In the Highland Park neighborhood of Dallas, the most beautiful, architecturally significant and historic landmark homes are being torn down by people who think colossal white boxes with all the charm of a prison are more important than preserving the soul of our city. I was physically ill when the local news recently reported that one of my favorite homes, 4908 Lakeside Drive, has been sentenced to execution by wrecking ball.
The owner of the home (who declined to go on camera) told NBC5 that they intend to demolish the home and sell the lot!!! And that “preservationists should not be able to tell people what they can do with their property.” Why not at least put the home up for sale and give it a chance?!
Last fall, the city watched in horror as new owners demolished 3800 Beverly Drive, a 9,000 square-foot mansion built in 1922 by one of Dallas’ most celebrated architects, Hal Thomson. It had been fully renovated in 2000.
“For decades, Highland Park homes have been torn down, however, this year this activity has accelerated. Perhaps new residents have had an impact,” Douglas Newby, a realtor who specializes in architecturally significant homes, wrote in his recent article “Why There Is an Acceleration of Highland Park Homes Being Torn Down”. In fact, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has attracted more out-of-state transplants than any other metro area in 2021 (source) and the real estate market here is completely out of control.
“The people who are razing these properties are sort of destroying the very thing that made them want to move here in the first place,” the incoming Park Cities Preservation president told NBC5.
Another architectural gem that was razed this year was 4400 Belfort Avenue, also built by Thomson & Fooshee. The real estate listing read, “One of the most significant sites in Highland Park, this stately home sits on a corner lot at .997 acres. This property features intimate Formals, family room, library, sunroom, gourmet kitchen, third floor complete with large off-season closet, family room, bedroom and bath. The grounds include an outdoor living area with grill and fireplace, pool, and guest house. This is a perfect opportunity to add your personal touch or build your own grand estate!”
Back in 2016 I featured my dream home which had gone on the market… Located on Beverly Drive, the 1930s home had been one of my favorites since ever since moving to Dallas for college. It was demolished, and here is a link to the listing of the oversized spec house that has taken its place. I purposefully go out of my way to not drive by this intersection because it makes me so upset.
Preservation Park Cities has compiled a list of Highland Park homes slated for demolition (sadly it is a long list), and they have also listed the historically significant architects of these homes. They are working tirelessly to get ordinances passed to prevent, or at least slow, this continued loss of architectural history, and they ask for help in spreading awareness.
Douglas Newby has also listed 5 steps we can take to save these homes. Per suggestion #3, I encourage like-minded architects and interior designers who want to help to create preliminary sketches illustrating how best to approach renovations as these architecturally significant homes come on the market…. The Glam Pad would be happy to promote and feature your work!
Mark your calendar for the 2022 Park Cities Preservation Historic Home Tour: May 7 & 8!
Tour four beautifully preserved homes from the comfort of your own home… from anywhere online! The Park Cities Home Tour can be viewed online only May 7 & 8th. Click here for additional information and for tickets which start at $25.
Please follow @preservationparkcities on Instagram for ongoing information and updates. Spread the word – let’s preserve!