By Quin Mathews
Special Contributor

Ever hear of Wandsworth Drive? How did Northaven get that canopy of Live Oaks? Read on…

This story is about tornadoes, but also about trees.  It was near ground zero that I first heard of a “cyclone,” as it was called in the Wizard of Oz, a picture book version that Mrs. Biggerstaff read our class in 1956.  We were the “Gremlins” class at the Mary Boswell School, a preschool and kindergarten in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, just across from the fire station obliterated by the recent tornado and next to Preston Royal Shopping Center.  We know what happened there.

When Mrs. Biggerstaff finished reading us the book, she announced to our delight that the Wizard would be on television that Saturday night.  It was to be its first broadcast ever.  Cyclone, tornado, whatever — it was all very exciting, and on April 2, 1957 my mother called me to our front porch.  There I saw a real one, a long, stringy thing to the south, enormous. No one told me to go inside and take cover.  We watched it and I saw hailstones for the first time. Somewhere in that storm, at least nine people died.

Today parts of North Dallas have been un-landscaped back to the past.  (more…)

Almost two weeks have passed since tornadoes struck Dallas, displacing thousands of residents, students and businesses. As usual, Dallas is resilient and those who did not suffer property damage have rushed to the aid of those impacted.

Almost two weeks have passed since tornadoes struck Dallas, displacing thousands of residents, students, and businesses. As usual, Dallas is resilient and those who did not suffer property damage have rushed to the aid of those impacted.

As residents of Preston Hollow and Northwest Dallas scramble to find temporary housing, affordable rentals including this one on Allegheny Drive may fit the bill. Near Royal Lane and Interstate 35 East, this three-bedroom home with 1,884 square feet rents for $1,800 per month. (more…)

By James Bell, Esquire
Special Contributor

The recent tornadoes In Dallas caused an unprecedented swath of destruction in the Preston Hollow area. The EF-3 tornado completely demolished some homes and damaged others, as well as several structures. As an attorney who represents folks whose homes and property are devastated by perils such as these windstorms, when I first learn about these catastrophes, my thoughts naturally turn to the legal rights of the affected property owners. I hope their insurance companies will step up and do the right thing for their policyholders who have been faithfully paying their insurance premiums, praying they never need to file a claim, but believing that, if they should, they will be taken care of by their providers.

Sadly, we know that is not always the case. However, there are some things you can and should do when a disaster strikes your property.

I don’t think we can ever remind people enough about some of the essential steps to take for a proper recovery on an insurance claim, particularly a multimillion-dollar home: (more…)

By Phil Crone, Executive Officer
Dallas Builders Association

The collective hearts of all members of the Dallas Builders Association are with the victims of the recent tornadoes that affected the Dallas area. As our community begins to rebuild and recover, the Association wants to ensure that those affected are not victimized by unscrupulous storm chasers who follow significant weather events all over the country.

How can you spot a storm chaser? Look for contractors, often from out of state, soliciting with flyers in your mailbox or going door to door, and contractors who ask for a signed contract to assess the damage or speak with your insurance adjuster. Sometimes the fine print in these contracts binds you to do business with them. Other red flags include lowball bids, “sign today” price requests for a large down payment or a bid in the entire amount of your insurance settlement.

The best advice is often the hardest to follow when you’re vulnerable, but it will likely keep you from being further victimized by these scavengers. Take your time, do your research and trust your intuition. Ask yourself, “Do I really see myself working with this contractor?” If you are unsure, move on; there are plenty of competent and reputable options in our area. Do not let a pushy sales representative convince you otherwise.  

Be sure to help elderly neighbors, friends or family with this if you can. A quick Google search can turn up anything you need to know about a prospective contractor. Not finding anything also tells you everything you need to know. 

Membership in a professional organization such as the Dallas Builders Association or the National Roofing Contractors Association indicates they are a local contractor who is truly invested in their industry. In fact, the Dallas BA lists builders with experience in specific neighborhoods. You can find builders familiar with Preston Hollow, Midway Hollow, Northwest Dallas, and roofers on our website.  


6939 Lloyd Valley

Allie Beth Allman & Associates sends us this fabulous, furnished rental: $14,000 per month.

Available immediately: 3848 square feet, four bedrooms, three and a half baths, open and spacious rambling ranch home with second story and great topography located at the end of a quiet and private Jan Mar cul-de-sac in an area called Buffalo Creek. Leased completely furnished! The home has a rocky ranch facade, with more transitional interior plus some modern touches. High ceilings, natural light, all bedrooms are large and feature walk in closets. Master bath has extra deep soaking tub and shower. The covered front and back patios are great for relaxing or entertaining, communing with neighbors. Speakers installed for outdoor music, natural gas outdoor grill for steaks. All furniture, artwork, and kitchenware can be left in the house for the duration of the rental; anything you do not want to keep will be removed. Landlords even say you are free to paint the kids’ rooms to a different color, if desired, to make the transition more comfortable. Jump for more beautiful photos and contact information: (more…)

Preston Hollow Village

With so many homeowners displaced by the EF-3 North Dallas tornado, rentals in the Preston Hollow area are leasing up. The tornadoes that devastated the northern stretch of our city Sunday night — the National Weather Service has confirmed a total of 11 in North Texas — will set a new record as the costliest tornado outbreak in Texas history according to the Insurance Council of Texas. The organization has conservatively set the tab at $2 billion in losses for about 1000 homes and businesses.

At least 65,000 customers lost power and Oncor, along with out-of-town help, is still repairing the grid. According to Dallas City Councilwoman Jennifer Gates, only 900 are now without power, which is amazing considering the scope of the damage to the densely populated area the storms struck.

Mark Hanna with the Insurance Council of Texas tells me 30,000 total auto and homeowner claims have been filed for this event. The expense, too, comes with the scope of commercial claims: warehouses, shopping malls, restaurants, and an entire Home Depot. That Home Depot at Forest and US 75 alone will be several million dollars for both structure and inventory, he says.

At this point, storm victims are assessing damage, filing claims, and working to find rental homes while their own homes are repaired or demolished. All of this is going to make life very different in North Texas over the next year. 

Spike in Rental Properties

“We have about five families from the same two Preston Hollow streets — Pemberton and Orchid — leasing at the McKenzie,” says Sanders Avrea, a senior vice president with Allie Beth Allman & Associates. “All of our larger three-bedroom floor plans have been leased and our remaining two bedrooms are going quickly. We do still have three of the six penthouse plans still available.”


This Palm Springs Modern was badly damaged in the Oct. 20 tornado and was pulled from the Perservation Dallas Fall Architectural Tour.

Two upcoming Dallas home tours will have to close properties from tour-goers due to damage from Sunday’s tornadoes. One tragic loss was to be a highlight of this weekend’s Preservation Dallas Fall Architectural tour. The other is a striking modern by M Gooden Design that was to host the VIP event at the AIA Dallas Tour of Homes on Nov. 2-3. 

According to David Preziosi of Preservation Dallas, the Palm Springs-style Crownrich House sustained significant damage from the storm.

“Very sad about the damage to such a unique house!” Preziosi said.


I’m still unable to get into the area, but I continue to get reports that Lobello Estates, home to some of the area’s most expensive and expansive homes, was hit particularly hard during Sunday’s storms.

A friend who lives on Lobello Drive sent me these photos of her natatorium.

“Large anodized aluminum beams still standing, all glass blown out,” she texted. “I’d say half our home is damaged. We were just approved this morning by insurance to get a long term rental so that will make it easy to just move directly from home to another place while we rebuild.”

Lobello Estates is bordered by Royal Lane on the north, Inwood Road on the west, Yolanda on the south, and Netherlands on the east, which then edges to the Dallas North Tollway (which was once a railroad). (more…)