Preston Elms: Your Country Estate Awaits — 1935
by Paula Bosse
Preston Elms home designed by Charles Dilbeck, 1935
by Paula Bosse
This beautiful home, designed by the wonderful architect Charles Stevens Dilbeck, was featured in an ad touting an exclusive new “country estate” development called Preston Elms, located at Preston Road and Walnut Hill Lane. From the text of the ad:
The home pictured above will be erected immediately in a new tract set aside for a Demonstration Home. It will have three bedrooms, large dining room and living room. Terrace porch on south and east will be 32 feet long and can be reached from dining room, living room or hall. Two baths — most modern type! Extraordinary hardware! …
The backyard will be walled in assuring privacy to servants and parked automobiles. …
All the details of the house and location have been studied and planned for months. …
The Better Homes of America are gradually drifting away from the urban abode of restricted activity to the freedom, comfort, seclusion and the individuality of the COUNTRY ESTATE.
A later ad would include this grabber of a line: “In the heart of Preston Road District, All City Conveniences, Minus City Taxes.”
Tracts ranging from one-half to two acres would start at $1,700. The house pictured above would cost $12,500. (I would kill for that house, but I fear it has long since been torn down as being too teensy for the neighborhood.)
“Preston Elms” (along with Preston Downs, Preston Hollow, Preston Highlands, Preston Heights, Inwood Road Addition, Sunnybrook, and El Parado) were the subdivisions in the so-called “Preston Road District,” an area of some 1,200 acres north of Northwest Highway. When this area was being developed (by savvy speculator Ira P. DeLoache), it was not within the Dallas city limits. In 1939, after a failed attempt at some sort of merging with University Park, the residents voted to incorporate, and the somewhat sparsely-populated area became the “city” of Preston Hollow. With a mayor and everything.
But back to that house. God, I love that house. As I said, I bet that sucker was elbowed out long ago. If it’s still there, I’d love to know.
A photo of the man responsible for developing most of the Preston Road District, Ira P. DeLoache, namesake of one of the area’s streets.
Sources & Notes
The Dilbeck drawing at the top is from a half-page real estate ad, here.
Photo of Ira P. DeLoache from the Fall, 2002 issue of Legacies.
Examples of Dilbeck’s beautiful houses (several of which are in Preston Hollow) can be seen here.
Background on Preston Hollow and its road to incorporation can be read about in the Dallas Morning News article “Preston Road Incorporation Plan Climaxes Weeds to Orchids Development,” (DMN, Sept. 24, 1939).
For an aerial view of what would become Preston Hollow, check out a mostly empty 1930 vista (from SMU’s Edwin J. Foscue Library), here. Development, here we come!
Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.
here is a map of Preston Hollow
Thanks, Peter. Here’s a confusing excerpt from an article in the DMN in the days leading up to the vote on whether to incorporate:
“The new town will probably be called Preston Hollow, Mr. DeLoache said. […]
“The proposed boundaries are Inwood Road to Northwest Highway, to Bluff View via the Cotton Belt Railroad tracks to a point 1,200 feet south of the Northwest Highway, to a point on Walnut Hill Lane to Inwood Road and back to the starting point.” (DMN, Sept. 21, 1939)
I think the map accurately lays out what DeLoache was describing
Actually, the home was still standing as late as three years ago. (I attended a party there.) The covered patio on the east had been enclosed to make a family room; the south terrace porch was extended to run outside the new family room. Several years ago the owners built a taller-than-me fence along Walnut Hill and the landscaping is very full, so you don’t see much of the house from the street anymore.
The inside of the house still has that 1930s look and feel to it (in a very nice and very expensive way)
Wow! I’m so happy to know it’s still standing! I actually drove past there yesterday hoping I might be able to see it, but unfortunately, it was rush hour, and I wasn’t able to gawk — but it sounds like I wouldn’t have been able to see much anyway. This may be my favorite period of residential architecture, and I’m so happy this beautiful house is still around. Thanks for letting me know!
@RWilliams do you by chance remember the address? I am trying to track down all the standing Dilbecks in Preston Hollow for a project.
here is more information about the house
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