Last month we reported on a horrible trend taking over the lovely Highland Park suburb of Dallas… The city’s most majestic and historic homes are being torn down at record number. And unfortunately there’s another one to add to the list.. 4908 Lakeside Drive, one of Dallas’ great architectural masterpieces. Built in 1918 by Hal Thomson, the 7,600 square foot mansion was situated on three quarters of lush acreage and was one of my favorite homes in Dallas. This one was particularly gut wrenching.
Today we will pay tribute by revisiting the real estate listing. The write-up read:
Elegant details throughout the home include marble and inlaid marble & wood flooring, meticulously detailed moldings, trim and plaster treatments, Gracie hand-painted wallpaper, Guerin hardware, five fireplaces, and a magnificent Treillage room looking onto a side-yard area shaded by a specimen 100-year-old Magnolia, and private spa. The graceful kitchen features Viking & Sub-Zero appliances, stone flooring, gas fireplace, cast stone moldings and a floor-to-ceiling glass breakfast room overlooking the grounds. Upstairs you’ll enjoy the richly detailed library with fireplace, luxury master suite with sitting room overlooking the grounds, and three additional guest bedrooms. The elevator takes you to all floors, including the basement with a climate controlled wine cellar. Outdoors, take in the expansive and private setting with lush gardens, majestic trees, entertaining patios and romantic columned gazebo with seating. Truly one of Highland Park’s most prized homes and location.
You can learn more about the former Lakeside home and what the city can do to aid preservation via Douglas Newby.
My personal opinion is that one never “owns” a historically significant property, but is simply a “steward” honored to temporarily enjoy the home and preserve its legacy for future generations.
Coral Gables, Florida serves as an excellent example of enforced preservation. The process engages the community to determine what homes will be given Historic Designation, and designation can even take place once a homeowner begins the demolition process in order to save the home. The details are outlined in this document, and I have copied and pasted the process for historic designation below…
Coral Gables HISTORIC DESIGNATION PROCESS: Proposals for designation of potential historic landmarks may be submitted to the Historical Resources Department by any citizen who provides information which illustrates that the property meets the established criteria for listing. The Historic Preservation Board then conducts a public hearing to determine whether or not the property possesses sufficient historical, cultural, aesthetic or architectural significance to qualify for listing in the Coral Gables Register. Initially, the property must be at least fifty (50) years old or older to qualify for listing. The property may be considered significant if it can be associated with persons or events which have made an impact on our community, or if the property is deemed to possess architectural distinction. If the Board votes in favor of the historic designation, an ordinance is enacted which designates the property as a local historic landmark and lists it in the Coral Gables Register of Historic Places). For each of the public hearings the property owner is notified and encouraged to attend.
Fifty of the homes photographed for Great American Suburbs: The Homes of the Park Cities, published in 2008, have since been demolished. Unless the Park Cities establish similar enforcements, I am afraid that we will see our beautiful suburb turn into something completely unrecognizable. I would love to hear if your town is doing anything to control preservation… Please weigh in below!