Most Dallas homes are so young and vivacious, they have no history. Old homes, like old broads, have years upon years of stories, unique inhabitants, and quirky homeowners which make for juicy stories. Or a little dirt. Swiss Avenue, for example, is loaded with great house stories: we will never forget Mary Ellen Bendtsen, her […]Read More
This dilapidated, once elegant mansion has been the focal point of poignant legal battles since the death of the owner, Mary Ellen Bendtsen, in 2005. Agents tell me it may have the messiest title in Texas. This week, legal justice may be coming. Three men, including two Dallas antique dealers who prosecutors claim conspired to take advantage of Bendtsen’s mental state and her kindness right at her deathbed, go to trial in Dallas County.
Yesterday was day one in court for Mark McCay, age 50, who is accused of attempted theft. Prosecutors say he weaseled power of attorney from 88-year-old Bendtsen after alienating her from her family, and persuaded her to leave the Swiss Ave. house to him and his partner. Bendtsen signed her will in her hospital bed at Baylor. The defense says no, McCay and “the boys” befriended and entertained Bendtsen ten years before her death.Read More
Lee Hancock wrote an excellent long-form dissection of Mary Ellen Bendtsen’s home, 4949 Swiss Avenue, after Mark McCay and Justin Burgess were willed the house under suspicious circumstances. While there have been some reports of construction going on at the “Grand Dame” of Swiss Avenue, the front is boarded up and the carriage house is still crumbling.
But it won’t be that way for long, says Cameron Kinvig, who purchased 4949 Swiss and plans to restore the mansion that was once home to W.W. Caruth. In fact, all three floors of 4949 Swiss will be open to onlookers during this year’s Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour on May 12 and 13.Read More