Be The Difference Foundation founders at the Wheel to Survive fundraising event. The nonprofit that focuses on ovarian cancer is just one North Texas organization accepting donations during the Sept. 19 North Texas Giving Day event.

If there’s one word that can define the North Texas real estate community, it’s “generous.” And when one of this community’s own needs support, you can expect a response that will blow you out of the water.

That’s what Julie Shrell discovered when she founded the Be The Difference Foundation in 2012 with Lynn Lentscher, Jill Bach, and Helen Gardner. Lentscher and Shrell met through the MetroTex Leadership Academy, as Lentscher works in title and Shrell is a lending expert.

“Many of our supporters are our real estate friends,” Shrell said. “We have been the beneficiary of fundraisers by MetroTex Association of Realtors and Dallas Women’s Council of Realtors.  Not only have they participated with funds, but they have helped us with publicity by creating a video for us, helped us spread the word about Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month by painting toes teal, and by riding in Wheel to Survive.”

The real estate community has continued to show up, too. The first-ever Runway for Hope benefiting the Be The Difference Foundation is sold out. The Sept. 26 luncheon features fashions from Dallas’ uber-luxe retailers, with all of the models strutting the catwalk being ovarian cancer survivors ranging in age from their mid-20s to their 80s. 

“This disease knows no boundaries,” Shrell added.

However, the North Texas real estate community has few limitations, too.

“As a matter of fact, our photographer at this event is Nancy Holzwarth with Real Estate and Friends Magazine,” Shrell said. “We have been honored by the love of the real estate community!”

And the Be The Difference Foundation is just one nonprofit in North Texas that is near and dear to the hearts of Realtors and worth supporting during tomorrow’s North Texas Giving Day presented by Communities Foundation of Texas.

Ready to get up and give? Click here to contribute to Be The Difference Foundation. Plus, here are a few more nonprofits that are favorites with our readers:

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Writer Paula Bosse and her social media brainchild, Flashback: Dallas, are 2019 recipients of the Preservation Education Award, which was presented by Preservation Dallas at its 20th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards.

No one is more deserving of this recognition. As a lifelong Dallas resident and history junkie, Bosse brilliantly developed her own eclectic brand for sharing local lore by launching her Flashback: Dallas blog in 2014. Consequently, she is continually raising awareness of regional history.

“Last time I checked the numbers, I had over 10,000 followers across various social media platforms and had surpassed 1 million page views of the blog,” Bosse said. “Those might not be earthshaking numbers in terms of internet-reach, but it’s pretty amazing to me. Who would have thought that many people would be interested in what is, let’s face it, a fairly esoteric topic?”

Presentation is everything. Despite Bosse’s well-researched and cited work, there is nothing esoteric about her writings. Between her conversational writing style, storytelling talent, and often quirky humor, Bosse has the innate ability to make history informative-yet-entertaining to a vast reading audience.

Bosse paints history with a broad brush. In the past five years, she has published about 1,000 online articles covering a wide scope of historical topics – ranging from buildings, businesses, and events to people, houses, and neighborhoods.

“Really, if it’s somehow related to Dallas and it happened before the 1970s, [which is] my arbitrary cut-off time period, it’s something I might write about,” Bosse said.

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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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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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