In August of 2023, preservationists and neighbors gathered to say goodbye to a historically significant 94-year-old home on Fairfax Avenue in Highland Park. Homemade signs dotted the affluent stretch of the Park Cities with pleas to “Preserve Our Street,” “Save This House,” and “Keep the Trees.”
The home wasn’t a showstopper (its original architect was unknown at the time of demolition), but it had character and suited its lot. It also marked the latest example of a worrying trend that’s seen swaths of stately homes replaced with “Transitional Moderns” in the Park Cities, a town that has no ordinances or landmark protection for architecture — no matter how significant. Or as the Dallas Morning News’ architecture critic Mark Lamster put it bluntly last year, “To drive through the Park Cities is to see countless houses in this [“Transitional Modern”] idiom, identifiable by whitewashed walls and black-painted shutters, as if yanked from a Pottery Barn catalog.”
The demolition was extensively covered on Instagram by Preservation Park Cities. The advocacy group, which works to protect and celebrate historic and architecturally significant homes in Highland Park and University Park, is continuing its efforts to propose new ordinances with the town, but there have been few substantial wins so far. (The new brass plaques are quite nice though.)
So for now, the power ultimately lies with a potential buyer. And with three historically significant homes in the Park Cities on the market now, that potential is currently threefold.
An Early Howard Meyer Treasure on Bourdeaux
4504 Bordeaux Avenue
Designed by Howard Meyer, recognized as the first international modernist architect in Dallas, 4504 Bordeaux was one of the earliest works in the architect’s decades-long career in the city. Meyer would go on to design some of the most prominent modern homes in Dallas, from 5381 Nakoma in Greenway Parks to the luxury high-rise 3525 Turtle Creek. Sadly, the late-1930s home, a vision wrapped in casement windows, is one of the last of Meyer’s designs still standing in Highland Park.
Details: $2.25 Million | 2,884 Square Feet | 3 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms
A Crown Jewel in University Park
One of University Park's most iconic homes.
A plaque represents landmark status in the Park Cities.
A unique Dilbeck kitchen with black soapstone counters and an oversized brick fireplace.
A barrel-shaped wet bar defines one of the living areas.
3819 McFarlin Boulevard
Homes by the late great Charles Dilbeck, no matter palatial or quaint, are always imbued with character. But 3819 McFarlin, located on a prominent stretch of University Park, features Dilbeck at his best (his Dilbeckiest, if you will). One of the lauded Texas architect’s first ranch-style homes, the sprawling, hacienda-style dwelling features a gorgeous mix of handcrafted materials, troweled walls, iron light fixtures, and heavily detailed accents. The impeccably maintained 3819 McFarlin is also home to, objectively, one of the very best kitchens in the city.
Details: $3.75 Million | 4,808 Square Feet | 4 Bedrooms | 4 Bathrooms
A Rare Work From a Texas Modern Master
3909 Euclid Avenue is one of the last remaining works from Texas Modernist Scott Wells Lyons.
Exquisite materials were used throughout the mid-century home.
Mature trees and sunny courtyards are a focal point at 3909 Euclid.
3909 Euclid Avenue
This unique mid-century home is one of the rare remaining designs by Scott Wells Lyons, a Dallas architect known for refining the Texas Modern style. Elegant simplicity was Lyons’ signature, but the detail and materials he applied to execute those clean, modern lines were truly exquisite. Those more discreet elements may contribute to the home’s relatively high price tag — hopefully, a future buyer recognizes the value of the distinctive property as a whole.
Details: $6.2 Million | 3,737 Square Feet | 5 Bedrooms | 4.1 Bathrooms
Recently Acquired Historic Homes
4200 Windsor Parkway is a 1920s gem by Fonzie Robertson.
The kitchen at 4200 Windsor Parkway.
The pool at 4200 Windsor Parkway.
4408 Westway Avenue
4408 Westway Avenue.
Recently Sold or Pending Historically Significant Homes in the Park Cities
This summer saw a slew of houses with coveted slots on Preservation Park Cities’ most historically significant homes list hit the market, including these recently snapped up beauties: 4200 Windsor Parkway (a 1920s gem by Fonzie Robertson) and 4408 Westway Avenue, a stately Highland Park Tudor snapped up in less than a month.