In a city with a poor track record of preservation, what once seemed unlikely, if not impossible, is now being done. One of Dallas’ oldest homes is saved from the wrecking ball.
The “blue house,” as the Queen Anne Victorian-style mansion had come to be known, was built in the mid-1880s on West Griffin Street, in the Cedars. Located in what was once one of Dallas’ wealthiest neighborhoods and a home for the city’s early Jewish community, the blue house stood as the area industrialized and the construction of I-30 severed the Cedars’ connection to downtown. It stood as a halfway house, and then it stood abandoned as the neighborhood has once again begun revitalizing itself in recent years.
In 2016, Time Warner, now known as Charter Spectrum, announced that it intended to demolish the building to expand a service center, spurring Dallas preservationists to action. After an extended back-and-forth, a solution was reached. The chair of Dallas’ Landmark Commission would buy a nearby lot, at Browder and Beaumont streets. Charter Spectrum would pay to move the house. And developer Mark Martinek would redevelop it.
Moving day is here, although actually hauling all of the house—split into four pieces for its journey—to its new home in the neighborhood will take a couple weeks, according to Preservation Dallas. The craning began this morning after a congratulatory round of well-deserved back-patting and speech-giving. Because seeing very heavy things lifted in the air is always a treat, we have a video of the scene, sent over by Christine Rogers, who is doing public relations for the Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties and, full disclosure, is married to Tim, the editor of D Magazine.