Marcus House to Be Torn Down, Maybe

Big Bob has been all over this at Unfair Park, but in case you missed it, Mark and Patricia Lovvorn have applied for a demolition permit with the Texas Historic Commission, declaring their intent to tear down 10 Nonesuch Road, better known as the home of Stanley Marcus for about 60 years, and host to everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt to Lady Bird Johnson to Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin (to name just a few). The Lovvorns’ reason for wanting to raze the site and rebuilding? “Energy inefficiency.” The weird thing in all of this: the Lovvorns were apparently the ones to initiate historic designation proceedings back in 1999.

UPDATE: Guess who else is all over this? And guess where I should have looked before posting this? That’s right, Candy over at DallasDirt.


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15 responses to “Marcus House to Be Torn Down, Maybe”


  2. Rawlins in Blunderland says:

    The Lovvorns have decided to go ‘green’. As in dollars?

    This one is under the Dallas Cares radar at this time because it isn’t relevant to most who live here, many who have no historic investment therein. Still, all my life here I have seen things integral to Dallas’ DNA and/or past raised. Only to live long enough to hear it agreed by one and all that once again, Dallas erased its past to its detriment.

    In this case I don’t disagree that the owners should be able to have options. But this is a misuse of a landmark and a lost cause ultimately that might mean a great deal down the road.

    Best examples; Two of the ugliest streets in Dallas were once it’s most magnificent when my family moved here; Maple and Ross…. laden with mansions on a gilded age scale.

  3. Zac you are the best – -thanks!

  4. I would like to go on record as someone willing to help the Lovvorns make the home not only energy efficient, but even possibly green.

    There are lots of resources and shelter magazines that would jump at the chance to show how to take a home with that history and show how you can keep the character and make the home more efficient.

  5. A.Stewert says:

    Yeah Mark Lovvorn also was in Bye Bye Birdie 1971 at Woodrow Wilson I think…big deal…his parents have one heck of place near The Hunt Mansion at White Rock Lake…gonna tear that down too?

  6. A.Stewert says:

    Oh yeah I love that street and I love giving out of town friends and family a tour of the neighborhood i dearly love and to tear that home down is a low down dirty shame.

  7. A.Stewert says:

    Richard says:
    When my father sold his home he was well aware that the purchaser would subdivide the property for additional homes. I suspect he was also aware that the new homes would be considerably different in style to the one that he and my mother built in 1936. He probably suspected that the new owners might replace the existing house in time.

    Growing up in this home my sisters and I were aware that we lived in a “very modern” house – at least that is what our friends’ parents would tell us. Some were suspicious that it represented a style slightly “un-American.

    At a certain age we understood that the home built by our parents was, in terms of Dallas architecture, different and, in the eyes of many visitors, something special.

    But, what truly made it special was what occurred inside: tea with Eleanor Roosevelt, the steady stream of the world’s foremost fashion and product designers, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis for a late supper after appearing at the State Fair Music Hall, exchange students from all over the world, lunch with Lady Bird Johnson, Murrow’s Boys from CBS News: Daniel Schorr, David Schoenbrun, Marvin Kalb, Winston Burdett and Eric Sevareid for a late night visit….. and many, many others.

    What happened inside shaped our family’s understanding of the world around us and, in some small way, influenced what happened in Dallas as a whole.

    Perhaps the current owners are unaware of the spirits, voices and ideas that inhabit their home. Perhaps they will find ways to solve the energy inefficiency and enjoy the true energy of their home.

    Posted at: August 12, 2008 8:57 AM

  8. amanda says:

    Well, I generally side with property rights, but this cuts very close to home for me.

    If you buy a home with historical/community significance, in a sense it never really “belongs” to you. My column in D Home is all about the insanity of updating a crumbling formerly grand home. I do understand the owner’s position, but they knew the history of the house.
    I wondered if the “going green” fad (and it is a fad, like hula hoops and the VW Thing), was going to justify demolishing older homes/buildings.

  9. Daniel says:

    That’s the thing about cities — they’re a shared environment, not a mere patchwork of contiguous private parcels, and certain structures do carry an obligation of stewardship. Hard to fault property owners for maximizing their bottom line when they’re not breaking any laws, but really, the Lovvorns should have moved to Southlake.

  10. LakeWWWooder says:

    Stewert – you are very close, Mark portrayed Conrad Birdie in the 1972 production, the 15th of the 51 (so far) annual Woodrow musicals. Laurie Lovvorn was a star of “Anything Goes” in 1980. Mark was also in the news recently for saving a girl’s life in flooding at Turtle Creek.

    His role in “Birdie” is still talked about – so I’m hoping his deep roots in our community will play a role in his decision on One Nonesuch. I know he has lived in the home for many years. So what business is it of mine? Well I have lived in three historic homes so I know all about the challenges and rewards. Most people around here have done so. We should all respect his decision but that can’t stop us from trying to persuade him to keep Roscoe DeWitt’s creation intact.

    Mr. Marcus, his brother Lawrence (vice-president of the Woodrow class of 1934) and their ancestors (who lived on Swiss Ave. and Westlake Ave.) have been a large part of Lakewood. My best friend since kindergarten was Mr. Stanley’s paperboy (Times Herald). As kids we would take the bus downtown to Neiman’s Zodiac Room, treasuring the usual greeting from “Mr. Stanley”.

    When we lose landmarks it hurts us even more here in the birthplace of Dallas historic preservation.

    I took an Art History class at SMU with the estimable Alessandra Comini a few years ago. She flashed a slide of the old Dr Pepper plant on Mockingbird on the screen and asked if anyone remembered it.

    About three hands went up.

    A building which bound all proud natives of Dallas together no longer exists. So what we do now affects our ties with the next generation.

  11. Andrew Laska says:

    I was reading a book on Texas architecture the other day. (What else is new?) This house was mentioned.

    One funny thing they mentioned in the book was that Marcus originally went to Frank Lloyd Wright. Now if you know anything about Wright you know that when you got him to design your house you had to buy into the lifestyle he envisioned for you in the house. and you had to put up with the certainty of the project going way over budget.

    Anyway, according to the author Wright presented Marcus with an idea for a house with no bedrooms. He wanted the family to sleep in screened, covered porches. Marcus and family, obviously, went a different direction and there we have that house.

  12. A.Stewert says:

    WWWooder, Bravo…I still live in the neighborhood i grew up in and am Proud to Be A WILDCAT!!! Oh and let’s not forget Linda Lovvorn…

  13. A.Stewert says:

    Roscoe DeWitt? Is he the same Dewitt that lived on Malcolm or the one that lived near the fish hatchery?

  14. Jenny says:

    Interesting article. I found some more information here