1938 Fooshee & Cheek home torn down January 12, 2022.
There is a major trend happening in cities all across America, and it is very active here in the Park Cities of Dallas. I have been voicing my outrage on social media for quite some time, but now it is spiraling out of control. Historic homes are meeting the fate of wrecking balls at rapid rates. Beautifully crafted homes prior to 1930 are being wiped out for souless modern white boxes with industrial windows. There, I said it.
The trend was refreshing to many at the time it started appearing in 2018. I could see the appeal of big windows and a wide open floor plan, but I often have a hard time distinguishing the architectural difference between these new homes and that of a dentist office.
Where is the character?
I hate to shame an architectural style, but I think it is very important for the argument of saving these a historic homes. We are knocking down residences that can’t be replicated with plastered walls, carved wood moldings, and enduring stone pavilions- only for a trend to be erected in its place.
Make no mistake, I do not take an issue with new builds. There is wonderful new construction out there, BUT BY ALL MEANS DON’T TEAR DOWN A HISTORIC HOME TO DO IT. There are plenty of architecturally insignificant homes in the Park Cities. Why must we go after the ones that have deep history and are community staples? We are erasing history.
1919 Henry “Hal” B. Thomson home torn down December 8, 2021.
Many people from out of state have recently moved to Dallas. In ten years, it is said that Dallas will pass Chicago as the third largest metropolitan city in the U.S.. With the influx of transplants, there is an upward parallel to the amount of homes being torn down (that can be said for many cities in the south and southeast). They may not know the significance of the architects. I implore local realtors to make buyers aware of the significant architects like a Hal Thomson, Anton Korn, and Fooshee & Cheek. If a teardown is intended, please steer them towards homes that won’t be a heartbreaking loss to the history of the city.
We can’t blame this all on newcomers. The culture of Dallas is also to blame. Face it, we love shiny and new. Restaurants, wives, and construction- there is a tendency to knock it down and start over if it doesn’t fit the current climate. While I ADORE this city I call home, there is a palpable mentality that the grass is greener where it is newer. It is important to remember the grass is greener where you water it. If you are going to knock a home down, you can just as easily restore it to meet your current needs. Preserving a home is a labor of love, but it is worth it.
Preservation Park Cities has been tirelessly fighting for some sort of ordinance to be passed, but the Park Cities are hesitant to put any restrictions into place. It requires overwhelming community support. Full disclosure, I have started running the social media Pro Bono for Preservation Park Cities in the past few months. There is momentum and it is time to act, but road blocks continue to delay efforts.
If the same things are happening in your community, I urge you to get involved with your local preservation organization. Squeaky wheel gets the grease, and it is time to get loud. Spread the word, let’s preserve!
1918 Henry B. Thomson home that is set for demolition.