Eagle Ford

Photos: Courtesy Preservation Dallas

[Editor’s note: Merry Christmas! This week, we’re taking time off to focus on our loved ones, so we are sharing some of our favorite stories from this year. Keep an eye out for our top features from the archives as we rest and get ready for a brilliant 2020! Cheers, from Candy and the entire staff at CandysDirt.com!]

When we come across a preservation success story like the Eagle Ford School, we take heart that Dallas is regaining its historic soul. There’s honestly not enough champagne to drown our sorrows over the homes and buildings we’ve seen recklessly torn down.

But, today we are celebrating the imminent granting of landmark status to the Eagle Ford School. So, we are going to regale you with some tales that include Model Ts, a legendary train robber, and the notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde.

Eagle Ford

The Eagle Ford School was in a dramatic state of disrepair.

There is much that is historically significant about this little schoolhouse built in 1923 atop Chalk Hill Road in West Dallas. To give you an idea, the application for landmark status is 28 pages long. It was written by preservationist architect Marcel Quimby who summarized the importance of the school beautifully:

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College Avenue

The Sandidge-Walker House at 2420 College Avenue was built by cattleman George Sandidge, who only lived in it for four years. Legendary Will Rogers was a frequent guest. The next owner was Dr. Gussie Walker, who had served as Fort Worth’s City Health Officer. In 1954 it became the rectory for the nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church, from whom the present owners purchased it. In 1986 it was added to the long list of Texas Historic Landmarks.

“It wasn’t in great shape when we bought it,” owner Judy Robinson tells me. “Repairs and electrical work weren’t professionally done. Work was mostly done by church volunteers,” she explains. Owners Steve and Judy Robinson completely rewired the structure in 1996.

College Avenue

The Sandige-Walker House in Ryan Place is on the list of Texas Historic Landmarks.

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History ran deep in Jack and Kate LaGere’s 1928 Park Cities Tudor. For Kate, an art history major, the home’s past ran even deeper.

Though the couple wasn’t purposely house hunting when they spotted the “For Sale” sign in the yard, they had discussed purchasing a historic home and knew exactly what they wanted. Aside from a nearby elementary school and park for their three young children, the LaGeres envisioned their historic dream home as a place they could preserve and restore to accommodate their art collection and family’s modern lifestyle.

Since the Tudor was across the street from Kate’s old elementary school, the location was ideal. After seeing the sprawling interior of the house and engaging their imaginations, they checked preservation and restoration off their wish list and embarked on their journey.

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mothballed

A vestibule at the Douglass at Page Woodson, which recently won a prestigious preservation award after developers turned into a long-abandoned Oklahoma City high school into affordable housing (Photo by Justin Clemons Photography/courtesy the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

Three Dallas ISD schools — shuttered for years, are now up for sale, the district announced last month. It’s uncertain how much they’ll go for in the competitive, sealed bidding process, but one of the mothballed schools — Phillis Wheatley Elementary — is considered to be a historic site.

That the three schools are up for sale is likely no surprise to anyone who paid attention to last September’s board of trustees meeting, where the trustees took up discussion of what to do with three shuttered campuses – the former Billy Earl Dade building, Pearl C. Anderson Elementary, and Phillis Wheatley Elementary. Both Wheatley and Anderson were closed in 2012, and both have been the target of vandals as well.

Wheatley Elementary (Photos courtesy City of Dallas)

Wheatley Elementary opened in 1929, and sits in the historic Wheatley Place neighborhood, named after Phillis Wheatley, an African-American poet from the 18th century. The entire neighborhood has been designated as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and as a Dallas Landmark District by the city. (more…)

Park Cities Tickets for the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society keynote luncheon are selling out quickly – which reminds me, I have a speech to write!

It is a great honor to have been asked by this fantastic group to be the keynote luncheon speaker on April 10, 2019 … one week from Wednesday!

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The Dallas Center for Architecture has changed its name and expanded its vision, moving to a new location in downtown Dallas and setting its sights on being an integral part of the community. 

DCFA is now AD EX, shorthand for The Architecture and Design Exchange. They are taking new roost in the historic midcentury architectural icon Republic Center with the goal of being both a physical space and mechanism for spurring conversation about walkability, mobility, historic preservation, affordable housing, economic development, and other civic challenges related to architecture and urban design that impact the city. 

“Building on the momentum created over the past ten years, we look forward to AD EX becoming a critical force in an ever-growing conversation on the design and livability of our cities,” says Jan Blackmon, FAIA, executive director of The Architecture and Design Foundation and AIA Dallas. “We believe this storefront space in the middle of a new epicenter for downtown will give us opportunities to reach new audiences. Our hope is that AD EX will inspire our community to see its surroundings differently and imagine new possibilities for design as a solution.”

AD EX’s street-level location in the dense urban core of Dallas and adjacency to downtown’s next planned public park, Pacific Plaza, is intended to break down barriers and facilitate informal exchange of ideas about design and architecture. Its interior space, outside terrace, open floorplan, and floor-to-ceiling windows will showcase design-focused exhibitions, films, book and panel discussions, student workshops, policy symposia, and other programming. 

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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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Bishop Arts 7th St House12

Source: Google Maps, Jan 2016

The landscape of  the Bishop Arts District is changing quickly — tiny historic Craftsman homes by the dozens are being razed for apartment complexes, half-million dollar condos, and five-story mixed-use developments going up. One developer, once demonized by the community for their rudimentary design out of the gate, just won major Brownie points with the help of Rogers Jr. House Moving.

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