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Park Cities Showcases Beautiful Examples of When Historic Preservation Wins Out

A Sneak Peek at the Architectural Treasures You'll Find on a Dallas Home Tour

BY // 02.26.20
photography Danny Piassick

In addition to extravagant estates, Dallas’ Park Cities neighborhood is also home to some of the city’s best examples of historic preservation. On April 18, you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with four architecturally significant examples, including a Hal Thomson treasure and a rare reason to visit to one of Dallas’ most exclusive enclaves, thanks to the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society.

Here are the four historic homes you’ll see on the self-guided tour:

4412_Lakeside_April_And_Jeffrey_Manson_2 (Photo by Danny Piassick)
The Manson Home is located at 4412 Lakeside Drive in the Park Cities. (Photo by Danny Piassick)

The Manson Home

At 103 years old, this Hal Thomson gem is the oldest tour stop. Thankfully, the Italian Renaissance-style home has been beautifully preserved thanks to its owners, April and Jeffrey Manson, who helped ensure the Roman arch windows and a balustrade-lined terrace have remained in top form. The owners also made 2018 updates to restore the interior Venetian plaster, fireplaces, and elaborate gates.

Inside, modern touches mix with internationally-sourced antiques. A large painting by famous New Orleans pop artist Ashley Longshore greets visits in the entryway while a work by graffiti artist Alex Monopoly hangs in the library. Other ighlights include elegant French Bergere chairs, a Chinese coffee table, a custom silk rug, and (housed in a sunny parlor) an antique swan boat from France.

Currently home to a family of twelve, the dining room is understandably spacious, with gorgeous touches like a multicolored Murano glass fruit crystal chandelier, a striking box beamed ceiling, and plenty of windows. Make sure to step outside, where a wall of fountains lines the backyard, complete with a glittering pool and bocce ball court.

 

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The Ogden home was built in 1921 and renovated in 2019. (Photo by Danny Piassick)

The Ogden Home

Located at 3400 Drexel Drive, this rare representation of asymmetrical Italian Renaissance architecture was originally constructed in 1921. Kathryn and Jimmy Ogden purchased the home in 2011 and completed its renovation last year, modeling the entry around a classic center hall floor plan—the elegant space boasts 10-foot ceilings, a 1970s Italian light fixture, a French alabaster fireplace mantel, a large gold leaf mirror, and a petite Chinoiserie secretary. Two sets of cased openings lead into a former sleeping porch area that now serves as an office and dining room.

Additional highlights include a large den and solarium inspired by the couple’s time living in Paris and London, the dining room’s painted grasscloth walls and the Ogden’s collection of Pochoir prints, and a French bistro-inspired breakfast area.

3429_Drexel_Owsley_2 (Photo by Danny Piassick)
A Walter William Whitley home, The Owsley family renovated the Park Cities property in 2019. (Photo by Danny Piassick)

The Owsley Home

Built in 1924 by prominent local builder Walter William Whitley, 3429 Drexel Drive once fell into disrepair after years of neglect. Fortunately, it came to the attention of the Owsleys, who completed a full interior and exterior renovation of the Park Cities home in 2019.

The Owsleys honored the original footprint of the home— only the master bath was reconfigured with a lighter color palette and original quarter sawn white oak floors. Traditional touches include a Bavarian armoire, burled wood secretary, and traditional cuckoo clock in the living room, and a Victoria and Albert soaking tub in the master suite.

7000_Vassar_Betsy_And_James_Sowell_2 (Photo by Danny Piassick)
James and Betsy Sowell own the former Volk Family Estate. (Photo by Danny Piassick)

The Sowell Home

Located at 7000 Vassar Avenue, The Sowell Home was The Dallas Morning Newspick for “Best Modern House” in 1940. Situated in what became known as Volk Estates, the home was designed by architect Gayden Thompson and builder C.B. Christensen for the Volk Family.

Exterior highlights include four Roman Tuscan columns with Doric capitals. Contemporary art rules the entryway—a large canvas by Ellsworth Kelley, one of Willem de Kooning’s abstract paintings, and an early Jackson Pollock all claim space along the entry walls. American artist Joan Mitchell also makes an appearance with a canvas that lines the dining room wall.

Tickets for the home tour, which takes place from 10 am to 3 pm on April 18, can be purchased for $20 in advance (at Tom Thumb stores in the Park Cities area beginning March 15) or $25 at any of the homes on the day of the event.

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