Junius Heights

The historic Junius Heights Church is just one stop on the Junius Heights Historic District’s Home Tour, which will be held Sunday Nov. 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 180 acres that make up the Junius Heights Historic District are rife with brick and mortar exemplars of Dallas history — and its annual home tour is always popular because of that. This year’s tour, which will be held next weekend, is no exception.

The tour will boast two homes that are on the National Register of Historic Places, a former hippie commune, a church, and a busy arts and crafts fair for anyone looking to get a jump on their holiday shopping by supporting local artists. The tour will be held Sunday, Nov. 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (more…)

endangered places

Located in the city’s first residential historic district, the Aldredge House made the 2015 list for endangered places in Dallas. All photos: Preservation Dallas

[Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and should not be interpreted as the editorial opinion of CandysDirt.com.]

A public hearing will be held at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, January 24, in the afternoon on the proposed PD and SUP for the Aldredge House, located on Swiss Avenue in the Swiss Avenue Historic District.

The Council will hear the request for the Aldredge House to permanently become a museum home and education center for non-profit use. 

Support is needed to help the house as its future and use will be determined at the meeting! 

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endangered places

Located in the city’s first residential historic district, the Aldredge House made the 2015 list for endangered places in Dallas. All photos: Preservation Dallas

We live in a city rich with historically significant homes and buildings. But all too often, they see the wrecking ball instead of preservation and protection.

With so many of our Dallas historic structures having uncertain futures, Preservation Dallas creates an annual Most Endangered Historic Paces List to call the public’s attention to sites that are too meaningful for us to lose.

“We stared the list in 2004 and ran it until 2010, skipping 2009—we then brought it back in 2015,” said David Preziosi, executive director at Preservation Dallas. “The purpose is to raise awareness about the threats many of our historic places are facing. The nominations are collected and a jury reviews them and selects the new list for 2016.”

Nominations are due soon for that 2016 list, which will likely feature some of the homes and buildings we know and love.

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4109 Live Oak

The stately home at 4901 Live Oak was torn down by investors last year. Noted preservationist Virginia McAlester has put together a fund that will keep properties like this one from being razed.

Back in the 1970s, Munger Heights was a seedy neighborhood full of rent-by-the-room boarding houses and dilapidated old homes desperate to be shored up should they catch a stiff breeze. Homeowners and activists saw the area for what it was — full of potential — and created a revolving fund to buy the homes at risk of being lost to a wrecking ball so they could be restored to their historic beauty.

After watching perfectly useful historic homes and buildings being torn down one after the other, Virginia McAlester, Jim Rogers, Lisa Marie Gala, and Neil Emmons said that enough was enough. Together they founded the Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties (DEEP) fund.

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Aldredge-House

Fresh on the heels of a shot over the bow from its Swiss Avenue neighbors, the Aldredge House has made Preservation Dallas’ 2015 list of “Most Endangered Historic Places.” This is not unlike the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League‘s annual “Architecture At Risk” campaign, which highlights homes and businesses with significant historic or design qualities that could be toppled at a moment’s notice.

Dormant since 2010, Preservation Dallas decided to resurrect the “Most Endangered” list to highlight a few well-known edifices either in danger of being razed or of having the history renovated out of them. The Aldredge House topped this year’s list.

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Aldredge-House

Channel 4’s Fox 4 News did their version of the Nightmare on Swiss Avenue that neighbors allege the wedding business at Aldredge House is causing.

I’m not saying anything except, watch:

Aldredge-House

Nightmare on Swiss Ave: Neighbors of the Aldredge House say that vendors have turned what was once a tolerable social venue into a nightmare.

Nick McCune has lived in the Swiss Avenue Historic District for more than 16 years at 5514 Swiss Ave., a sublime two-story Craftsman home that is right next door to the Aldredge House. His home, like the Aldredge House, was built in 1917 and is pristine, with a large front porch and an expanse of lush St. Augustine in front. Homes like McCune’s are the reason why the neighborhood is one of the most adored and sought-after in Dallas. Having a Swiss Avenue address is something of a status symbol, though many of the people who live on this storied street in Munger Heights would blush at the thought.

But it’s not all roses and Mother’s Day tea, as there has been a war brewing between one of the most recognizable homes in the neighborhood and the households that surround it.

In what has quickly become a he-said-she-said shouting match between neighbors of the Aldredge House and the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance that owns the property, McCune has been consistent and level-headed, open to a dialogue between those who want to see the Aldredge House return to a single-family residence, and those who say that such an action would effectively ruin the immaculately preserved home.

Nick and Rhonda McCune's gorgeous two-story Craftsman home is next door to the Aldredge House.

Nick and Rhonda McCune’s gorgeous two-story Craftsman home is next door to the Aldredge House.

The problem of loud weddings and large tents didn’t develop overnight, McCune said, but it has steadily become the norm over the past few years. Despite several attempts to rein in the size and volume of the events, McCune says it’s a Sisyphean task.

From his accounts, McCune’s weekends are full of noisy trucks idling, crews shouting as they set up tents, a busy street as valets usher cars past his driveway, all capped with receptions that feature loud emcees, long toasts, and send-offs that test the limits of polite society. Sometimes they get to enjoy it all twice in a day.

“It has spiraled completely out of control in the last several years,” said attorney Chris Hamilton, who is representing six households near the Aldredge House. Together they have filed an application with the City of Dallas Board of Adjustment to revoke the Aldredge House’s ‘legal non-conforming use’ allowing it to host private events.

“In 2009, there were 20-something private events at the Aldredge House,” said Hamilton, who has lived at 5521 Swiss Ave. since 2011. “In 2014 there were 64 private events.”

Hamilton echoes McCune, saying that the neighbors have been trying to work with the Aldredge House for years, and yet no permanent resolution has been found. After going back and forth with the city over a period of months and years, neighbors felt that their only recourse was to take their complaint to the Board of Adjustment.

“[Wedding vendors] would say, ‘I’ll talk to the bride about this,’ or ‘I will ask the bride about that,’ when the neighbors had concerns about music,” Hamilton said. “But nothing was ever done.”

It all came to a head when Hamilton, McCune, and other neighbors found out that a vendor had been allegedly forging their signatures in order to get tent permits from City Hall.

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The first time I saw 3617 Crescent  I fell in love and begged the agents, Dave Perry-Miller and Bonnie Bauer, to let me have an event there. Why? Because I wanted to show this $4,500,000 home off. (And maybe, truth be told, spend a few more minutes there.) Tell me if you agree: I get a very special, warm, calming feeling when I’m in older homes. It’s like all the antidepressants of the ages just flow through the plaster walls!  Grand older homes, like Aldredge House, for example, seriously make me feel this way, almost as if I am in a temple. Crescent is a Prarie style home built in 1918. The home is elevated from the street, as so many homes were back then. That is part of what makes them so stately. The windows are those thick, original glass panes that were like thermopane before thermopane was a word. The lot is enormous, 106 by 225 deep, or about .7 of an acre. Then there are the original beveled glass windows with leaded inserts, gleaming hardwood floors that creak with magnificent stories and wisdom of the years, crown moldings and even a majestic iron gate.

All this on Crescent, on one of the most coveted streets in Highland Park.

Then you look in the back and you see a pool, cabana, sport court, huge guest quarters, a “man” room, bathrooms, kitchenette, all over a four car garage. And yet the home has plenty of yard, space and sunshine.

The home has five bedrooms, four and a half baths. Once upon a time boys and girls, we did not have to have 16 bathrooms for every bedroom in homes. (Or a friggin’ waterpark in the back yard!) There is a living, dining, kitchen, study, family, game/media, and five glorious bedrooms. The home has been lovingly remodeled and the kitchen is to-die- for perfection. (If the original cooks could see it!) The master is upstairs overlooking the yard and pool and has one of the biggest closets I have ever seen — and I have seen some closets, Phil and Lilly Romano’s, Champ D’Or — this one hangs right in there. Fabulous spa master bath.

So what about social media can a 94 year old house teach us? Plenty. We will be hanging in the game room on Wednesday, October 10, gathering me, Chris Weaver and Ryan Stewman — unless we get inside the kitchen sink, I swear it’s as big as a bathtub. Postel Collins and Title 24/7 wants to pump you up with the most power introduction to social media syndication ever.

Like don’t be surprised if this house grows wings!

 

EVENT IS OPEN TO THE PUBLICSocial Media Syndication: What do you get when you mix House Porn with a Hard Core Closer??? Fun!SPEAKERS:

Candace Evans ~ www.candysdirt.com
Chris Weaver ~ www.postfuser.com
Ryan Stewman ~ www.hardcorecloser.com