Photos courtesy Dallas Heritage Village

  • The Blum House has suffered ongoing deferred maintenance, Dallas Heritage Village says
  • It will cost around $650,000 to repair and restore it, according to estimates

Preservationists and history buffs awoke Saturday to alarming news — The Blum House, which sits at the Dallas Heritage Village in Old City Park — was being closed to the public indefinitely due to deferred maintenance.

Although DHV executive director Melissa Prycer posted the news Friday on the organization’s blog, most didn’t actually find out until Saturday morning, when the blog post and pictures of the decaying structure were shared on Facebook.

In the blog post, Prycer said that the staff has been concerned about the deterioration of the rapidly aging Victorian.


Mehrdad Moayedi is nearing the end of his three-year, $230 million renovation of the historic Statler Hilton in downtown Dallas. He bought the iconic hotel in 2014 with $46.5 million in TIF financing and has almost completed making it into a totally glam live-work-play-stay destination again. What does Mehrdad need now?

Another project! And the one where the Beatles stayed when they visited Dallas!

So his company, Centurion American, has their eyes and about $8.1 million on the old Cabana Motor Hotel, the 55-year-old midcentury relic on Stemmons Freeway.

Mehrdad plans to gut the 10-story hotel building and bring it back to its original glory. Place has been vacant for years. Well, it housed a county detention center before it was shuttered and put on the market by Dallas County as surplus property. A few sex offenders might still be there. The hotel, right across Stemmons from Victory Park, has seen better days, but the potential is huge.

This could be really great news for the county, since previous developers did not pan out, including a deal to turn the property into a data center (a hotel is a much better use).

And, according to Robert Wilonsky,  it’s a steal (hell yeah)!

The motel once owned by Doris Day, the landmark where Raquel Welch once worked as a cocktail waitress and where Jimi Hendrix used to stay when he came to Dallas, is now available at the low, low price of $7 million — which is just $1 million more than it cost to construct the “super-plush” joint back in 1961, according to our archives. That’s also a few million lower than the market value as set by the Dallas County Appraisal District, which says it’s worth $11,289,460. And, for what it’s worth, it’s also far less than the $9.2 million Dallas County paid for the property in 1985 — and not much more than the additional $5 million the county spent transforming it into a jail that wound up housing some 1,000 male and female inmates.

Hmmm. A $7 million price tag, Mehrdad’s paying $8.1? Who is bidding up that price? According to Steve Brown, who broke the story, Mehrdad says, thankfully, he really wants to preserve the century modern jewel:

“The hotel is going to stay a hotel,” Moayedi said. “We are going to give a big emphasis on a pool. It’s going to be like a Las Vegas pool.” (more…)

The Alexander Mansion has been home to the Dallas Woman’s Forum since 1930, and was built in 1904. Without needed repairs, it could be torn down. (Photo courtesy Dallas Woman’s Forum)

It’s an aging beauty in need of some maintenance. But its long and storied place in Dallas history makes the Alexander Mansion worth continued efforts to preserve it, the group that has owned it since 1930 says.

The mansion was built in 1904 and was first the home of C.H. Alexander — a hotelier (according to a brief story in the Houston Post from 1906) and ice house owner. He also apparently earned a great deal of coin ($500,000 then, probably around $12 to $13 million in those days) selling the track and equipment to build 27 miles of the Dallas Consolidated Electric Street Railway.

The mansion was designed by skyscraper builders Sanguinet & Staats of Fort Worth and has seven fireplaces, stained glass windows, and front columns crafted from Italian marble. At the time of its building, it was one of many mansions on Ross Avenue.  Sanguinet & Staats had a hand in several other mansions, including those along Pennsylvania Avenue in Fort Worth and Courtland Place in Houston. (more…)

Wilson House Preservation Dallas

Calling all historic architecture lovers! Preservation Dallas is hosting the Historic House Specialist Seminar March 2-3 at the Wilson Carriage House. The seminar is open to everyone. So whether you’re in the real estate, construction or development industries or just a history hobbyist, this event is for you.


Bishop Arts 7th St House12

Source: Google Maps, Jan 2016

The landscape of  the Bishop Arts District is changing quickly — tiny historic Craftsman homes by the dozens are being razed for apartment complexes, half-million dollar condos, and five-story mixed-use developments going up. One developer, once demonized by the community for their rudimentary design out of the gate, just won major Brownie points with the help of Rogers Jr. House Moving.


Parkland Hospital-Historic

Parkland Hospital’s main building was constructed in 1913, but was left to fallow for several years until Crow Holdings purchased the campus in 2006.

Ahead of this Saturday’s Preservation Dallas Architectural Tour, I’m counting down the days, featuring my favorites as we get closer to the event. Yesterday I chatted about the Parks Estate, an iconic East Dallas building that was carefully restored after it was converted to a YMCA in 1957. Today we look at Parkland Hospital and Nurses Quarters.

If you want to see some incredible historic architecture this weekend, go and buy your tickets to the Preservation Dallas Spring Architectural Tour today. Tickets are $35 for Preservation Dallas members and $50 for non-members.

Me? I got a personal tour with some communications and facilities staff last week, walking the route you’ll be tracing if you’re smart and buy a ticket to the tour. Now, I moved to Dallas in 2005, just ahead of Crow Holdings’ purchase of the Parkland Hospital campus. I really had no personal or historical context of the estate, just that it was really old and used to be the county hospital.



As we’ve been telling you, May is Preservation Month. And while there have been just skads of events on the calendar, the one you absolutely should not miss is the May 21 Preservation Dallas Architectural Tour featuring some of the literal “best of” Preservation Achievement Award winners.

This year, I was afforded the opportunity to play a small role in putting together this tour, which will include some of the incredible success stories in Dallas historic preservation. Tour stops include the Parks Estate (pictured above), the Relief and Annuity Building (511 N. Akard), 203 N. Willomet, Parkland Hospital and Nurses Quarters, and Continental Lofts.

For the tour, I was asked to write the verbiage describing each stop (now you know where to send your complaints). It was a treat for me, as I got an advance, personal tour of each featured stop. I got a chance to have the nooks and crannies, the character and details, all pointed out to me by the people who know these buildings best.

Of course, I have my favorites, and I have to say that the Parks Estate is one of those stories that will make you beam with preservationist pride. I could not be more grateful to the homeowner, Mark Rogers, for opening his home to me and to all of you lucky folks who bought tickets to the tour. Wait … you don’t have a ticket yet? You’ll want to get on that now.

Jump with me to find out more about this cool home that you can see in person on Saturday.


Katherine Seale

One of Dallas’ great advocates for historic preservation is slated to speak at the fifth annual Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society(PCHPS) Distinguished Speaker Luncheon on Thursday, May 19. Katherine Seale, an architectural historian and preservationist in Dallas who was executive director of Preservation Dallas from 2007 until 2011, currently serves as Mayor Mike Rawlings’ appointee and chair of the Dallas Landmarks Commission.

Katherine Seale

Katherine Seale

Seale will host a talk on Historic Preservation in the Context of Change on Thursday, May 19. Registration is at 11:15 a.m. and the luncheon is from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Dallas Country Club, 4155 Mockingbird Ln. Seats are still available, and you can purchase them online here.

The Distinguished Speaker Luncheon is one of two fundraisers each year for PCHPS. The proceeds are allocated for scholarships and to help further their mission to promote, protect and preserve the historic, architectural, cultural, and aesthetic legacy of the Park Cities.