Jenna Bush Hager is, of course, one of the darling fraternal twin daughters of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush. Even though she lives and works in New York City, we kind of still think of her as a Dallas gal, right? I will always remember the twins from their stint at The Hockaday School, before their dad became governor of Texas and the family moved to Austin.

Now grown and prolific women in their own right, Jenna and her twin, Barbara, have (among other amazing things) written a terrific book called Sisters First: Stories From Our Wild & Wonderful Life. The twins teased the book here in late February at a gala event for 4Word, an organization that connects, leads and supports women in the workplace. (4Word was founded by women in commercial real estate — stay tuned.)

In their book, Jenna and Barbara, each named after their grandmothers, and each thrust into the public eye just as they landed in college, discuss the valleys and peaks of carrying the Bush surname. They reflect on their “way normal” upbringing in Midland, Texas, where their maternal grandfather was a home builder, to stories from White House life; how they thought everyone’s grandfathers had presidential inaugurations; where they were and what happened on 9/11; life with the Secret Service; Jenna bemoaning the loss of anonymity as a charter school teacher during her father’s term, and Barbara telling us how her dad texts her daily, and cheered her through a recent break-up.

Jenna is a contributing correspondent on NBC’s Today show and an editor-at-large for Southern Living. She is also the author of The New York Times best seller Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope, which she wrote after traveling to Latin American in 2006 as an intern with UNICEF. 

Jenna will be in Dallas April 11, as featured speaker at the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s Distinguished Speaker Luncheon, which is heavy on real estate this year. Lucinda Buford, Realtor extraordinaire at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s, is president of PCHPS. Allie Beth Allman & Associates is presenting sponsor. Capital Distributing, Lucinda Buford and Tessa Mosteller, and Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s, are home sponsors, and Highland Park Village, William Briggs Architect, Venise and Larry Stuart are Legacy Sponsors. 

So what is Jenna going to talk about? (more…)

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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preservation issues for dallas

In 2015, the gorgeous Bud Oglesby-designed home at 10300 Strait Ln. was razed, one of many architecturally significant structures demolished in Dallas in recent years.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed the destruction of many Dallas historic buildings over the past several years. From the Bud Oglesby-designed home at 10300 Straight Ln. and the Trammell Crow Estate to the razing of an entire block of century-old buildings in downtown Dallas as part of the Joule’s expansion plans, it’s been brutal. And it’s nothing new — Dallas historic building have been biting the dust for decades in the name of new construction.

But perhaps the tides are changing. The last two decades have brought a huge shift in historic preservation across the country and in North Texas. People are more interest in the environment around them, both old and new, particularly in how buildings, landscapes, and places impact their lives.

Today, Dallas citizens are able to be increasingly involved in the decision-making processes that determines what their surroundings look like and how it will affect them. Preservation issues for Dallas are getting noticed by some leaders.

Though much progress has been made in the city, it’s got a long way to go. Updated and improved tools are needed to guide future development and preservation efforts.

A panel next week will examine how our city can make informed decisions to create a good foundation on which to build a better future.

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2017 Preservation Achievement Awards

The Liberty Bank Building received a 2016 Preservation Achievement Award. All photos courtesy of Preservation Dallas

Do you know of an outstanding preservation project that deserves recognition, or maybe one that you have done? If so, then nominate it for the 2017 Preservation Achievement Awards, to be presented in May.

Each year, Preservation Dallas presents the Preservation Achievement Awards to a select group of individuals, organizations, and businesses for projects involving the preservation, rehabilitation, and enhancement of Dallas’ historic buildings and neighborhoods.

“The Preservation Achievement Awards are a great way to recognize the outstanding preservation projects that have taken place and the efforts that the owners go through to preserve an important part of Dallas’ built history,” said David Preziosi, Executive Director of Preservation Dallas. “We are grateful to them for saving a piece of Dallas’s past for its future.”

Now is the time to make your nominations for the 18th annual awards. Award nominations are being accepted for:

  • Rehabilitation or adaptive use of a residential historic building.
  • Rehabilitation or adaptive use of a commercial, institutional, or mixed-use building.
  • Rehabilitation of a historic landscape, park, or other historic resource.
  • New construction/infill in a historic neighborhood. This can include an addition directly attached to a building, or an entirely new building (infill) that enhances the historic nature of the original building or streetscape or urban environment.

 

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Ronald Siebler, left, working on the

Ron Siebler, left, and Daniel Lohr making a final inspection of the restored bell after it was returned to its original home in the Renner Church tower. All photos: Fred Hight, New Hights Photography

The preservation man of the hour seems to be Ronald Siebler, a talented craftsman and preservation advocate with a long history of the highest quality work.

At the 2016 Preservation Achievement Awards from Preservation Dallas, he received the prestigious Craftsman Award, and was part of four other award-winning projects, a rare event.

“You’re lucky to get one award from Preservation Dallas,” Siebler said. “To walk across the stage five times – it shows you I had such a wonderful year of opportunities.”

It also tells you the caliber of his work.

“Ron is an outstanding craftsman and his work on historic buildings shows the care and quality to which he approaches his work,” said David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas. “Ron often uses historic techniques and tools to make sure his work is accurate for the period and respects the historic structure. He has worked on numerous Preservation Achievement Award winning projects in Dallas and his skill and dedication have no doubt been an incredible asset to those project teams helping them to win awards from Preservation Dallas.”

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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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