During this year’s Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour, the Aldredge House – the Grand Dame of the Swiss Avenue Historic District – will open its doors at 5500 Swiss Avenue and host a free and open to the public speaker series sponsored by Friends of Aldredge House.

Slated for Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12, scheduled talks will cover a wide range of topics, including antique cars, family heirlooms, historic homes, and preservation, as well as native greenery. 

The speaker series is just one of the activities on offer during the weekend-long Swiss Avenue Historic District Mother’s Day Home Tour. 

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Dilbeck midcentury modernThis quintessential Charles Dilbeck Midcentury Modern in Russwod Acres is going to take your breath away. Wait, what did I say? Dilbeck and Midcentury Modern. Do those two terms even go together?

Yes, indeed they do, but rarely.

Dilbeck midcentury modern

A floor-to-ceiling fireplace, a hallmark of Dilbeck, anchors the house and provides the focal point of the living area. A drop-down screen is tucked over the artwork.

We generally think of architect Charles Dilbeck as the eclectic dude that was inspired by Tom Mix (look him up, my Millennials) to create whimsical homes with stained glass, iron gates, and fanciful details. Hold that thought. He also created a few Midcentury Modern masterpieces. This Dilbeck Midcentury Modern at 5016 Tanbark is one of the most striking examples I’ve ever seen. (more…)

Georgian mansion

Photography by Costa Christ Media

Our Monday Morning Millionaire is a grand, 1928 historic Highland Park Georgian mansion designed by Hal Thomson.

It’s getting harder and harder to find a historic home in Dallas that has avoided the bulldozer. People are so quick to tear down without thinking through why a house is still standing almost a century later.

It takes a sophisticated buyer to understand what provenance brings to the party and to realize you can no longer afford to build homes like 4209 Lorraine Avenue. This beautiful Georgian mansion is not only a masterpiece of original design, but it has also had a series of owners that have kept it up to date over the years.

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Tenth Street

Tenth Street Historic District (photo courtesy City of Dallas)

One of the only remaining intact Freedman’s Towns in the entire country, the Tenth Street Historic District in Oak Cliff’s importance to the community that still has roots there — as well as to the city — is something historians and preservationists feel they can’t stress enough.

The folk and period homes within the district were built in the late 19th and 20th centuries, with the city of Dallas tabulating 257 homes, four commercial buildings, three institutional buildings, and one cemetery within its boundaries.

“Just as Colonial Williamsburg tells the story of American Independence by immersing the visitor in and interpreting the built heritage of the era, so might a restored Tenth Street Freedman’s Town — on the very doorstep of one of the top public high schools in the nation — bring the story of African American Independence to life,” says the website Tenth Street Life. “Historic Tenth Street may well be the last, best chance in the nation to let the land the freedmen bought and paid for and the homes, businesses, and institutions they built on it with their own hands speak for themselves.”

It is believed that the first residents of the freedman’s town were slaves freed after the Civil War ended, many former slaves of Dallas cotton farmer William Brown Miller. A church was built in 1880, and a school opened six years later. More people arrived when T.L. Marsalis platted the neighborhood four years after that.

Restoring the district is the nation’s (and Dallas’) best and last opportunity to potentially create a history lesson that is immersive and riveting, telling the stories and dreams of the generations of Black families in Dallas as they gained their freedom, even through the dangerous and violent Reconstruction era, and beyond during the Jim Crow era, living to establish businesses that are still here today, acquiring land of their own, and building property ownership and wealth. (more…)

 

Drawing property of UT Alexander Architectural Archives

By Donovan Westover
Special Contributor

The 1935 Walton House has always perched on the center of its vast Bluffview Estates lot, the landscape and grounds cascading down around it with a natural flow. Carol and James Walton selected a huge lot in Bluffview for their impressive 1930s home. At the time, Walton owned and ran City Wrecking and Trading Co., an early Dallas architectural demolition and salvage company.  He later expanded into supplying steel building products. It leads me to wonder if Charles Dilbeck did not use City Wrecking for his rustic architectural elements.  It would make sense.

Photography by Carolyn Brown

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Photo: Carolyn Brown

By Donovan Westover
Special Contributor

When I began working with Dilbeck connoisseurs Willis Winters and Jann Patterson Mackey on house selection for Preservation Dallas’ October 27th Fall Architectural Tour – Charles Dilbeck In Dallas, they stressed the need for us to feature a Cochran Heights home.  The neighborhood recently received a Texas Historical Commission marker recognizing it as a significant part of Texas history, based upon the numerous Dilbeck designed houses in the neighborhood.

 

Photo: Carolyn Brown

The entire neighborhood is fun and peculiar to immerse in, and the house we focused on is a super intact library of Dilbeck’s quirk.  So much so that the house still has the 1936 kitchen and bathroom!  While it may be the tour’s most modest Dilbeck house, it delivers a powerful punch.  The current stewards have taken incredible care of this little gem as only the third owners, and I can hear the cameras clicking away to capture all the surprising details.

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211 S Windomere Avenue, Dallas, Texas, is currently listed by Diane Sherman and Vinnie Sherman of David Griffin & Company Realtors for $449,500. Open House this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Dallas preservationists take note — an incredible three-bedroom, two-full-bathroom Craftsman circa 1911 was just listed in Winnetka Heights for $449,500! Sited on a rare, interior full lot, with an extra half lot, the home affords an idyllic location on a premier block and is chock full of original architectural details.

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Photograph courtesy of Dallas Fire Department

By Donovan Westover
Special Contributor

My heart sank when I learned my favorite Charles Dilbeck-designed house had burned to the ground.  An exterior appliance started the 2016 blaze, which quickly spread throughout the 9,000-square-foot house replete with acres of 55-year-old wood shingles, wood siding, and wood ornamentation.  I was super sad for the loss to the family, as well as saddened for the loss of such a significant home … albeit not to a bulldozer, this time.

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