There are mistakes in the article-one the YWCA is still standing but currently under demolition-as of yesterday afternoon.
I didn't see that we had a general historic preservation thread. Good article.
Saving the past may be in Dallas' future
Preservationists say cities learning to move faster than bulldozers
11:46 PM CST on Thursday, February 1, 2007
By DAVID FLICK / The Dallas Morning News
What Oscar Wilde once said of America is true of Dallas – its youth is its oldest tradition.
"I think people fall back on that, the idea the city is so new that everyone focuses on the future and no one cares about the past," said Dwayne Jones, who until recently headed Preservation Dallas, a private group dedicated to protecting historic structures.
"But even in [older] cities like Savannah [Ga.] and Charleston [S.C.], there wasn't an identity with the past until the '60s or '70s."
The recent demolitions of the art deco George Dahl house in Highland Park and the Georgian-style Haskell Avenue YWCA in East Dallas have reignited a debate about whether the city and its suburbs are doing enough to preserve historic buildings.
Preservationists, in unison, say no. But, more surprisingly, most add that Dallas has made significant strides in the past few years.
"The current preservation department is better than it's been in 30 years," said Katherine Seale, Mr. Jones' interim successor as executive director of Preservation Dallas. "Working with the people in that office, I'd say Dallas is lucky to have them."
In the past few years, city ordinances protecting historic properties have been tightened. A variety of tax incentives is available to developers who rehabilitate older buildings.
The number of people working on preservation issues at Dallas City Hall has grown from two to six, and they have become more aggressive. City officials, for example, sued the owners of a freight depot in the West End last year after they demolished it despite a stop order. The suit is pending.
Preservation Dallas has also sought to raise public awareness in the past few years – most noticeably by compiling an annual most-endangered list of historic properties.
Too late for the YWCA
None of this was enough to save the 85-year-old YWCA on Haskell Avenue, which was demolished last month by a California company that plans to use the land for a rehabilitation center for older adults.
The building had been declared eligible for historic protection in the early 1990s, but the previous owner, the Dallas Theological Seminary, had opposed official designation, preservationists said.
Seminary officials sold the building last autumn to Skilled Healthcare Group of Foothill Ranch, Calif., but city officials and private preservationists were unaware of the change in status until a few days before the new owners applied for a demolition permit.
Once the permit had been issued, it was too late.
The fate of the YWCA was particularly disturbing, preservationists and city officials said, because the building could almost certainly have been saved had they known sooner that it was in danger.
In such a case, the city could have challenged the demolition application, placing it on hold while the Landmark Commission determined whether the building was historically significant.
The commission was strengthened a few years after the Dr Pepper plant at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue was demolished in 1996 despite having a designation.
The "economic viability" provision helped save the old Crozier Tech High School downtown when city officials successfully fended off the owners' suit to demolish it despite its historic status.
Outcry couldn't stop demolition of the Dr Pepper plant on Mockingbird Lane in 1996. But after that, developers had to prove that a piece of historic property did not have economic viability. "Dr Pepper was a turning point," said former Dallas City Council member Veletta Forsythe Lill. "After that, a developer had to prove that a piece of historic property did not have economic viability, and that's very hard to do."
The Crozier ruling, in turn, had statewide implications. For the first time, a Texas appeals court upheld the right of a city to prohibit demolition of a historic building, said Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers.
The destruction of the Haskell Avenue YWCA could prove to be a turning point as well. Already, it has sparked discussions about what more might be done to save significant properties.
The idea most frequently heard in past weeks has been to institute a "red-flag" procedure. Under the process, city preservation officials would be notified when the owner of a property eligible for historic status applies for a demolition permit, but before it is issued.
In the case of the YWCA, communication between city departments was so poor that officials began proceedings to block the demolition application before realizing the permit had already been issued.
As it stands now, preservation often depends on the luck of finding out in time, Mr. Bowers said.
"It's kind of a race between getting the demolition permit and getting historic designation. Whoever starts first wins," said Mr. Bowers, past chairman of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions.
Eight hours' warning
Even had a red-flag mechanism been in place in Highland Park in December, it would not have been enough to save the George Dahl house from the bulldozer. Highland Park, like University Park, its sister to the north, has no provisions for protecting historic structures.
Mr. Dahl, chief architect of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, designed the house and considered it his favorite residence.
The owner of the property obtained a demolition permit on the morning of Dec. 12. Within eight hours, it was reduced to rubble. Preservationists lamented its loss but could do nothing.
George Patterson, Highland Park town administrator, said despite periodic discussions about historic protection, no detailed plan has ever come before the council.
Park Cities preservationists say the reason for the lack of enthusiasm is both economic and philosophic.
"It comes down to both cities having a very strong pro-property owner attitude," said Lee Roever, president of the Park Cities Historic Preservation Society.
With no legal tools, preservationists rely on persuasion – which can be ineffective in the face of the huge profits that can be made on valuable in-town property.
Mr. Roever said Park Cities preservationists a few years ago tried to save the M.B. and Edna Zale house, built by the Dallas jeweler and designed by architect Howard Meier.
The group was unable to raise money to move the Highland Park house, and it was demolished.
The Zale house on Rheims Place in Highland Park, built in 1949 and designed by Dallas architect Howard Meier, met its end in 2003. "The thing is, that was three years ago, and the lot is still vacant. It's just gathering weeds," said Lee Roever, president of the Park Cities Historic Preservation Society. "The developer insisted he needed the land to build a home, but said if we could come up with the money to remove the [Zale] house intact, he would give it to us free of charge," Mr. Roever said.
"The thing is, that was three years ago, and the lot is still vacant. It's just gathering weeds," Mr. Roever said.
Economic pressures also play a role, he said. Most of the money for the cities' highly regarded school system comes from taxing private residences. The cities are landlocked, so there is public sentiment to increase the value of existing properties.
Mr. Roever's organization has learned to play on residents' desire for status.
Homeowners who preserve the facades of their houses according to strict National Historic Trust guidelines get an impressive-looking bronze plaque, Mr. Roever said.
"People come to us all the time and say, 'We want a plaque, too,' " he said.
But a plaque can only do so much.
"We joke that we can only hope it will put a big dent in the bulldozer when the house comes down," Mr. Roever said.
That's right, Plano
By contrast, a local community that has among the most extensive preservation policies in North Texas is, of all places, Plano.
The city government already has a red-flag procedure in place, and city officials offer up to 100 percent local tax relief on the value of improvements to historic properties. A portion of its hotel-motel tax is earmarked for preservation.
As a result, some very un-Plano-like 19th and early 20th century houses are scattered in a historic district near the city's old downtown on the east side. Some like the Aldridge House on Avenue H and the Mathews House on East 17th Street have been there for a century. Some, like the Magnolia House on East 17th, were moved there to save it from demolition.
In part, Plano's fabled growth has helped spur efforts at historic protection, said Russ Kissick, co-director of the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation.
For one thing, the city's older families, alarmed at changes to their hometown, used their clout to push for preservation policies a generation ago. And newcomers arriving in Plano often come from older cities with histories of preservation efforts, he said.
Plano, unlike the Park Cities, was also blessed with an abundance of land for new development.
"Neglect is sometimes a preservationist's best friend," said Maggie Sprague, who co-directs the conservancy with Mr. Kissick. "As development occurred on the west side of Plano, we were passed over on this side."
In Dallas, a movement back into the older neighborhoods has had a mixed effect on historic properties. On one hand, newcomers are attracted to the urban feel that older buildings provide. On the other hand, those same newcomers want to live in housing with all the latest conveniences.
The influx has been good for preservation efforts in East Dallas and the Cedars, south of downtown. It has been devastating in Oak Lawn, said Ms. Lill, the former City Council member.
Spurred by the destruction of the Haskell Avenue YWCA, council member Angela Hunt has asked Preservation Dallas to prepare a list of the most significant buildings that have no historic protection.
Ms. Hunt said she would encourage the organization to use the list for identifying the city's most endangered buildings, work to give them legal protection, then repeat the process. Over time, the city's supply of protected properties would increase.
She said the idea of instituting a red-flag procedure has merit, but that she was not yet ready to sign off on the idea.
"What I'd like to see is a more proactive strategy before things get to that state," Ms. Hunt said. "You eat an elephant one bite at a time."
1) George Dahl house, built in 1937, one of the few art deco houses in the country, demolished in December 2006.
2) Zale house, built in 1949, designed by celebrated Dallas architect Howard Meier, demolished in June 2003.
3) Dr Pepper headquarters, built in 1948, an art moderne building and a longtime Dallas landmark, demolished in February 1997.
4) Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad freight depot, built circa 1920, an example of Dallas' railroad heyday, demolished in May 2006.
5) Crozier Tech High School, built in 1908, originally Dallas High School, saved from demolition but considered endangered.
6) Haskell Avenue YWCA, built in 1921, an imposing Georgian-style boarding house, demolished in January 2007.
SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research
There are mistakes in the article-one the YWCA is still standing but currently under demolition-as of yesterday afternoon.
Hard Rock Still Rockin’. For Now.
Filed under: News You Can Actually Use, Actually
Consider this yet another of Dallas’ worst-kept secrets: The CVS pharmacy chain is going to buy up and tear down the Hard Rock Cafe on McKinney Avenue. At least, that’s the rumor “swirling” among the restaurant’s staff, says John Gogarty, the New Jersey-based publicist for the restaurant-hotel-casino chain, which is in the process of being sold to the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Only, Gogarty says he can’t comment on the rumors because there isn’t an answer to give at this point.
“I’m not gonna be too much help,” he says. “Hard Rock’s looking at a number of options in Dallas, but no decisions or announcements have been made.” And he says he doesn’t know when to expect a decision or announcement. “Yeah, we’ve been getting it from Cafe folks and message boards. It’s swirling around there, but, unfortunately, I can’t help you out any more than that.”
But we do know someone who can: Preservation Dallas’ interim executive director, Katherine Seale.
See, the building’s not only home to a cheesy chain of overpriced burgers and tourist-trap tees, but it’s also a pretty substantial piece of Dallas’ history.
Though it’s hard to recall it ever being anything other than the Hard Rock, the building was constructed in 1910 as the McKinney Avenue Baptist Church. It was designed by Charles Bulger, who, with his son Clarence, is responsible for at least 200 churches built in Texas and throughout the Southwest. Indeed, many of the Bulgers’ work is well-known in Dallas, even if their names are not: the Gaston Avenue Baptist Church (which became the Criswell College) and the 1907-constructed Praetorian Building at 1607 Main Street, considered the first skyscraper in the Southwest.
A simple Google search for “C.W. Bulger” will reveal his considerable impact everywhere from Austin College in Sherman to a bed and breakfast in Waxahachie to the E.S. Levy Building in Galveston. Bulger also several local properties on the National Register of Historic Places.
In order to avoid a repeat of the Proctor Hall disaster of a few weeks back, Seale has already made appropriate steps to make sure the building isn’t demolished behind Preservation Dallas’ back. She says this week she called Michael Pumphrey, Dallas’ chief planner for preservation, to find out if there were indeed plans in place for the building’s demolition. He then called Leif Sandberg in the city’s building inspection division to find out if any demolition permits — “or work permits of any kind” — had been filed for the address, 2601 McKinney Avenue. None were, but Seale had the city put a hold on the address, as well as the rest of the 2600 block. The hold means that should someone file a demo permit, Preservation Dallas would be notified immediately and given a contact number.
So, for now, the building appears to be safe; after all, the sale to the Seminole Tribe isn’t completed, much less any deal with CVS. But should it all begin to suddenly snowball, the building still doesn’t have city-designated landmark protection — and it might not even qualify. “The gold from the dome was removed by the Hard Rock Cafe, actually, and donated to the Ross Avenue Church, which had been burned down,” she says. “And nothing from the interior has survived.” Nonetheless, at least one person has nominated it to be included in Preservation Dallas’ annual list of endangered buildings; deadlines for nominations close February 15.
“The building has been majorly altered,” Seale says, “but it’s still something people recognize and helps give us a sense of place. If it’s demolished, it’s one more thing lost that gives us a link to the city, especially when it might be replaced by something like a box-store construction.” –Robert Wilonsky
I've always regretted what happened to Theatre row on Elm Street. If a few of those ornate theatres had survived, can you imagine how different it would be now? Those office towers that replaced the theatres are models of how to destroy an active street scape.
But, in the real world, those theatres couldn't have survived from the 1950s-1970s in almost any big city. It was too much prime real estate to chew up with single story buildings.
I was reading an article on the DMN archive site from 1971 about the tear-down craze. They quoted a guy named Harry Gremm, who commented on the demolition derby:
"It's progress. Everything else is changing and it should change, too. When I first came to Dallas in 1912, Commerce Street had nothing on it except five or six wooden shacks."
I think he was exaggerating the situation on Commerce in 1912 a bit, but it made me realize that those guys saw Dallas evolve from a town with dirt streets to a metropolis, and they saw tear-downs and skyscrapers as the signposts of collective prosperity.
Now our mindset is a mix of preserving and building, which is a good model for a still growing, but maturing city.
Weren't the both Tower and Capri still around until the mid-1970s? I believe one of the was originally the Melba. The Capri was the Capri 7 when it shut down believe it or not...
I know I saw the last movie at the Majestic, "Live and Let Die" in 1974 or 75.
Buildings with an edifice complex
Unique structures wait for just the right tenants
12:04 AM CST on Friday, February 23, 2007
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
For rent: One dome.
That's right, for 30 bucks a foot you can lease one of the most unusual buildings in town.
The three-story, 25,000-square-foot domed Rotunda building has a Ross Avenue address and a front-row view of the nearby Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.
"We think it's a unique opportunity," said Jon Altschuler, a top officer with the building's landlord, Stream Realty. "Especially with everything that's going on in the Arts District."
But finding a business that's the right fit for a one-of-a-kind building is never easy. Out of the millions of square feet of commercial buildings leased and sold in the Dallas area each year, a few properties that have special uses or designs can be a challenge.
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 26 February 2007 at 12:31 PM.
Ray Charles' style formed in S. Dallas home
01:05 AM CST on Monday, February 26, 2007
By DAVID FLICK / The Dallas Morning News
On a threadbare street in South Dallas, a relic of a musical legend sits virtually unknown and unprotected.
The gray and white bungalow at 2642 Eugene St., where Ray Charles lived, practiced and composed for three years in the mid-1950s, was for a while boarded up and uninhabited.
A few years ago, it was repainted and resold as rental property, but it still has no historic status that would ensure its survival.
Some local preservationists are only vaguely aware of its existence.
"I guess I was generally aware of it – that is to say I heard rumors that he lived there. But to my knowledge, there haven't been any moves to give it protection," said Katherine Seale, interim executive director of Preservation Dallas.
The current owners, listed on the appraisal rolls as Kura Properties LLC, could not be reached for comment. The property is appraised at $23,000.
Though there have been brief mentions of the South Dallas house in the local media over the years, interest was revived only recently. Sam Childers of the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture researched its history for a Parade magazine contest on "America's Hidden History."
His entry received only an honorable mention. Still, Mr. Childers was excited about discovering such a little-remembered part of the city's past.
"It's a historic gem that not many people know about," Mr. Childers said...
"The importance of that home is where it was," said John Bryant, a drummer in Mr. Charles' band in the mid-1970s. "Fathead Newman lived in the neighborhood, Leroy Cooper lived there, James Clay lived there.
Originally Posted by njjeppson
I hate that stupid thing. It should be torn down.
I like it, have always thought it was very unique.
I guess historical preservation efforts have been around in Dallas for some time. Unfortunately this group lost out and the Mercantile Bank was built in its place.
Preservation Asked of Old Post Office
Clubwomen Plan New Movement to Solve Problem Presented By Old Building
August 19, 1938, The Dallas Morning News, Sec. I, p. 17, col. 1.
Other Interesting Articles Here
A new development by Dallas club women to solve the problem of the moldering old post office building on Ervay at Main and Commerce loomed Thursday.
Heartened by the report that New York City has bought in an old post office building for one dollar on condition that the site be used for civic purposes, many were hopeful the aging Dallas structure could be preserved.
"Something should be done about the old building," Mrs. C. H. Huvelle, past president of the Dallas Federation of Women's Clubs, said. "It is an eyesore in the heart of the city, as it now stands. It should be repaired and preserved r razed. We should kill or cure. If it is possible and feasible for it to be bought in at a nominal sum for use in civic work, I'm sure Dallas club women can be counted on to do their share."
Before making a definite proposal concerning the old structure, Dallas club women would prefer that the building be properly inspected and full reports obtained concerning costs of restoring or demolishing it, Mrs. Huvelle said.
Site for Civic Center
If the structure can be preserved, it would make an ideal civic center, she said. She believes a good-sized auditorium, a basement gymnasium for young people's activities and numerous small meeting rooms could be maintained in the structure, and that it could be made an ideal location for exhibits of various kinds.
If the structure must be demolished, the site would be ideal for a downtown park, or for a new and modern building, she said.
"That is a valuable spot and should be put to some good use," Mrs. Reuben W. Jackson, president of the Dallas Federation of Women's Clubs, said.
"I have been told, on what presumably is good authority, that the building is of a very sound construction," Mrs. Mamie Folsom Wynne said. "It, undoubtedly, has sentimental value and value as a representative of the architecture of its day. If at all feasible, it should be preserved.
Similar statements were made by Mrs. W. A. Leeper and Mrs. Florence Rodgers.
Plan Must Be Practical
All of the women declared they would not give definite backing to any plan until proper investigation had shown it to be practical.
It was recalled that WPA officials estimated it would cost $5,000 to clean and restore the old building two years ago, when a move was under way to make the building the headquarters for a large Government bureau.
"If the Federal Government will let New York City have an old post office building for $1, it seems that Dallas could get the old one here for a nominal sum, if someone would just go after it," Mrs. Huvelle said.
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 27 February 2007 at 05:41 PM.
Is this building a Landmark?
It is now known as The Hard Rock Café, but it was built over 100 years ago as the McKinney Avenue Baptist Church. Neighbors feel that it is a significant and historical landmark in the City of Dallas . With the property now up for sale, we believe the only way the structure and architecture will be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations is to show a groundswell of community support for this effort. The clock is ticking… Once a demolition permit is issued, it is too late to stop it. This is not a zoning issue related to the future use of the property, only a request that the original structure be preserved. Help preserve our fragile history and neighborhood charm by joining this neighborhood effort.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED
I. Contact Councilwoman Angela Hunt
II. Sign Petition (If you don’t have a petition in your building, you can sign the one in the lobby of LaTour at the concierge desk, 3030 McKinney Avenue ).
III. Attend Neighborhood Meeting at William B. Travis Academy on McKinney Avenue on Wednesday, February 28th at 7:00 p.m.
IV. IMPORTANT to attend the Landmark Commission hearing at City Hall on March 5th at 1:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, when the Historical Designation Committee makes its recommendation to the Landmark Commission. It is important for the Landmark Commission to see neighborhood people in the gallery. People matter!
For information, please contact Leslie Brosi at 214-364-2181 or John Charles McKee at 214-850-6457 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Serious question: What makes it historic? Yes, it's old, but that doesn't in itself make a building historic.
Ray Charles filled South Dallas street with music
11:08 PM CDT on Sunday, March 11, 2007
By DAVID FLICK / The Dallas Morning News
The wider world may have been surprised that Ray Charles once lived in the gray and white bungalow at Eugene and Myrtle streets in South Dallas.
But Dale Jones, who rents the house, and his neighbors weren't.
"It's a neighborhood thing. Everyone around here knows this is Ray Charles' house," said Mr. Jones, 37.
And after The Dallas Morning News published a front-page story about the house last month, it seems everyone in the neighborhood had a story to tell.
Mr. Charles rented the house from 1955 to 1958, raising his family there and developing the distinctive style that would later bring him international recognition.
Since then, the house has been a source of pride in an otherwise neglected neighborhood.
"It's the most beautiful thing in the world," said Ronald Boyd, 46, who lived in the house during the late 1970s. "He was a beautiful black man who showed that even if he was blind, he could do something in the world."
Ranch houses aren't historic, says Plano council
Residents rankled by refusal to give Haggard Addition special status
09:33 AM CDT on Sunday, April 22, 2007
By BRANDON FORMBY / The Dallas Morning News
Residents of Haggard Addition consider their tiny Plano neighborhood – with its ranch-style houses and small-town feel – a hamlet worth preserving.
But a plan to designate the East Plano subdivision a heritage resource district this year didn't pass muster with the Plano City Council. Mary Compton, a Haggard resident for more than five years, led the heritage designation charge. She said she feels betrayed by the city after more than a year of tedious work.
Plano last year touted itself as a Preserve America community, a designation first lady Laura Bush gave the city for the encouragement of cultural and heritage preservation. But Ms. Compton says elected officials aren't living up to their own bragging rights.
"We just find it very ironic," Ms. Compton said. "They say that the city supports preservation, and they had the opportunity to do so and made the decision not to support the preservation of this historic neighborhood."
Haggard Addition is a neighborhood of 114 ranch-style houses nestled just north of downtown. It is bounded by a brick wall on one side and the DART rail line on the other. There are few through streets.
"You gotta want to be there if you find it," said Seth Abbott, who bought his Haggard home when it was built in 1954.
The subdivision is considered Plano's oldest, most intact example of a post-World War II neighborhood. Some say it is the epitome of a turning point in American subdivision development, when many houses went up at the same time in a neighborhood to meet demand from returning soldiers who were starting families.
"It was a change in a development pattern in the way the city would continue, over time, to grow and become the community it is today," said Jeff Zimmerman, the city's long-range planning manager.
Michael Brimlee has lived in the neighborhood for more than nine years. He chose it for its original charm and character. He said it reminds him of his old house off Greenville Avenue in Dallas.
"This is probably as close as I'm going to get to it in Plano," he said.
But council members said Haggard Addition lacks notable architectural and historical qualities – especially since a few of the houses were built as late as the 1960s.
"It's hard to think of houses or an area that's younger than I am as historic," said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Sally Magnuson. "We were hard-pressed to find anything unique or historical about the area."
Council members said they were not concerned about losing tax revenue because of the property tax exemptions that come with a heritage designation. Instead, they said, they are wary of setting a precedent that other 50-year-old subdivisions might want to follow.
And Mayor Pat Evans fears that naming the area a heritage district would place tight restrictions on the neighborhood. Tearing down and rebuilding structures in a heritage resource district involves a lot of hurdles. Ms. Evans would like to keep redevelopment options open as the city develops plans for growth in conjunction with the Parker Road DART rail station.
"I think we may prematurely be eliminating some of the options we'd like to see there," she said.
But redevelopment is the word many Haggard Addition residents fear most. Ms. Compton began looking at preservation options after the council approved the conversion of a longtime school district football field into a townhouse development.
In 2005, the council granted the redevelopment of beloved Rice Field, which dated to 1917. The decision came despite opposition from nearby residents, including those who live in Haggard Addition.
"It really made me acutely aware of how vulnerable this neighborhood is for redevelopment," Ms. Compton said. "I felt like that was not in the best interest of this neighborhood or the history of Plano."
Ms. Compton said she was shocked when the council denied the designation. The city's 2002 preservation plan recommended that the council consider the matter. City staffers and Plano's heritage and planning and zoning commissions backed the subdivision's request.
"What we have to do is look at the city as a whole and see what's best for the whole city, not just one neighborhood," Ms. Evans said.
When the council denied the request, it also recommended that the neighborhood seek status as a conservation district.
"I felt they could preserve it just as well with a conservation district," said council member Loretta Ellerbe.
But Ms. Compton said she and her neighbors rejected that recommendation because a conservation district doesn't hinder razing and rebuilding like a heritage resource district does. And keeping the neighborhood as it has been for decades was the point.
She hopes to take the issue back to the council in a few years. Maybe by then, she reasons, they'll have a different perspective. But she fears it might be too late then.
"The real issue is that Plano is risking losing a significant historical district and losing a piece of history," she said.
http://www.star-telegram.com/ has a good video story about the last of the iron bridges in Denton County, now being replaced because of suburban sprawl. I couldn't post the direct link on here but look under the video player.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Historic house in Dallas free to right owner -- but you have to move it
By Pegasus News wire
DALLAS — Dallas developer Clayton Farris is giving away a 2,800-sq-ft Tudor-style home that's nearly 100 years old, located behind Hotel Belmont. He's building a new development but wants the house to go to someone who will restore it. However, it could cost $50K to move the thing. Where is it that there's a lot of that kind of thing, of moved old homes -- is it Waxahachie?
Posted by T.G.
Dallas developer gives away historic house
12:13 PM CDT on Tuesday, May 8, 2007
By CRAIG CIVALE / WFAA-TV
DALLAS - Who says nothing in life is free?
A Dallas developer is giving away a historic home in Oak Cliff ... but there is a catch.
"To take the house, unless you want to move it brick by brick, you would have to take it at one time—pay a mover to move the house," said Clayton Farris.
The 2,800 square-foot, two-story Tudor-style home sits in the shadow of the Hotel Belmont on Fort Worth Avenue in Oak Cliff. Moving it is not an inexpensive proposition.
"It might cost $50,000 to move the structure—that's not counting taking the bricks off," said Jeff Strong, who is interested in the offer.
The house is almost 100 years old and the floors are level. But while it has held up well structurally, it's definitely a fixer-upper inside.
The property's owner is building a new development behind the hotel and wants to see the old house go to someone who will restore it.
But moving it is pricey—and a pain.
"I just hate that you have to move it, that's just the killer," said Strong.
But so far, the "free" home is getting plenty of interest.
"We posted something on a local neighborhood listing," Farris said. "Within two hours I had 90 hits on it."
Those interested say the price is right.
12 FW sites tagged as 'most endangered'
04:52 PM CDT on Tuesday, May 15, 2007
By JEFF BRADY / WFAA-TV
FORT WORTH - The reasons are many, including vandalism, neglect and development.
But the result is often the same - the loss of a city's heritage.
Today, 12 Fort Worth sites acquired an important distinction - they were added to the city's Most Endangered Places list.
It's an 82-year-old icon at the corner of Crump and East Second with patched brickwork and a rusted neon sign.
"It's about the cultural history and it's about the architecture," said Jerre Tracy, executive director of Historic Fort Worth.
The Knights of Pythias Hall - built by an African-American fraternal order in 1925 - now sits abandoned, and could soon be destroyed.
That's why Fort Worth preservationists call it endangered.
Across the street from the old lodge - single-family homes that look historic but are actually brand new and it's that kind of development that puts increasing pressure on an old building that was once the anchor of the neighborhood.
Other blighted - yet historic - areas: University Drive near TCU, home to Record Town, a music store in place for 50 years, as well as Hemphill Street, a neighborhood with homes more than 100 years old, many already lost.
"I think there is a certain sense of that history, and of the necessity of looking at our history and looking at our past, and incorporating it into our present," said Art Brender.
Examples of successful preservation abound, as in the Medical District, where legal offices occupy classic homes.
And today's press conference - held at prominent Thistle Hill - once a relic and now a historic landmark.
Fort Worth's most endangered places in 2007:
•Knights of Pythias Hall, 1925 East Second and Crump streets.
The Key West Lodge of the Knights of Pythias built the African-American fraternal hall in 1925. It served as the group’s lodge and meeting place until 1947. It is one of the remaining original buildings in the East Second Street area.
•William Coleman House, circa 1930. 1071 Humbolt St.
The house was built for William Coleman, vice president of the Fraternal Bank and Trust.
•R. Vickery School, 1909-1910, 1905 E. Vickery Blvd.
The school closed in the 1980s and is no longer owned by the Fort Worth school district.
•Stairway entrance to Swift and Co. packing plant, circa 1902. 500 block of Northeast 23rd Street.
This remaining brick wall and stairway entrance is believed to have been built during the 1902 construction of the Swift and Co. plant in the Stockyards.
•Wayside Church of God in Christ, 1944-45 2100 Beckham Place.
Wayside Church of God in Christ is the last surviving remnant of Trezevant Hill, an African-American community on Fort Worth’s south side.
•The Medical District, bounded roughly by Lancaster Avenue, Bryan Avenue, Rosedale Street and the former Fort Worth and Rio Grande railroad tracks.
•Pioneer cemeteries. Many of Fort Worth’s historic cemeteries date to the city’s early settlement period. Oakwood and Pioneer’s Rest have organizations working for their preservation. Other lesser-known cemeteries, such as the Mitchell Cemetery near Northeast 28th and Decatur avenues, are threatened by road projects and vandalism. The Polytechnic Cemetery near Vickery Boulevard and Bishop Street lies nearly forgotten.
•3000 block of University Drive.
This block is home to businesses and entertainment venues that cater to students at Texas Christian University. It once featured the TCU Theater, which was torn down in 2006. Today, the block is home to Record Town, a locally owned music store that has been in business in the same location for 50 years.
•Remaining single-screen theaters. Just a handful of single-screen theaters remain in Fort Worth, including the Ridglea, New Isis, Berry and Azle theaters.
•Chase Court. West of Hemphill Street, South of Magnolia Avenue, and North of Elizabeth Boulevard.
Chase Court is a planned residential subdivision comprising one block bisected from east to west by an esplanade drive with landscaped islands. It was laid out in 1906.
•Hemphill Street. From Vickery Boulevard to Felix Street.
Hemphill Street was once lined with houses built from the early 20th century through the 1940s. Many of the historic houses along Hemphill Street have been demolished.
•TXU power plant, 1912, 1952. North Main Street.
Fort Worth Power and Light built this plant along the north bank of the Trinity River in 1912. One of the plant’s distinctive smokestacks was built in 1921. In 1952, a 320-foot concrete smokestack was added.
Mayor-elect turns to public to save historic home
12:24 AM CDT on Monday, May 21, 2007
By BOB GREENE / WFAA-TV
DESOTO - One of the oldest homes in Dallas County and a piece of Texas history, the Nance Farm is up for foreclosure; but DeSoto city administrators have now turned to the public to save the home built during the Civil War.
Since it was erected, ownership of Nance Farm has changed hands as much as the area has changed around it.
"The city acquired this property in 1975," said Bobby Waddle, DeSoto's mayor-elect.
Rayline Perkins and her husband were among those who have privately owned Nance Farm.
"We lived there and sold it to another couple, and they went in and redid it more and they sold it to another couple," Mrs. Perkins said.
But now the home has found itself without an owner.
"It's in peril as long as it's in foreclosure," Waddle said.
Waddle said that is why he wants the city to buy and maintain the property.
"It's history...is so important," he said.
However, he said it will be hard to get tax payers to agree to foot the bill. While the mayor-elect some see it as a poor use of tax money, Mrs. Perkins said he agrees that it is important the Nance Farm is preserved.
"I think it should be since it's been there all these years," she said.
Waddle said he hopes preservation can leave a legacy in a time where so many historical properties are being sold off to the highest bidder.
"Someday someone will say that, 'Hey, someone had more on their minds than making a buck here,'" he said.
But Waddle said it will be up to the people to decide which direction to take.
Addison train depot comes home
09:17 AM CDT on Thursday, May 17, 2007
By ELIZABETH LANGTON / The Dallas Morning News
ADDISON – A piece of history rolled into town early Wednesday morning, under cover of darkness and with careful navigation of overhead power lines.
The Addison train depot left its home of 44 years – the Church of the Holy Communion adjacent to the Frankford Cemetery in Far North Dallas – and returned to the town it jump-started more than 100 years ago.
"We're just thrilled to have it back," City Manager Ron Whitehead said.
E.F. Hitchcock, who died two years ago, took the depot out of Addison in 1963. His house-moving company, led by grandson Mark, returned it.
"When the church contacted me, I dropped everything I was doing and went over there," Mr. Hitchcock said. "I wanted possession of it. I didn't want anything to happen to it."
The church gave Mr. Hitchcock ownership of the depot in exchange for removing it. He planned to store the building until he found an appropriate buyer. A church member thought Addison officials might want it and called Mr. Whitehead.
"I always knew it was there, but I never thought we'd have an opportunity to get it," Mr. Whitehead said. "I always imagined it would be there forever."
Workers loaded the building onto beams and dollies and pulled it with a truck. It stood about 22 feet tall, stretched 55 feet long and spanned 28 feet wide at its roof overhangs.
The journey started at midnight Tuesday. The truck navigated around traffic signals and under power lines raised with a bucket truck. Police escorted it along neighborhood streets and the wrong way down the Dallas North Tollway access road.
As the depot crossed the tollway's Arapaho Road overpass, a worker climbed to the roof to nudge a dangling traffic signal. Council member Tom Braun rode shotgun in the truck as it pulled the depot into Addison city limits.
The trip, about 4 miles, took 3 ½ hours.
The town bought the depot from Hitchcock House Movers for $40,000, the approximate moving cost. Renovations could cost $300,000, Mr. Whitehead said. The council has not yet authorized those expenditures.
Town officials want to restore the depot and use it as a community building or museum. They hope to solicit donations and rally volunteers to cut costs.
"I saw this as a project the community could get behind," Mr. Whitehead said. "I think there would be a lot of appeal to that."
Council members initially were hesitant to commit to so much money but eventually agreed they could not overlook the depot's importance. Mr. Whitehead noted that a previous council had the same hesitation about spending $100,000 to restore the Works Progress Administration-built Stone Cottage.
"I've never been sad that the Stone Cottage is there with its history," said council member Jimmy Niemann. "And I feel eventually we'll feel the same way about this."
The Cotton Belt rail line connecting Memphis, Tenn., to Fort Worth – and passing through the community later to be called Addison – was completed in 1902. Town pioneer W.W. Julian donated a half-acre for a train depot.
"The significance of the depot to the town is that without the railroad, Addison probably wouldn't be here," said Liz Oliphant, an Addison resident who does public relations work for the town.
"By donating land for a depot, Mr. Julian assured Addison's growth. The community of Frankford died as Addison grew."
Tiny Frankford was east of the Dallas North Tollway near Hilton Head Drive. When the Cotton Belt bypassed it, the residents moved away. All that remains is the cemetery and neighboring church.
The railroad, which closed the depot after it discontinued passenger service, in 1963 gave the Addison depot to the Church of the Holy Communion, which the Episcopal Diocese revived that year as a mission. The church used the depot over the years as a Sunday school classroom, parish hall and vestry.
But the congregation has grown, and last year it built a new church building. The congregation no longer needs the depot.
A handful of church members gathered Tuesday night to watch the depot leave. Cab and Lyndall Link watched about 1 a.m. as the depot crept through the intersection of Knoll Trail Drive and Keller Springs Road.
"We have loved and enjoyed this building for many years," Mr. Link said. "The depot meant a lot to us. It's touching to see it go."
Addison officials plan to place the depot on town land at the end of Broadway Street just north of the Cotton Belt tracks. The location allows for connection to future rail developments when Dallas Area Rapid Transit starts using the Cotton Belt.
The spot also is close to the depot's original home just to the southwest, where the tracks formed a Y and branched into the now-abandoned spur line to Dallas. Until a foundation is built in about a month, the depot is parked on town land near Addison Road and Festival Way.
Clock ticking for Denison's 94-year-old school
Unless city finds the money to save it, walls will come down
10:46 PM CDT on Saturday, July 28, 2007
By DEREK KRAVITZ / The Dallas Morning News
DENISON, Texas – The fight to save Denison's 94-year-old school building has divided this North Texas town, pitting many residents against town leaders and its powerful business community.
In recent weeks, a few dozen homeowners in this community of 23,000 have rallied to try to save old Denison High School, which has been condemned to the wrecking ball.
The school, with its red clay-tile roof, yellow brick exterior and Alamo-like turrets situated on an entire city block downtown, is on Preservation Texas' list of the state's 12 most endangered historic sites. The Texas Historical Commission and the National Trust say the Mission Revival structure is a piece of history.
It was designated as a bomb shelter, and Houdini performed there.
"Old Denison High is priceless and irreplaceable," said Dr. Mavis Anne Bryant, a Denison psychologist and artist who is helping raise money to save the school. "It's what makes our town unique. You can't go around destroying something like that."
But city leaders say that as much as they love the building, it's time for it to go. Except for a few haunted house displays put on the by the Jaycees during Halloween, the building has been vacant for more than 20 years. And the city simply doesn't have enough money to rehab it.
Outside firms have estimated the cost to preserve the old Denison High at $2 million to $6 million, plus at least $250,000 in yearly upkeep and maintenance. With Denison's city tax rate near a record high, there's nowhere near enough public money, or private support, for the high school's restoration, Denison Mayor Robert Brady said.
Meanwhile, a new city library is sorely needed, and the city has received an offer from Walgreen's to buy the land where the school is located for $1.2 million.
"This hasn't been a precipitous decision," said Ben Munson, Denison's former mayor and state representative. "It would be wonderful to restore it. But [economically] it just doesn't make sense."
The race to save the school started this month after the school's auditorium, a gymnasium and two academic halls, built as additions to the school's original clock tower in the 1930s, were demolished. Amid the rubble, residents say, a fresh glimpse of the clock tower, smokestacks and arched amphitheater put the school and its historical significance in a new light.
"When they unearthed the original structure, they unknowingly revealed how beautiful it was," said Joe Pollaro, owner of an advertising firm on Main Street in downtown Denison. "It's incredible looking. It's reawakened passions for people to try and save it."
Some of those passions have gotten out of hand, some residents say. Mr. Pallaro got into a heated shouting match with a contractor while trying to delay the demolition work last week.
The argument – caught on film by a local TV station – is typical of tempers flaring on either side of the debate, Mr. Brady said.
"The high school – and what to do with it – is the talk of the town," Mr. Brady said Friday.
On Saturday, about 400 people passed through an all-day rally, walking up to the 6-foot chain link fence surrounding the school. Some former students recalled the end of World War II being announced in the school's auditorium and the assassination of John F. Kennedy being broadcast over the public address system.
Several hundred people signed a petition calling for the city to stop demolition.
At sundown, about 100 people gathered in '50s era drive-in next to the school. Several speakers took the open mike in support of saving the school.
"We got to save this school, ain't we?" said one.
They ended the event standing in front of the school, holding lights and singing the national anthem and school song.
Even though money is needed to save the school, Saturday's event was not a fundraiser.
As a wrecking ball neared the demolition site last week, Mr. Pollaro and a few other Denison residents cobbled together $10,000 to hold off the city's plans for two weeks. In that time, Mr. Pollaro and the Save Denison History group hope to raise enough money or come up with an enticing alternative for the city to buy in to.
The Texas Historical Commission offered a $50,000 emergency grant to the city Friday for redeveloping the site. The National Trust, while not offering money, sent a letter to Mr. Brady last week pleading for the city to scrap its demolition plans and "mothball" the site for later use.
Mr. Brady said the help is appreciated, but it may be too late.
"I'll be there applauding at the ribbon-cutting ceremony if they can get the money together," Mr. Brady said. "That being said, I think it would take a miracle for it to happen in two weeks."
OLD DENISON HIGH SCHOOL
A mixture of Mission Revival and Spanish colonial architectural styles, the school was built between 1913 and 1914 on the site of the city's first school. Two art deco wings were added in the 1930s. It was used as a high school or junior high until closing in 1986. A nonprofit organization purchased the building but did not find interest in restoring the building and deeded it back to the city. Earlier this year, the city raised $500,000 from two private trusts to pay for the building's demolition.
SOURCES: Handbook of Texas Online and Dallas Morning News research.
Population: 23,300 (2004 estimate)
History: The town was founded in 1872 as a stop on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad (the Katy) and incorporated the next summer.
In 1873, it established the first free public school in Texas. With the addition of two other major railroads and several regional ones, it became a retail and shipping point for North Texas. During the 20th century, industrial and manufacturing plants were located in the city, but it now is a tourist stop of Lake Texoma resorts. The house where the 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was born is a historic site.
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 29 July 2007 at 02:57 AM.
Clock tower removed from old Denison High School
Time finally ran out today for the clock tower at what used to be Denison High School.
A crane was used to lower -- intact -- the clock tower structure.
The fate of the tower remains to be decided by the Denison City Council, where efforts to save the entire school building had failed.
Work continues to demolish what's left of the nearly century-old former school on Main Street.
The structure closed more than two decades ago when the current Denison High School opened.
The retired building had been deeded to the group Denison Heritage, but no plan was ever reached for additional public use of the complex.
Then the former school building was turned over to the city -- for demolition.
Information from Steve Korioth and staff of KTEN-TV: http://www.kten.com
Historic Dallas home gets new lease on life
February 15th, 2008
The house, located at the corner of Cox Lane and Northaven Road, originally was owned by two sisters from the family for which Cox Lane is named. The house was built by the Southern Pine Association for exhibit at the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, and the sisters bought it and had it moved onto Cox family land. The house soon will be relocated to the lot where the original Cox farmhouse still sits. (DMN - Video/editing: Cheryl Diaz Meyer) | Story coming Saturday
Maybe I just don't understand real estate, or city codes, or something, but why tear something down if you don't plan to redevelop a property? I mean, seriously, had the roof collapsed in or something? I can understand if the structure is unsafe, but not if it has some potential.
To save on property taxes and insurance, both of which are pretty hefty in this market.Originally Posted by freewaytincan
MoJo: Original Addison depot destroyed by fire
March 11th, 2008
The 100-year-old Addison depot was gutted by a fire early Saturday morning. City leaders call it a disappointing loss since it was one of the oldest buildings in the city and was being renovated. WFAA.com Mobile Journalist, MoJo, Aaron Chimbel reports.
'House of future' is finally home in northwest Dallas
10:41 PM CDT on Monday, June 30, 2008
By DAVID FLICK / The Dallas Morning News
The "House of the Future" is home at last.
The 72-year-old structure that began life as an exhibit at the Texas Centennial Exposition, and then served as a farmstead for two unmarried sisters, was deposited Monday on the lot of a northwest Dallas couple who spent five months and $38,000 getting it there.
"It's a great feeling. It's been a long ride," said Lyle Wilson, who, with his wife, Janis Baldwin, rescued the house in February. It was about to be torn down to make way for construction of a 5,700-square-foot home along Cox Lane.
The couple planned to move the home to a 1-acre lot nearby, where they live in a century-old farmhouse built by the Cox family, who were among the area's earliest settlers. But the city balked at issuing a zoning variance, and 4 ½ months ago the house was moved to a vacant lot nearby. Meanwhile, Mr. Wilson and Ms. Baldwin navigated the city permit offices.
Though the wrangling continued until late Monday morning, the couple was issued a moving permit, and the house made the 2,000-foot journey to their property.
Mr. Wilson and Ms. Baldwin intend to return the house to something of its original appearance and convert it into an artist studio.
The modest one-story home may be among the most-traveled buildings in Dallas. It was built in 1936 by a timber industry association trying to demonstrate how a modern house could be built out of pine lumber.
The following year it was purchased by the Cox family, who had it wheeled from Fair Park to their farm, where it became home to two women, known to family members as Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Fan.
As the city was filling in around the property, the family sold the house in 1970, and it was subject to extensive alterations.
Oak Cliff's historic garages part of a striking preservation trend
02:48 PM CDT on Wednesday, September 3, 2008
By CHRISTOPHER WYNN / The Dallas Morning News email@example.com
Anyone driving the stretch of West Davis Street from Kessler Park to the core of the Bishop Arts District has noticed the plethora of old auto garages. The midcentury buildings with their soaring interiors and sturdy shells are part of a striking preservation and gentrification trend: Settles Garage, built in 1946, is now Bolsa. Grill 400 occupies the former North Loop Garage. Oak Cliff Mercantile’s architectural salvage and antiques fill a Model T-era gas station. And Artisans Collective showcases work in yet another former filling station.
Oak Cliff preservationist and developer David Spence says the stations are reminders of Davis’ origins as U.S. Route 80, part of the Dixie Overland Highway that ran from Savannah, Ga., to San Diego.
“If you wanted to go from Dallas to California, Davis was the highway,” Spence says. (In another travel link, the current Bishop Arts District was once one of the main trolley stops along Davis.
The adjacent Tyler stop is projected to be the area’s next development hub.) Today, the “Bishop Arts” label has broadened to encompass several blocks along Davis. At least two major Uptown developers have been eyeballing properties, but Spence’s Good Space firm remains the local pioneer. His most recent redo is the ’30s-era Kemp’s Garage at 634 W. Davis. (Previous owner Billy Kemp, who met his wife of 52 years across the street at the old Penguin root beer stand, tells us he’s wowed by the makeover.)
Bolsa partner Royce Ring compares Spence’s efforts along Davis Street to what Tristan Simon has done for Henderson Avenue: “Spence has been a real force in that area; he helped gentrify a pretty banged-up street into some pretty sought-after real estate.”
I vote we have a 'meet-up' at Bolsa, that looks really cool.
Chicago also considering preserving some buildings built around the same time as the ones we're willing to tear down in Dallas.
Please see link below.
A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something. - Plato
After 50-year run, sign will be gone in a flash when liquor store closes
10:27 PM CDT on Monday, April 20, 2009
By JEFFREY WEISS / The Dallas Morning News
Most of the secrets behind the sparkling Sigel's sign at Lemmon Avenue and Inwood Road have been lost to history.
The sign, erected sometime during the 1950s, is an example of what is called "Googie," an exaggerated Jetsons-style of architecture named after a Los Angeles coffee shop.
But nobody with the Dallas-based chain of liquor stores remembers why such a spectacular design was used for that particular store. And no one can say what will happen after the neon bubbles stop flashing at the end of the month.
That's when Store No. 7 will close. The building is scheduled for demolition and the company isn't sure what it will do with the sign, said John Rector, executive vice president.
"I have real sadness about seeing that store close up," said Rector, who's been with the company for 35 years and once managed that store.
Sigel's used to have other flashy signs in Dallas, he said. But those have long ago vanished.
The store that is closing is the oldest in the chain, Rector said. The company lost its lease because the block is set for redevelopment.
The sign has been preserved, in part, because of an accident of zoning, Rector said.
"It sits in a remarkable spot, right out on the tip of that corner," he said. "If we were to erect a sign today, we couldn't put it out there."
When the zoning laws changed, the sign was grandfathered in. So if the company had wanted to make significant changes, it couldn't have done so without moving the sign.
Sigel company officials want to save the sign, but other stores don't meet the space or zoning requirements, Rector said. The sign might be taken apart and put into storage if the cost isn't too high.
"It might scare us all to death when we find out how much it's going to be," Rector said.
If it is relocated, it will be the second famous liquor sign in Dallas to find a new home. The "Big Tex" sign that had stood by a Centennial Liquor store on Central Expressway since 1958 was moved to another store on Stemmons Freeway in 1993.
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 21 April 2009 at 01:06 AM.
Addison finds a home for famous Sigel's sign
02:02 PM CDT on Wednesday, May 13, 2009
By MICHAEL E. YOUNG / The Dallas Morning News
The dazzling space-age sign that marked the location of the Sigel's liquor store at Lemmon Avenue and Inwood Road in Dallas will glow again, this time in Addison.
The Addison City Council approved a "meritorious exception" Tuesday night, clearing the way for the brilliant neon sign to grace Sigel's Fine Wines and Great Spirits store at 15003 Inwood, near Belt Line Road.
The colorful 1950s sign is done in the "Googie" style: Jetsons-modern and named after a Los Angeles coffee shop.
"The sign didn't meet design standards for a pole sign in our ordinance, so it needed an exception," said Addison building official Lynn Chandler. And to get an exception, a design needs merit.
Certainly this sign has it.
Chandler doesn't know the timetable for raising the old sign again, but he does know Sigel's has a couple of steps to take first.
"They'll have to come in and apply for a permit and I'll review it and issue the permit at that point," he said.
Sigel's officials said they hope to install the sign in June.
The company has closed its Lemmon Avenue store.
This is awesome new Thanks you addison God Bless you. And Good news from my end The Elfenix is saving the Old hernadez Sign from the old hernadez store on alamo street in fact there is talk of preserving it. if you want to drive by my house I am building new flowerbed borders from red brick that came from the inside walls of the Building. Pm me if you want the address. One of the Beds is already done.
Here are some it tok of the demo and before
The dallas burgler alarm box and yes the white brick made it home with me.
This Evening, Talk of Designating Two Downtown Buildings as Historic Landmarks
By Robert Wilonsky in News You Can Actually Use, Actually
Thursday, May. 28 2009 @ 3:49PM
Noticed something interesting on the Landmark Commission Designation Committee's agenda for today's 5:45 p.m. confab: the re-initiation of historic designation proceedings for two downtown buildings, the Mercantile Continental Building on Commerce Street and the Dallas National Bank Building on Main Street (otherwise known as The Joule). That's re-initiation -- as in, both buildings were, at one time, being vetted to see if they deserved designation and should be afforded the attendant protections and stipulations that come with such a title. But the initiation proceedings were terminated -- by the very folks who initially approached the Landmark Commission about starting 'em up in the first place.
Katherine Seale, executive director of Preservation Dallas and a member of the Designation Committee, says that three years ago, the owners of both properties approached the Landmark Committee about designation. Forest City Enterprises, of course, owns the Continental, which sits just across the street from their Merc re-do, while Tim Headington is the oil man who sunk a small fortune into the circa-1925 Gothic revival skyscraper known as the Dallas National and rebranded it The Joule.
The Designation Committee found both more than worthy of historic designation -- each met at least eight of the 10 criteria -- and recommended moving forward. But representatives for both owners yanked their request for designation, Seale says, because officials with the city's Office of Economic Development told the owners they wouldn't be eligible for historic property tax credits, since both were receiving tax increment financing district money for their respective redos. (Forest City, which has promised 140 residential units in the Continental Building, is set to receive $10 million from the Dallas Connection TIF; The Joule, $8.5 million from the City Center TIF.) Messages have been left with Karl Zavitkovsky, head of Economic Development.
"So the property owners asked the nominations to be withdrawn," Seale says.
The Designation Committee will vote on re-initiating designation proceedings without the owners' consent. In fact, representatives at Headington's office were unaware such a vote was scheduled for today until reached by Unfair Park, though no one's been available to comment about the meeting. And at least one Forest City rep to whom I spoke today knew nothing about the re-initiation of designation proceedings.
As Seale reminds, all the Designation Committee does is say whether or not a property's deserving of designation. "[We] analyze a property for integrity and contribution," as she puts it, while acknowledging both buildings' "contribution to downtown." Should the Designation Committee recommend both as city-designated landmarks, their cases will go before the Landmark Committee, which will then forward its recommendation to the Dallas City Council, which makes the final decision.
Usually, endangered buildings wind up going through this process. And owners who resist designation do so because they don't like the rules and regulations that go along with owning a historically designated building -- especially the one that doesn't allow them to tear down a building without the Landmark Committee's OK. But in the case of The Joule, well, it's been gutted and restored and then some. And if Headington doesn't want the designation at this late date, Seale says, that's because he might argue that "that historic designation would preclude a future property owner from making substantial changes to the building," should he ever sell the joint.
But the Continental Building's a little trickier: Forest City's been saying for three years that it plans on renovating the building as a residential space, but to date nothing's been done -- and, sources say, nothing's close to happening for the foreseeable future given, but of course, the state of the economy. Which means designating that building could in, in fact, impact what Forest City -- or some other owner, should the company decide to sell to another developer -- can and can't do should it ever move ahead with its plans for 140 residential units.
Developing. One day.
Forest City's "Not Ready" For Mercantile Continental to Become Landmark. Or Apartments Either. Not Just Yet.
By Robert Wilonsky in News You Can Actually Use, Actually
Friday, May. 29 2009 @ 4:28PM
Jim Truitt, Forest City's vice president of residential development, called me back today to discuss yesterday's meeting of the Landmark Commission's Designation Committee, which did indeed vote to re-initiate the historic designation process for both the Mercantile Continental Building and the former Dallas National Bank Building, now The Joule. Forest City didn't send anyone to protest the designation, Truitt says, as the company responsible for the Merc redo and the next-door Element is working with the Landmark Commission to draw out the proceedings as long as possible. But, truth is, Forest City would just as soon not have the building labeled a city-designated historic landmark -- not just yet, anyway.
Why not? Well, for the obvious reasons: Designation comes with a lengthy list of restrictions that disallow property owners from making changes without the Landmark Commission's OK, which can be an arduous process but not an impossible one. And Forest City's a long ways off from renovating the Continental Building, Truitt acknowledges: The developer wants to convert its empty offices into 190 residential units, but, you know, the economy and all. Hence, Forest City's attempts in recent months to raise the money from not only the city via tax incentives but also the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"We're not ready for it to become a landmark," Truitt says. "We've got to figure out what to do with it first. We're working with different lending agencies and HUD, and if we have to make a changes to the building to make it work, we'll have to go back to the city and tell them we need to make changes. ... We also wanted to see what the results of the Merc were and how all that worked. There's a lot of [housing] supply that opened downtown in '08, and we wanted to see how it was absorbed. And then, when the economy fell apart, it put a stop to all that."
Right now, Truitt says, the Merc's occupancy is at 70 percent; the newer Element, at 30. Both offer only rental spaces.
"Downtown's doing pretty well, but we're affected by what's going on," he says. "Occupancy's dropped a little bit, [and] we're having to give a lot of concessions to make it work, but, fortunately, we're seeing occupancy. As the steets gets better, the residential will get better and vice-versa."
Truitt guesstimates Forest City won't move on the Continental for at least a year, perhaps as long as two. Oh, and he says the company has no intention of touching Millard Sheets' 30-foot-tall mosaic, commission by one R.L. Thornton.
Is Brutalism worth saving?
Monday, August 24, 2009
Collin County fined for selling McKinney courthouse
By Bill Baumbach of The Collin County Observer
The Texas Historical Commission is mad at Collin County for selling the old McDonald St. Court House to the City of McKinney. You see, the Historical Commission is charged by law to preserve historic courthouses.
While the county commissioners might not think of the 1979 building as "historic," and the City of McKinney obviously does not (they are planning to demolish the building), the Historical Commission disagrees.
The Historical Commission has characterized the old six-story cube as a, "good example of a modern form of architecture known as Brutalism which is gaining notoriety and appreciation among architects and historic preservationists."
YesOriginally Posted by DFWCRE8TIVE
Bless This House: For Sale, From 1874, the Original Oak Lawn United Methodist Church
By Robert Wilonsky in News You Can Actually Use, Actually
Thursday, Oct. 15 2009 @ 12:04PM
A good Friend of Unfair Park sends word of a most historic property for sale not far from Unfair Park HQ: 3206 Knight Street, yours for the low, low price of $399,999. Notice the year built: 1874. Which happens to coincide with the construction of the first home of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church. So happens, it is in fact the original structure in which Rev. Marcus Hiram Cullum preached his first sermon. Odd thing is, the Dallas Central Appraisal District shows the house as having been built in 1932. Most likely, that's because that's the year it was moved from its original location closer to Cedar Springs Road and Oak Lawn Avenue.
"It has a very interesting history," says John Garlow, who's handling the sale of the house. "It was the original cvivic center and the last remaining building of the city of Cedar Springs, which, at the time, was more dominant than the city of Dallas. It was moved in the late part of the 19th century, converted into the sort of Victorian look it has today and pushed to the back of the lot. And in 1932, it was moved yet again to its current location and had a major remodel in the '30s and again in the '70s."
Garlow, of course, wants to sell the house -- but he worries that since it's more or less the last single-family structure standing in the neighborhood, its next owner may be its last. "It hasn't shown up on Preservation Dallas's radar, it has no city-designated historic protection, and people discount its historical value. But I'd love to see it saved."
Public Safety Committee Shuns Preservationists, Approves New Historic Demolition Ordinance
By Sam Merten, Wednesday, Apr. 21 2010 @ 9:30AM
Categories: City Hall
Baffled and outraged preservationists quietly vacated Monday afternoon's Public Safety Committee meeting after the city council committee voted unanimously to adopt a new historic building demolition ordinance without public input. Katherine Seale and Scott Potter of Preservation Dallas stood at the lectern awaiting an opportunity to speak, but the committee refused to acknowledge their presence.
"We were bowled over," Seale tells Unfair Park, adding that the ordinance "completely obliterates" the historic preservation program.
Seale claims she wasn't given notice that the item would appear on the committee's agenda, but after hearing about it through word of mouth, she contacted the City Secretary's Office, the City Attorney's Office and committee chair Dwaine Caraway's secretary with her intent to address the committee. She spent the weekend on a presentation, which is available after the jump, but no one saw it because she was ignored by the committee.
"We were given no indication that we would not be heard," she says.
Seale is frustrated that the city has involved seven attorneys -- led by First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers -- in the process of developing the ordinance, which aims to expedite demolishing a small fraction of the properties deemed urban nuisances by the city. In fact, in the last six years just 34 of the 1,200 such properties were historic, and only two of those haven't been razed.
"We just spent all of that time in there arguing trying to fix blight for two houses out of 1,200?" Seale says.
The main point of contention between the city recommendation approved by the committee and the one backed by Preservation Dallas, the City Plan Commission and the CPC's Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee was that the latter group wanted to restrict the ordinance to residential buildings smaller than 3,000 square feet. Bowers claims that the Landmark Commission supported the city's recommendation, but Seale says that's an "untruth." Landmark Commissioner Lyle Burgin says he hasn't seen the ordinance's final draft and is unaware of how it evolved, so he's unable to comment on his position as it relates to city staff. We're also waiting for a call back from Landmark Commission chair Chris Gonzales.
"We were absolutely squirming at the misinformation that was being discussed," Seale says.
Although this was the fourth briefing about the ordinance, committee members had a hard time grasping the issue, with Dave Neumann describing the presentation as "a little confusing." Freshman council member Ann Margolin was particularly lost, joking that she needed a flow chart and announcing that she was "very confused" after asking for Bowers to explain the ordinance. And Linda Koop seemingly acknowledged the committee's stupefaction before her motion to accept the city recommendation by chuckling as she said, "Do I dare make a motion?"
Delia Jasso prompted Bowers to admit that only one of the 34 historic properties deemed urban nuisances exceeded 3,000 square feet, but Jasso and other committee members failed to recognize that the threshold was a compromise resulting from negotiations with preservationists. Tennell Atkins clearly didn't understand the distinction between residential properties smaller than 3,000 square feet and those more than 3,000 square feet combined with all commercial buildings when he asked: "What is the 3,000 square-foot rule?"
Neumann said the 3,000-square-foot compromise is "ridiculous," claiming the ordinance shouldn't differentiate between blighted properties. Ron Natinsky agreed. "I think the same rules oughta apply to everybody," he said.
Bowers played a KTVT-Channel 11 news report by Bud Gillett featuring the one property more than 3,000 square feet -- an apartment complex in Winnetka Heights that burned down in November 2008. Neumann, who was notified of the fire by Gillett, cited the incident as a reason why residents of Winnetka Heights are scared of how the city handles demolition by neglect. However, Neumann said he did some "constructive arm twisting" to get the neighborhood to change its mind.
The ordinance eliminates the requirement for an engineering report to be performed before demolition, with Bowers citing the $5,000 to $6,000 cost and three to eight month time period as concerns. Natinsky said "I almost fell off my chair" when Bowers told the committee that the city is not reimbursed for the cost of the reports. Seale tells Unfair Park that Preservation Dallas offered to have qualified experts perform engineering reports pro bono, and the City Attorney's Office never responded.
Natinsky mentioned the costs associated with the entire process as "another hole in the budget," claiming it's unfair to citizens for their tax dollars to disappear into "a gray area." But he told Theresa O'Donnell, director of development services, that he doesn't even want to know how much the process costs.
The new ordinance would also give the fire marshal authority to demolish a structure without approval from the Landmark Commission if "a clear and imminent threat to public exists." Committee chair and Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said he didn't want to lean on Dallas Fire-Rescue, but he urged them to take a more active role, stressing that "some buildings need to come down immediately."
The committee also unanimously approved a separate motion by Natinsky requiring the CPC to give deference to municipal court judges instead of the Landmark Commission when considering appeals. Seale says judges merely rubber-stamp requests from city attorneys, and it's not the role of the court to determine historical significance because they're not experts in history, neighborhood context, real estate, economics or improvement costs.
Jasso said dilapidated properties have no historical significance and claimed there are several examples in the city that have gone "terribly wrong."
"We don't have a good way to demolish these buildings, and the example I want to cite is the Crozier Tech building -- the 10th Street church building that DISD now owns," she said.
Seale refused to address Jasso's comment about Crozier Tech High School and whether Bowers and the City Attorney's Office are carrying out Mayor Tom Leppert's agenda to expedite the demolition of vacant downtown buildings.
"All I can say is it does not make sense that with as many limited resources as we have today, it defies logic for them to be changing our historic preservation ordinance," she says.
While the council's largest advocate for preservation, Angela Hunt, is taking a few weeks off after the birth of her daughter, City Manager Mary Suhm is expected to place the item on the council's April 28 addendum for full council approval.
Just read the Public Safety article... that is awful! What the hell is this council thinking?? It's things like this that explain why Dallas is an exception to the rule established in that other thread (about the tendency of the affluent to move back into the city). Without history, charm, and character, the suburbs can just as easily build a faux "village" and lure people in. Historic Preservation is absolutely KEY to place-making, and facilitating a sense of love and dedication to a city.
Times weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to slip through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won't be able to escape it.
Cliff's list: Top 10 at-risk sites in southern Dallas area hint at their possibilities
11:03 AM CDT on Monday, June 21, 2010
By ROY APPLETON / The Dallas Morning News
The Bateman Ceramic Studio once occupied the building with the multi-colored brick and rusting sign at 716 Pierce St. So did a real estate office and a beer joint. The address next door was home over the years to Pierce Street Grocery, Lowry's Food Store and Sims Grocery.
The places are locked and silent now, as is the building across the street with its curved front wall of tan and red bricks and lineup of doors and covered windows. Long gone are the drug store, barber shops, variety store and cafe. So is the streetcar line that ended a block away.
The scene hints of a more robust time, of truly local commerce, before the malls and strip centers and freeways took charge. It's also subject to change. The buildings there in the 700 block of Pierce could be razed or replaced with few restrictions.
That's a big reason the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League included them in its first list of at-risk architecture.
"They're cool and vacant and interesting," said Michael Amonett, league president.
Modeled after Preservation Dallas' annual list of the city's most endangered historic places, the league's goal is to bring public awareness and perhaps some protection to properties that could be lost or degraded – by neglect or aggressive development.
"If these buildings are taken away and something new takes their place, then we lose the character of the area we've come to love," said Alicia Quintans, who led a four-member committee that developed the list and has posted information on the league's website: www.ooccl.com.
Founded in 1974 to confront urban decay in north Oak Cliff, the league works for the preservation and improvement of 29 neighborhoods and the overall benefit of Oak Cliff.
The architecture project grew from its continuing efforts to save the former Oak Cliff Christian Church.
The Dallas school district wants to demolish the 94-year-old building at 300 E. 10th St. for its new Adamson High School campus. The league challenged the move in court. And in mediation, the district gave the group until Aug. 16 to find a buyer willing to pay $1.2 million for the property.
The threat to Oak Cliff Christian aroused preservationists and revived interest in its neighborhood, particularly in 10th Street.
Once known as Church Street, 10th over the years was lined with 18 sanctuaries, a number that has dwindled to eight. Christ Episcopal Church has city landmark protection, but others – such as Cliff Temple Baptist, Tyler Street Methodist and Calvary Baptist Church – have no historic designation.
"Part of this effort is to educate people that we really do care," Quintans said.
League leaders also believe investments in some sites could help stabilize or enhance surrounding areas, as has happened elsewhere in Oak Cliff with the Bishop Arts District, Belmont Hotel and Winnetka Heights Historic District.
"I would hope people would use these buildings for the good of the community," said Quintans, standing at the Pierce Street site.
Added Amonett: "They're just better off occupied.
"Next year if we come back and there's life here, then that list was cool and we did some good."
At-risk sites in Oak Cliff
The following sites are included in the first "at-risk" architecture list, created by the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League.
• Pierce Street: League leaders say vacant buildings in the 700 block of Pierce, which once housed grocery stores, a ceramic studio and other businesses, lack sufficient protection.
• 10th Street churches: Eight church buildings now line a street that was once home to 18 congregations. Some of the survivors, such as Cliff Temple Baptist, Tyler Street Methodist and Calvary Baptist Church, have no historic designation.
• Second Church of Christ, Scientist, 1755 Colorado Blvd. Built in 1949 near the Stevens Park Golf Course, the now privately owned building is not included in the Stevens Park Conservation District.
• Boude Storey Middle School, 3000 Maryland Ave. Built in 1932-33, the school's original windows, doors and other exterior features need repair. The school district's 2008 bond program includes money to upgrade the building, and the league is concerned about "insensitive alterations" to the structure.
• Eagle Ford School, 1601 Chalk Hill Road. The building, built in 1916, closed in the late 1940s and now houses a microprocessor manufacturer in an area of commercial development in far west Oak Cliff.
• Wynnewood Village shopping center, Zang Boulevard at Illinois Avenue. The aging property, former heart of a post-World War II master-planned development, remains an active retail core, but it continues to be at risk for insensitive upgrades or demolition, the league believes.
• Casita Lupe restaurant building, 1207 N. Zang. It served as Polar Bear Ice Cream Co.'s flagship store from 1946 until the mid-1980s, according to the league. But its neighborhood surrounding Lake Cliff Park and near the Trinity River is being rezoned and targeted for redevelopment.
• The Boundary area , Jefferson Boulevard at Marlborough Avenue. Long a business and transportation hub near Sunset High School, the commercial zone has declined and now includes assorted shops and vacant buildings. The facade of a longtime movie theater, the Bison and later the Vogue, has been removed by the church that owns the property. League leaders believe the creation of a conservation district and infrastructure upgrades could revive the area as happened in the Bishop Arts District.
• Dallas Land and Loan. Rezonings have changed the character of this longtime residential area south of the Bishop Arts District. A move to boost housing density in the late 1940s opened the door to apartments. A rezoning in the mid-1960s, to combat urban decay, allowed for commercial uses. And league leaders say neglect and proposed zoning changes, which would increase density and maximum building heights, are further challenging the area's remaining homes.
• Bishop Avenue between Davis Street and Methodist Dallas Medical Center. A number of homes along the boulevard date to the early 20th century. The rezoning plan involving the Dallas Land and Loan also includes this stretch of Bishop. And league leaders fear that allowing taller structures, 150-foot-wide lots and mixed uses of buildings would threaten "this graceful and beautiful boulevard," the league said in announcing its list.
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