park Cities Tudor. For Kate, an art history major, the home’s past ran even deeper.

Though the couple wasn’t purposely house hunting when they spotted the “For Sale” sign in the yard, they had discussed purchasing a historic home and knew exactly what they wanted. Aside from a nearby elementary school and park for their three young children, the LaGeres envisioned their historic dream home as a place they could preserve and restore to accommodate their art collection and family’s modern lifestyle.

Since the Tudor was across the street from Kate’s old elementary school, the location was ideal. After seeing the sprawling interior of the house and engaging their imaginations, they checked preservation and restoration off their wish list and embarked on their journey.

(more…)

06/05/19 9:00am

The Bishop Arts District has a long and colorful history, some of which is still reflected in murals throughout the area. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

What a difference a century makes. Generations of real estate developers have banked on converting North Oak Cliff’s stunning countryside into the most affluent residential area of Dallas. After all, nothing said success more than a sweeping three-story Queen Anne mansion on a hill surrounded by limestone cliffs, natural springs, and lush native greenery.

In 1887, partners Thomas Marsalis and John Armstrong purchased 2,000 acres that were platted Dallas Land and Loan Additions #1, #2, and #3. Located on the western bank of the Trinity River, Marsalis and Armstrong planned the addition as the residential neighborhood for the incorporated city of Oak Cliff. Due to brisk land sales and hundreds of new Victorian homes, the population skyrocketed to 2,500 residents by 1890.

426 Melba Street is a listing from Dave Perry-Miller InTown.

(more…)

05/29/19 9:30am

 

632 N. Manus Drive, Wynnewood North

By all accounts, life was a think tank for Angus Gilchrist Wynne, Jr., who surrounded himself with creative, like-minded individuals. Whether he was conceptualizing his iconic development of Six Flags Over Texas or the Wynnewood neighborhoods in Oak Cliff, he was a master at envisioning the marketable future.

“He was an [inventive] entrepreneur who created an environment to [brainstorm] what people wanted,” said Wynne Jr’s son and namesake, Angus Wynne III.

When World War II ended, Wynne Jr. knew exactly what returning veterans wanted.

After his own discharge from the U.S. Navy – where he added six service medals to his uniform from duty in Europe and Asia – he came home to Dallas and served as president of American Home Realty Company, a partnership that he and his uncle Toddie Lee Wynne Sr. owned. Other returning vets took advantage of government-funded new home loans.

411 W. Clarendon Drive, Wynnewood North

(more…)

05/24/19 9:30am

Sam and Laura Beth Anderson aren’t just one of five homeowners in the 51st Annual Gingerbread Trail Historic Home Tour in Waxahachie. They’re also historic renovation pros and preservation junkies who saved their home from becoming toothpicks and restored it to its original splendor.

Though the circa 1920 Bungalow has lived many lives in nearly a century, its most recent life was housing the offices of St. Joseph Catholic Church. But after the parish built a new sanctuary and no longer needed the house, church leaders just wanted it out of the way.

“They gave us the house in exchange for moving it off of their property,” Laura Beth said. “There was a vacant lot on the street behind the church where an old Victorian home had burned. We were able to purchase that lot [at 610 Kaufman Street] and move the house there.”

History Repeats Itself

The roles that Laura Beth and Sam play in the restoration processes are embedded in each one’s DNA. While Laura Beth is the creative half of the team, Sam is the analytical number cruncher.

(more…)