Dallas in “The Western Architect,” 1914: Park Cities Residences
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
The magazine/journal The Western Architect devoted an entire issue in 1914 to then-recently completed architectural achievements in Dallas. It’s an incredible collection of photos, most of which I’d never seen. I will be devoting an entire week to these photos.
First up, notable residences, part one. These eight homes were built in Highland Park and University Park, both of which were beyond Dallas’ city limits at the time. All appear to have been built between 1911 and 1913. One is still standing (…possibly). (All photos are larger when clicked.)
Residence 1: (above) the eye-wateringly beautiful HARRY L. EDWARDS estate, 4500 PRESTON ROAD, designed by architect C. D. Hill & Co., whose stunning Dallas Municipal Building/City Hall was under construction when this issue of The Western Architect was published. Edwards was a Welsh-born cotton tycoon who had been in Dallas since about 1899 and was said to have been the largest cotton buyer in the Southwest. And that was saying a lot — when cotton was king, money was no object, and Edwards spent a lot of money in the construction of his sprawling 6-acre estate. The house was perhaps most famously owned in later years by the late real estate mogul Trammel Crow, who purchased it in the early 1960s. If it looks vaguely familiar, you might have seen news footage of its recent demolition. …Um, yeah. (See the architect’s rendering and description of the not-yet-built “handsome residence” of H. L. Edwards, the “Prince of Cotton,” in a November, 1911 Dallas Morning News blurb, here.) (See this property on a 1921 Sanborn map, here — it is the second property north of Armstrong, just below the Highland Park Pumping Station. Note that these maps were issued a decade or so after most of the homes in this post were built — back then there were considerably fewer homes in Highland Park.)
Residence 2: the somewhat less dazzling Highland Park home of JOHN B. HEREFORD, 3832 BEVERLY DRIVE, designed by Hubbell & Greene. Hereford was in insurance, and the house cost $15,000 to build (about $400,000 in today’s money). I’m a fan of what I hope is a doghouse, even though its roofline should really match that of the house and garage. (See it on the 1921 Sanborn map, here.)
Residence 3: the lovely home of real estate man WILLIAM A. DYCKMAN, 3705 GILLON, also designed by Hubbell & Greene (and also costing $15,000). The children in the yard is a nice touch. Now demolished, it looked like this within living memory. (See it at the top, far right of a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)
Residence 4: the simple-yet-stately home of FRANK C. CALLIER, JR., 4008 GILLON, designed by H. B. (Hal) Thomson. Callier was the son of the founder of the Trinity Cotton Oil Co. and the brother-in-law of Lena Callier, whose endowment helped fund what later became the Callier Hearing and Speech Center. This is the only house in this group which may still stand. I’m not sure if the listing is current, but the house shows up on several real estate sites as being for sale as a “tear-down.” (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)
Residence 5: another attractive but minimally adorned house in Highland Park, built for Butler Bros. general manager ANTHONY M. MATSON at 3715 MIRAMAR, designed by Harre M. Bernet. Here we see a view of both the front and the back. (It should be on this 1921 Sanborn map, but I can’t find this address!) (UPDATE: The street numbering appears to have changed at some point — the address of this house in the 1918 Dallas city directory was 3715 Miramar but had changed to 3727 Miramar in the 1919 directory.)
Residence 6: a house designed for bridge-builder FRANK E. AUSTIN, 4015 BEVERLY DRIVE, by architect Hal Thomson. It’s not terribly sexy, but the Dallas News dubbed it an “Example of Civic Attractiveness,” in November, 1913. Seems like the house is in dire need of a veranda (or at least a larger porch) to accommodate all that furniture. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)
Residence 7: the house of civic and business leader CLARENCE LINZ, 4419 HIGHLAND DRIVE, beautifully designed by Lang & Witchell. This is the house of my dreams. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)
Residence 8: an oddball structure built by gravel man RHEA MILLER in rugged and mostly undeveloped University Park at 6221 PRESTON ROAD (which later became 6421, at the southwest corner of Preston and University), designed by architect Ernest E. McAnelly (Miller’s brother-in-law, who died suddenly in 1916 at the age of 33). It was made of concrete, and it almost seems to have been built to prove to people that, yes, you, too, can have a great big house made out of concrete. Or it might have been a tax write-off, seeing as it was featured in a 1914 ad for the company Miller worked for, the J. Fred Smith Gravel Co., under the caption, “A concrete residence on Preston Road, near Dallas, made from our pit-run gravel. The walls were made of four sacks of cement to one cubic yard of pit-run gravel. The floors are one to five.” The grainy photo from the ad is here. This out-in-the-boonies house didn’t have an actual address for years — it was just simply “Preston Road, south of University.” I have no idea when it was torn down, but that must have taken considerable more effort than the usual residential demolition. A classified ad from 1931 read, “Eight rooms, concrete home, 6221 Preston Road. On bus line. Fireproof.” It’s hulking and, well, hulking, but … it’s kind of interesting. The longer I look at it, the more it grows on me. Not only was this fortress fireproof, but once sequestered inside, you were pretty much safe from enemy attack or almost any natural disaster — except maybe a sinkhole or quicksand. Pit-run gravel never looked so inviting.
I’m fascinated by the concrete house and have been trying to determine exactly where it was and when it was demolished. For many years its address was 6221 Preston Road, but the address seems to have changed to become 6421 Preston sometime between 1939 and 1941. William H. Lohman owned a house at that address (probably still the same concrete house?) between about 1933 and 1956 when whatever house was there at the time was torn down to build the Presley Apartments (which were themselves torn down in 2007 in order to make way for the next-door Church of Christ expansion). That block of Preston — the southwest corner of Preston and University — is now home to the Preston Road Church of Christ. The only online Sanborn map I’ve been able to find with the house on it is from a 1952 update (Vol. 7, sheet 728), but it is illegible. The house sits on a very large lot. Below is detail of that map (click to see a larger, but still impossible to read, image):
I would love more information about this concrete house!
UPDATE, 11/7/22: I’m adding two photos related to this house. The first is a circa-1931 photo showing the concrete house with some cute little awnings, slowly being enveloped by foliage; the second shows what replaced it — the Presley Apartments, seen in a circa-1956 photo. Both photos are from the “Brown Books” at the University Park Library. (I can’t get links to work, but I wrote about this incredible resource here.)
Next: eight more fabulous homes, in Munger Place and Old East Dallas, South Dallas, Oak Cliff, and a cool, still-standing apartment house on Routh Street. Amazingly, six out of the eight are still alive and kicking. That post is here.
Sources & Notes
The Western Architect, A National Journal of Architecture and Allied Arts, Published Monthly, July, 1914. This issue, with text and critical analysis in addition to the large number of photographs, has been scanned in it entirety by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as part of its Brittle Books Program — it can be accessed in a PDF, here (the Dallas issue begins on page 195 of the PDF). Thank you, UIUC!
In this 7-part series:
- “Dallas in ‘The Western Architect,’ 1914: Park Cities Residences”
- “Dallas in ‘The Western Architect,’ 1914: Residences of East Dallas, South Dallas, and More”
- “Dallas in ‘The Western Architect,’ 1914: Skyscrapers and Other Sources of Civic Pride”
- “Dallas in ‘The Western Architect,’ 1914: Businesses”
- “Dallas in ‘The Western Architect,’ 1914: The Adolphus Hotel”
- “Dallas in ‘The Western Architect,’ 1914: Leisure, Etc.”
- “Dallas in ‘The Western Architect,’ 1914: City Buildings and Churches”
Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.