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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Every stylish lady needs a refreshing makeover from time to time. Grand historic homes are no exception. When the Swiss Avenue Historic District kicks off its weekend-long 46th Annual Mother’s Day Home Tour, 5007 Swiss Avenue will be unveiling an elegant new look.

Since sharing the vision for historic home preservation is part of the Swiss Avenue Historic District’s mission, it featured the home in last year’s tour to showcase planning and craftsmanship in-progress. This year, tour-goers will get an up-close-and-personal look at the exquisite results.

The sprawling Italianate-style home was built at the top of Swiss Avenue in 1921 for Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Porter Mason. Mr. Mason owned Mason Engineering Company, and his wife was a Dallas arts benefactress who sponsored tours for famous musicians like Ignacio Paderewski, Jascha Heifetz, Van Clyburn, and Sergei Rachmananoff. Legend has it that Rachmananoff once performed in the home’s music room.

In 1983, another set of owners had the house physical moved from the original site at the corner of Swiss Avenue and Oram to its present address. Since 2011, homeowners Brian Shultz and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Odstrcil, have been making their own history in the home.

The couple initially married while on vacation in Istanbul – one of their favorite places in the world. They later hosted an alfresco Turkish-themed wedding at the house for a few hundred family members, friends, and new Swiss Avenue neighbors.

“Since our families did not join us in Turkey, we surprised them by getting legally married here with a dear friend of mine [who’s a] minister officiating,” Shultz said. “Our families were thrilled, [and] It was an awesome event.”

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The 2019 Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour will offer an inside look at the architecture of the grand estates lining Swiss Avenue. (Courtesy Photos)

The Annual Swiss Avenue Historic District Home Tour – commonly called the Annual Mother’s Day Home Tour – is the matriarch of all home tours in Dallas, and rightly so. Swiss Avenue Historic District (SAHD) was Dallas’ first historic district, and Swiss Avenue was the city’s earliest grand neighborhood.

In addition to its designation as an official Dallas Landmark District, Swiss Avenue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On the regional level, it is the finest example of an early 20th century neighborhood in the Southwest according to the SAHD. The eclectic mix of architectural styles run the gamut from Mediterranean, Spanish, Spanish Revival, Georgian, and Mission to Prairie, Craftsman, Neoclassical, Italian Renaissance, Tudor, and Colonial Revival.


This year’s tour will showcase five of the era’s most popular styles, including a romantic Spanish Revival; an Italianate Mediterranean Villa; a pristine Mission Revival; a Prairie Foursquare with unique Georgian influences; and a Progressive-Style Prairie Foursquare.

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English Arts and Crafts
Our Inwood Home of the Week is an English Arts and Crafts movement stunner at 5816 Swiss Avenue, and it has a pretty serious fan base. Before all of you jump on me and say this is an Eclectic Tudor, yes, absolutely it is. But let’s learn a bit, shall we?

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This home at 5017 Swiss Avenue is one of eight that will be featured during this years’s Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour.

Mother’s Day weekend once again brings the Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour.  The annual tradition began in 1974, the same year that the neighborhood was named Dallas’ first residential historic area.

“Dallas has so few historic areas. I think there is a uniqueness to this home tour because there’s so much history involved with it,” Swiss Avenue Historic District representative Bob Cox said.

This year’s event will feature five homes on Swiss Avenue as well as three on Bryan Parkway. Multiple architectural styles will be represented including a French Normandy with Tudor influences, a brick mansion indicative of Louis Sullivan’s Chicago styles, and in Italian-style home currently being renovated.

Matt’s Rancho Martinez will cater a Mother’s Day lunch from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday.  The Matt Tolentino Band will perform early 20th century music — the songs that were popular when many of the homes were originally built. There will also be other local performers on Saturday and Sunday as well as horse-drawn carriage rides, a kids’ play area, and more.

“I think one of the neatest things about the tour is that it shows people what urban living can be like,” Cox said. “It allows people to kind of rediscover that it is a very livable and beautiful part of the city.

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Listing Photos: Shoot2Sell

I met up with Elizabeth Mast at 5803 Swiss Avenue, the beautiful brick home where Neiman Marcus founder Carrie Marcus Neiman lived her last days. This home built by Carrie Marcus and her then husband, Abraham Lincoln Neiman, which sits at the corner of Swiss Avenue and Skillman, may not have the columns and beams of some of the other Swiss Avenue estates, but it has its own subtle presence that melds very well with the brand of its original owners.

The home was purchased by its previous owner from the estate of Carrie Marcus, Mast told me, and now it’s being sold by that person’s estate. So if you’re keeping track, that means that this four-bedroom, four-full-and-one-half-bath home with more than 5,100 square feet has only had two owners. Isn’t that incredible?

The home has seen some renovations over its 93 years, most of them during the 1950s. Mast, who specializes in the Swiss Avenue Historic District and has another fabulous listing at 6243 La Vista (the Stubbs Home, if you recall), does a ton of research on all of her listings, and was able to dig up some old photos of this home’s interiors.

Jump to take a look back in time!

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Swiss Avenue is full of wonderful properties that have so much history and life to them. They have more character in one square foot than many Dallas homes have throughout. Homes on Swiss Avenue are the antithesis of the zero-lot-line McMansions you see in the suburbs (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), and they have such beautiful presence that it’s no wonder they’re magnets for people who adore architecture.

Peter and Christine Loh purchased 4930 Swiss Avenue, a unique Prairie School home built for Texas rancher Thomas W. Newsome by noted architect C.P. Sites, and have been in love with the home since then. Built in 1914 for just $16,000, this home is celebrating it’s 100th birthday during this year’s Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour. Christine was kind enough to take the time to chat with us about her incredible home. Don’t miss this wonderful event this weekend! We’ll be giving away a pair of tickets to the home tour tomorrow so stay tuned to CandysDirt.com!

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There appears to be some construction going on at 4949 Swiss Avenue, but the historic home remains boarded up.

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.

“Many of the wall paintings from the ballroom (from Mattie Caruth’s debutante ball) were able to be saved and will be shown in their original (pre-restoration) condition in the ballroom,” Kinvig said via e-mail. “Docents will be on hand to discuss plans for the home’s renovation, and will be able to share some of the fun tidbits I’ve discovered since purchasing the home.”

After touring Swiss Avenue, if you want to watch the drama surrounding 4949 Swiss play out on the small screen, flip to the Discovery Channel’s “Investigation Discovery” on May 12 when they re-air the special about the case.