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"Victorian home in The Cedars, built in 1880s, soon to become a Time Warner parking lot" -- Dallas TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 32° 46.391 W 096° 47.649
14S E 706608 N 3628295
Quick Description: Two stories in the Dallas Morning news detail the history, peril, and rescue of one of the last remaining Victorian homes in this reviatlizing part of dallas
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 5/9/2016 12:56:44 PM
Waymark Code: WMR3X4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 45

Long Description:
The home at 1423 Griffin Street, Formerly 1015 Bfrowder Street, saw a lot of history. It was destined to be razed and turned into a parking lot before our hero, DMN reporter Robert Wilonsky, got involved. Now the home will be saved and moved to a new location, and Tine Warmer will still get its parking lot. Win, Win!

From the Dallas Morning News: (visit link)

"Victorian home in The Cedars, built in 1880s, soon to become a Time Warner parking lot"

By Robert Wilonsky
Published: January 9, 2016

It’s among Dallas’ oldest surviving homes — and, given its perch in The Cedars atop R.L. Thornton Freeway opposite the convention center, one of its most visible. But come Monday, the Victorian manse that dates back to at least the 1880s is scheduled to disappear from view.

Late Friday, a demolition company’s bulldozer was parked on its front lawn on Griffin Street West, near the old Plaza Hotel, awaiting the tear-down orders. City records show a demolition permit has not been requested, but a man who answered the phone at Southwest Construction Services Inc. Friday confirmed its imminent demise at the beginning of the week. “That’s the plan,” he said.
It’s a Joni Mitchell song come to life: Time Warner Cable, which owns the home on West Griffin Street and a small building next door, will pave over the house and put up a parking lot. A cable-company worker parked in the street out front Friday around 5 p.m. suggested getting in those last looks now before it comes down.
Emails have been sent to Time Warner media reps, who say they are looking into the matter.

City officials were initially informed of the pending demolition Friday afternoon by Melissa Prycer, president and executive director of nearby Dallas Heritage Village, a sort of preserve for endangered species of historic landmark homes. She found out from Michael Przekwas, former president of the Cedars Neighborhood Association, who sent her a photo of the dozer.

A little after 3 p.m. Friday she sent the photo and an email to Mark Doty, the city’s historic preservation officer and author of Lost Dallas. She wrote, “We just found out that the blue Victorian home on Griffin (very visible from the highway) is about to be torn by Time Warner Cable for a parking lot.” She asked about a permit. She wondered if the city could intervene with its new demolition-delay ordinance for historic downtown structures.
Doty checked to see if a demo permit had been pulled. It had not. He scoured the records for some history, but found little — just a mention of the home at its original address, 1015 Browder, in the hard-to-find 1977 Victorian Architecture and Neighborhood Conservation Study in Dallas, where it was rated in three-star (which is to say, very good) condition.

It certainly should have been in great shape back then. From 1938 until 1981, 1015 Browder was owned by Drexel Estep, who bought it with her husband Ted shortly before he was sent off to fight in World War II.

When the young couple purchased 1015 Browder, the house was one among many that survived from the late 1870s and 1880s, when The Cedars was “the first affluent, ‘silk-stocking’ residential area in Dallas,” according to 1978's essential (and, sadly, in desperately need of updating) Dallas Rediscovered: A Photographic Chronicle of Urban Expansion 1870-1925.

Drexel and Ted saw good times there: On December 30, 1945, The Dallas Morning News welcomed him home from the war in a brief note about dozens of returning veterans. Decades later they were still happy there: On March 20, 1974, The News ran a story about the couple, “Planting Time in Shadow of Skyline.” It was about how their garage-apartment tenant (the “son of a truck farmer”) was helping them grow onions, spinach, okra, cabbage and cucumbers in their garden, which by then had been choked by a 1966 freeway that had cut them off from the city.

A year later, Ted died.

“Police Car Avoids Truck, Kills 65-Year-Old Man,” reads the August 17, 1975, headline. Ted was killed when a cop, dodging an illegally turning truck, knocked him off the Ervay overpass onto Thornton, where he hit a truck and bounced onto the concrete.
Drexel stayed in that house for another six years, some of that time with her second husband. She refused to acknowledge the new address the city had given her longtime home after Thornton severed neighborhood arteries and changed street names. She put a sign in the front yard that said 1015 Browder. Years later, Google Street Map offers proof a similar sign recently existed near the front gate that still stands: “1423 Griffin St. West Formerly 1015 Browder.” It’s now gone.

In early 1981 Drexel put the house on the market. She said she’d had enough of the freeway that sent her to the hospital years after her husband’s death. “You can’t go anywhere around here without getting run over,” she told our Steve Blow in a story about the 67-year-old escaping “battering city life.” She died seven years after moving away.

For years after that the house served as Homeward Bound and a halfway house. It proved to be a precarious perch for a place where people had moved to exorcise their demons. Too close to the Ervay overpass. Some residents jumped.

“Police Car Avoids Truck, Kills 65-Year-Old Man,” reads the August 17, 1975, headline. Ted was killed when a cop, dodging an illegally turning truck, knocked him off the Ervay overpass onto Thornton, where he hit a truck and bounced onto the concrete.

Drexel stayed in that house for another six years, some of that time with her second husband. She refused to acknowledge the new address the city had given her longtime home after Thornton severed neighborhood arteries and changed street names. She put a sign in the front yard that said 1015 Browder. Years later, Google Street Map offers proof a similar sign recently existed near the front gate that still stands: “1423 Griffin St. West Formerly 1015 Browder.” It’s now gone.

In early 1981 Drexel put the house on the market. She said she’d had enough of the freeway that sent her to the hospital years after her husband’s death. “You can’t go anywhere around here without getting run over,” she told our Steve Blow in a story about the 67-year-old escaping “battering city life.” She died seven years after moving away.

For years after that the house served as Homeward Bound and a halfway house. It proved to be a precarious perch for a place where people had moved to exorcise their demons. Too close to the Ervay overpass. Some residents jumped.

The house is stripped, gutted, trashed and open to any trespasser. Steel Reserve cans and discarded flannel shirts are scattered among the ruins of what remains of the main house. The sideyard overflows with refuse, its vintage unclear. It might qualify for official historic designation, which — judging from the bulldozer out front — would have to be done over the owners’ objections. But it’s a long shot.

“Best-case scenario is for it to be moved somewhere else,” says Doty Michael Taft, head of the Archive of Folk Culture at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, once said when discussing another Dallas landmark it’s not wise to make too much of a place. Said Taft, “The significance of any building is what we put into it.”

So, then, before the house becomes another Dallas landmark casually erased, it’s worth noting another one of its owners and longtime residents: Paul Frederick Erb, the longtime head of the Dallas Mercantile Co. and the man who, according to the 1922 Encyclopedia of Texas, “built the first apartments in Dallas.”
History doesn’t say who built 1015 Browder, or for whom, but it’s possible Erb was its first owner: He moved here from Galveston in July 1880 with his new bride Minney Tobey, who brought her parents, Sarah and Nathaniel.

Paul Erb’s doings were chronicled in the June 7, 1883, issue of New York City’s The American Stationer, which called him “one of those shrewd, active, yet withal genial and jovial characters who are wonderfully gifted with tact.” His death was noted in the November 12, 1921, issue of Chicago Packer, which said that “by many he was considered the best dressed man in Dallas,” mostly because of the pink carnation he sported in his lapel.
And now they’re going to tear down Paul Erb and Drexel Estep’s house because Time Warner needs a parking lot.”

It looked like this old house was doomed. But, miraculously, a few days later: (visit link)

"Time Warner will move Victorian home in The Cedars it planned to raze"

By Robert Wolonsky
Published: January 28, 2016 1:47 pm

In a city where history lasts as long as it takes to crank up the bulldozer, this truly is big and breaking news: One of the oldest houses in The Cedars has been granted a stay of execution.

Time Warner Cable, which only weeks ago was preparing to raze the circa-1885 Victorian home overlooking R.L. Thornton Freeway, now says it will pay to move the structure to a nearby location.
“Time Warner Cable has committed to working with preservation leaders to relocate the home,” says a statement company spokesperson Melissa Sorola sent to The Dallas Morning News Thursday. “This plan serves everyone’s interests: The home will be preserved in a new location, and Time Warner Cable can move forward with construction on a new hub that will add capacity and reliability for our downtown customers.”

Just weeks ago the home’s destruction appeared imminent: It had been stripped and gutted, and an excavator was parked on the front lawn at 1438 Griffin Street West ready to smash it out of existence. Time Warner said it needed to demolish the house to expand its tiny hub site that sits next door.

City officials only learned of the scheduled demolition from Melissa Prycer, president and executive director of nearby Dallas Heritage Village, and Michael Przekwas, former president of the Cedars Neighborhood Association. But they couldn’t stop it, as the house — which once had a Browder Street address, and appears to have been built for Max J. Rosenfield in 1885 — wasn’t on official historic registers. The most the city could do was delay the demolition 10 days after a permit had been pulled.

But it never got that far.

Katherine Seale, the former Preservation Dallas executive director who now chairs Dallas’ Landmark Commission, told Time Warner the commission was going to consider initiating historic designation status at its Feb. 1 meeting. If the commission voted to initiate and then designate, the cable and Internet provider would have been stuck with a historic house it didn’t want.

A couple of weeks ago, Time Warner began talking with Seale and other preservationists about moving and saving the house.
“And I’m pretty sure they they would characterize those talks as cooperative, productive and very positive,” said Sorola in an interview.

“Definitely,” said Seale. “This is a new way forward for historic preservation in Dallas … This is a solutions-based approach where we recognize the importance of business andpreservation and don’t have to choose one over the other. Preservation doesn’t have to be strictly enforcement, and progress doesn’t mean taking out a historic building.”

Seale said the house will be moved to a nearby lot where it will be a “perfect fit.” The developer hasn’t been identified yet but will have to speak at the Landmark Commission meeting on Monday, said Seale, so that identity won’t be secret for long.

In anticipation of Monday’s Landmark Commission meeting, architectural historian and conservator Nicky DeFreece Emery prepared a lengthy history of the home.

Emery wrote that the house “has come to symbolize steadfast determination in the face of change as it has survived through the decline of the Cedars neighborhood, I-30 cutting through the area, and now the current efforts to revitalize the Cedars.” And she, like other local historians, believes the house was originally built by the father of John Rosenfield, The Dallas Morning News‘ first-ever amusements editor, before it wound up in the hands of other owners, including Paul Erb, the longtime head of the Dallas Mercantile Co. and the man who, according to the 1922 Encyclopedia of Texas, “built the first apartments in Dallas.”

Said Emery, the house serves as “a reminder of what began as one of Dallas’s first ‘Streetcar Suburbs,’ and continued as one of the city’s first neighborhoods that middle- and upper-class Jewish families called home. The house holds a visually prominent perch over I-30 and has captured the attention and wonder of not only neighbors, but daily commuters. The location is the ‘gateway’ into the Cedars neighborhood; its loss would be a step backward not only for the revitalization of the Cedars, but for the preservation of historic buildings in Dallas — something the last year of struggle and success has made citizens of Dallas keenly aware.”
Type of publication: Newspaper

When was the article reported?: 1/9/2016

Publication: Dallas Morning News

Article Url: [Web Link]

Is Registration Required?: no

How widespread was the article reported?: regional

News Category: Arts/Culture

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