Lost & Found Dallas
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Lost & Found Dallas: Revisiting the 'Endangered' List
In 2004, Preservation Dallas announced its first Endangered Places list in an effort to stem the loss of historic buildings and places to demolition, neglect, or abandonment. Historic resources are irreplaceable community assets that tell the story of the city’s development. Though this program, which ran for several years, many places were saved, some were lost, and others still await redevelopment. Here are just a few on previous Endangered Places lists and their current status.
Old Dallas High/Norman Crozier Technological High School - Downtown
The 1907 and 1911 Dallas High School buildings, designed by the architectural firm of Lang & Witchell, are the earliest remaining 20th century school buildings in Dallas. Facing demolition, Preservation Dallas, high school alumni, and other supporters went to work to advocate for City of Dallas Landmark status. Designation was granted in 2000 and demolition was prevented, however, the owner contested the designation all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. They denied hearing the appeal, thus upholding the city’s designation authority. While the building is legally protected from the wrecking ball, it sits vacant and languishing with no plans for redevelopment.
Photo by Wade Griffith
Kip’s Big Boy Restaurant - Hillcrest and Northwest Highway
Better known as EZ’s, the 1964 Kip’s Big Boy was demolished in 2005 despite pleas to the owners to consider alternatives. Armet & Davis Architects of Southern California designed the building in the “Googie” style for an early Dallas restaurateur, Fred Bell. The popular restaurant maintained its vintage interior and classic architecture from the post-war years that characterized new businesses in Dallas. Whether from the recent past or the common roadside, buildings like Kip’s Big Boy are part of our cultural heritage and should live to tell that story for future generations.
Photo courtesy of Preservation Dallas
Statler Hilton Hotel – Downtown
Designed by William Tabler of New York, the Statler Hilton Hotel opened in 1956 and received national attention for its construction and Y-shaped plan. The 1,001-room hotel featured many hotel firsts including elevator music, custom 21-inch televisions in every room, and room controlled heating and cooling. The cantilevered design featured a curtain wall of porcelain-coated metal panels, glass, and exposed piping for the HVAC system. In the planning phase for Main Street Garden the building was targeted for demolition due to needed land and the hotel’s vacancy. Preservation Texas and the National Trust for Historic Preservation helped to call attention to the importance of the building and the city eventually backed off from demolition. After sitting vacant for a number of years, the building is now being rehabilitated for apartments, hotel, and retail uses.
6015 Bryan Parkway - Swiss Avenue Historic District
The circa 1915 house on Bryan Parkway is an unusual Craftsman design that completes a virtually intact block face in the Swiss Avenue Historic District. The house was approved for demolition in 2004 by the City Plan Commission after it overturned the Dallas Landmark Commission, which denied the demolition request. Preservation Dallas obtained an injunction to stop the demolition. Eventually it was sold to Preservation Dallas which then restored and sold the house to a new owner. Thankfully, the first requested demolition of a principal building in the Swiss Avenue Historic District, the city’s oldest district, was avoided.
Before and After; Photos by Steve Clique
Knights of Pythias - Deep Ellum
Deep Ellum’s most significant historic building is the Knights of Pythias, also known as the Union Bankers Building. Designed in 1916 by William Sidney Pittman, Dallas’ first African-American architect, the Knights of Pythias was an important social and commercial center for the African American community in Dallas. It was converted to an office building by the Union Bankers Insurance Company in 1959 and became a City of Dallas Landmark in 1989. Even though it has landmark status, the building has been vacant for many years. This architecturally and culturally significant landmark for Dallas is in need of someone to put it back into use.
Photo courtesy of Preservation Dallas
David Preziosi is the executive director of Preservation Dallas.