Proposed East Dallas-Oak Lawn Delayed Demolition Overlay (abuts downtown DDO to the south)

Last (stormy) night I attended the only community meeting to discuss the planned Delayed Demolition Overlay that is essentially bordered by the Tollway, Highland Park, Haskell, and Matilda.  The East Dallas-Oak Lawn DDO would be Dallas’ third.

This third proposed DDO covers some 15,000 parcels of land. Between this and the downtown DDO, much of the Oak Lawn Committee area of PD-193 would be covered (for what it’s worth).

What’s a Delayed Demolition Overlay (DDO)?

Delayed Demolition Overlays are areas of the city that contain at least some historic properties worth preserving. The first is essentially downtown including parts of Uptown. It was created via city ordinance in 2015 after the Joule Hotel developer demolished historic structures without warning. The preservationists went bonkers and Dallas City Council created the legislation needed to create a DDO.  The second DDO is in the Bishop Arts area with enlargement planned.

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Source: Google Map

Eagle Ford Elementary School.  Source: Google Maps

On Monday, preservationists launched the process of designating the Eagle Ford School building as a historic landmark. If you’ve driven down Chalk Hill Road just south of Interstate 30, you may have wondered about the rather small, oddly out-of-place concrete building, brightly colored with lavish details at the entry. Above the front entrance is inscribed “Eagle Ford District 49.”

The almost-forgotten Gothic revival building at 1601 Chalk Hill Road was at risk of being demolished. The road was recently closed due to construction, but neighborhood historic groups had been talking to the owner for years about plans for the building.

From 1916 through 1963, the school served the many immigrant families living in Cement City, Arcadia Park, and other nearby neighborhoods.

Bonnie Parker, of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde, is the most well-known attendant of the Eagle Ford elementary school — her report card was found in its basement.

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The “Graffiti House” at 1007 Fort Worth Ave. won a Preservation Achievement Award last year. Photos: Alicia Quintans

Before-and-after photos of the “Graffiti House” at 1007 Fort Worth Ave., which won a Preservation Achievement Award last year. Photos: Alicia Quintans

When you drive or walk down Swiss Avenue in Dallas, it’s hard to believe that this area full of stately, handsome homes was dilapidated just 40 years ago. Cars were jacked up on properties and screens hung off windows, with the many mansions in total disrepair or abandoned.

This was just before the creation of the Swiss Avenue Historic District in 1973. It was the first of its kind and a trailblazing event that paved the way for future preservation projects around Dallas.

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The Art Deco exterior of the 508 Park building.

The Art Deco exterior of the 508 Park building before restoration. Its architecture is considered an excellent example of a Zig Zag Moderne building. Photo: Encore Park

You probably never noticed the boarded-up tan brick building near Park and Young streets in downtown Dallas. It sat abandoned for two decades, its sidewalks littered with trash and walls vandalized with graffiti.

But behind the grime and neglect, there was a story of intersecting histories waiting to be told.

This Art Deco structure, called 508 Park, was once the hub of the local music scene. Mississippi Delta blues legend Robert Johnson recorded nearly half his songs, as well as his final work, in 1937. In fact, over 800 blues, jazz, western swing, and Mexican recordings occurred at 508 Park by Johnson and other legends such as Gene Autry, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Light Crust Doughboys, and Lolo Cavasos.

Blues legend Robert Johnson whose final recordings were at Encore Parrk's 508 Park. Photo: Encore Park

Blues legend Robert Johnson, whose final recordings were at Encore Parrk’s 508 Park. Photo: Encore Park

The Stewpot of First Presbyterian Church across the street purchased 508 Park in 2011. Thanks to their efforts, as well as dedicated preservationists, historians, architects, and volunteers, this architecturally significant building is singing again.

The campus, known as Encore Park, is a multi-phased, multi-venue campus that aims to bring all cultures together to experience and appreciate history, art, music, and community gardening.

Pat Bywaters is executive director of Encore Park Dallas and grandson of influential Texas artist and “Dallas Nine” member Jerry Bywaters. He’s been spearheading the research into 508’s history, visiting archives in California, Louisiana, and New York.

“I love doing research, and I’ve always loved history. As soon as we looked into 508, the music history came flooding,” Bywaters said. “The Encore Park project preserves not only the architectural relic, but a special place and time in Dallas’ history.”

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115 S. Tyler Front

This neo-classical building at 115 S. Tyler Street once supplied electricity to North Oak Cliff.

By Katrina Whatley
Special Contributor

Dallas is fortunate to have plethora of housing styles. You want something by a contemporary architect? We have many innovative, world-class examples. Want a charming 1920s Tudor or a Craftsman bungalow? We have several neighborhoods with beautiful offerings — both large and small — from Swiss Avenue to Elmwood. Midcentury modern lover? Cha-ching! Dallas has many exciting neighborhoods that are strictly thus!

Each home is always unique in its own right, and you will find many options for your preferred style in our fair city. However, CandysDirt.com takes you to a place so unique that there are only four examples in all of Dallas. Four. That’s right: one, two, three, four.

Realtor Randall Simpson is offering the only historical Dallas Power and Light building for sale at this time for a cool $1.6 million. The building, designed by Lang & Witchell, originally powered rail cars in Dallas. Jump for a peek inside!

115 S. Tyler Entry

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Munger Place Heights

There’s a little neighborhood nestled between Gaston and Abrams called Munger Place Heights, and the moment you wander in you’ll find a slice of heaven. Trees arch over the streets to intertwine, lawns are perfectly manicured, everyone hangs out on the front porch, and the neighbors not only know your name but they know your dog’s name, too. If you’re lucky enough to nab a house here you won’t ever leave, unless you love ‘em and leave ‘em like Karl Braddick does.

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