Yikes. This dramatic episode sounds a lot like Mark and Patricia Lovvorn’s campaign to take a wrecking ball to Stanley Marcus’ historic Nonesuch Road home. Except, well, preservationists were actually able to stop the owners from tearing down that house.
The modernist former home of Ruth Carter Stevenson, daughter of Star-Telegram publisher Amon G. Carter, was demolished over the weekend. No matter the loud opposition from architecture lovers and preservationists, the Harwell Hamilton Harris-designed “modernist gem” was razed. What a terrible pity, says Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster:
The demolition came as preservationists sought to spare the house. The owners, identified in the Star-Telegram as Ardon and Iris Moore of Fort Worth, preemptively destroyed the house before a campaign could be mounted in its defense, an act of brazen philistinism. The Moores could not be reached for comment.
The future of the house became uncertain in January, following the death of Ms. Carter Stevenson, one of Fort Worth’s most prominent arts patrons, at the age of 89. ”I’m really amazed that the estate let it be sold to someone whose intention was almost certain to tear the house down,” said Mark Gunderson, a Fort Worth architect and friend of Ms. Stevenson. ”It’s inconceivable to me that a new owner would do that.”
Seriously, with how popular 1950s-era modern architecture is today, I can only call this act incredibly short-sighted. I know they have every right to do what they want with their real estate, but why buy what was a treasure of Midcentury Modern design only to tear it down. That I cannot comprehend.
(Photo: Ruth Carter Stevenson and Amon Carter Museum designer Philip Johnson, Texas Society of Architects)
Lest you believe the carnage is over, former home of Amon Carter Sr., the Bomar-Carter home just feet away, is slated for demolition, too. Here’s what Gunderson thinks of that:
… it’s “inconceivable that a city would allow the demolition of the 100-plus-year-old home of its foremost civic supporter of the early 20th century while expressing allegiance to the city’s ‘heritage.’”