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Homes of the Park Cities: Dallas, Texas
     

Homes of the Park Cities: Dallas, Texas

by Virginia Savage McAlester, Willis Ceci Winters, Prudence MacKintosh, Steve Clicque (Photographer)
 

A beautiful and comprehensive chronicle of two of America’s earliest and most luxurious suburbs: Highland Park and University Park, Texas, featuring over 300 full–color photographs.

Dallas local Virginia McAlester, author of A Field Guide to American Houses, the classic book on the subject, and Abbeville’s celebrated Great

Overview

A beautiful and comprehensive chronicle of two of America’s earliest and most luxurious suburbs: Highland Park and University Park, Texas, featuring over 300 full–color photographs.

Dallas local Virginia McAlester, author of A Field Guide to American Houses, the classic book on the subject, and Abbeville’s celebrated Great American Houses and Their Architectural Styles, teamed up with Prudence Mackintosh and Willis Cecil Winters to write Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas. This impressive and informative case study immerses readers into the architecture and culture, both past and present, of these classy neighborhoods.

Illustrated with over 280 specially commissioned photographs, in addition to over 75 maps, graphs, and archival images, this insightful work covers the history and development of Dallas’s suburbs, as well as the architects who designed them. Homes also features several appendices, providing notes on how to preserve early–twentieth century homes and a catalogue listing over 1,600 homes by address and architect. McAlester authored an additional appendix that illustrates the architectural styles found in The Park Cities, which run the gamut from Tudor and Colonial Revival to Minimal Traditional and Mid–Century Modern.

As grand as the houses it chronicles, Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas will fascinate architects, historians, suburbanites, and would–be suburbanites alike.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas:

For anyone clinging to the stereotype that the Park Cities are a monolith of European–derived design, Virginia McAlester gladly gives you an eye–opening visual tour of these historic hoods. As co–author of Great American Suburbs: The Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas, McAlester scoured blueprints and archives in order to profile some 300 houses, which were sumptuously photographed by Stephen Clicque. — Modern Luxury Dallas: Interiors

This exhaustive, lively study of the Park Cities is a labor of love from three Dallas–area authors…this volume's heft and enthusiastic documentation of street after street will go a long way toward reassuring new buyers that their property dollars can be safely invested in the leafy Park Cities, defended by such staunch preservationists. — Period Homes magazine

A volume with intellectual weight that matches its physical heft…beautifully designed and produced. — Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789209764
Publisher:
Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/21/2008
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
1,340,955
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas

Great American Suburbs


By Virginia Savage McAlester, Willis Ceci Winters, Prudence MacKintosh, Steve Clicque

Abbeville Press

Copyright © 2008 Virginia Savage McAlester
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7892-0976-4


Excerpt from: Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas
Part 1

This is the story of how thousands of acres of Texas blackland prairie were transformed into two early–twentieth–century suburbs. Located approximately four miles from downtown Dallas, the area had one grand natural asset, Turtle Creek, which with many multiple branches and small feeder creeks wandered through the site and made its way to the Trinity River.

The first suburb, Highland Park, was purchased as a whole in 1889 by Colonel Henry Exall and a group of Philadelphia investors for development as a railroad suburb. After this dream was dashed by the Panic of 1893, John Armstrong purchased the entire tract in 1906. Armstrong’s intention was to create the “Residence Show Ground of Texas,” as was announced in Highland Park’s first Dallas Morning News advertisement, on April 21, 1907. Although he was the owner of a wholesale grocery business and meatpacking company, Armstrong had briefly been part of an enormous effort to create a new community in Oak Cliff and had long observed land development practices. His vision of community building was to create long–term quality and value. He passed this farsighted vision to his two daughters, Minnie Mae and Johnetta, and their husbands, Edgar L. Flippen and Hugh E. Prather, who had formed the Flippen–Prather Realty Company. Despite Armstrong’s untimely death in 1908, his family implemented his dream over a period of almost forty years.

The slightly later suburb, University Park, was developed as most American communities have been, under the aegis of a number of owners and multiple developers and with much of the planning coming from the municipality rather than the developer. Together Highland Park and University Park offer an overview of the type of suburban development practices that built America’s early–twentieth-century neighborhoods. This era of neighborhood is today being rediscovered for its livability and is being emulated by new developments. They are often under siege themselves, with ever–larger homes being squeezed onto their desirably located lots.

Few things affect us more directly and more regularly than the built environment. It is easy to understand and to affect the domestic realm of a house. But when the scale moves to that of the neighborhood, the subject seems more esoteric. Planning and development are the forces that take vacant land and turn it into neighborhoods. Through the efforts of a developer or a municipality, a natural environment became something that would shape people’s lives for decades, if not centuries. Decisions such as how wide to make the streets, how long blocks should be, where to set electric poles, whether there will be sidewalks, where to situate the entrances to garages, and whether there will be cul–de–sacs all affect how a neighborhood feels and functions. So does the amount of green space, determined by factors like how far the houses are set back from the street, whether front lawns are open or fenced, and the amount of parkland. If there is a stream, will it have a park alongside it, or will it even exist above ground as a watercourse, or be sent underground into a culvert? Once these kinds of decisions are made and carried out, then how are they protected from future encroachments?

It wasn’t until c. 1900 that planning for new neighborhoods and towns began to be practiced in earnest in the United States. There had been a few well–publicized and innovative early plans (Savannah, Georgia, with its town squares, and Olmsted’s plan for Riverside, Illinois, are examples), but this was not the norm. Not only were these towns unplanned, but also construction within them was in no way regulated.

Controlling residential neighborhoods was a step made necessary by the Industrial Revolution. New modes of transportation, new industrial uses, and new building techniques that could produce ever–larger buildings all worked together to dramatically impact the ways that people had built and lived in cities and towns. Because a home was often the largest investment that a family would ever make, the protection of that investment from unpleasant adjacent uses was crucial. Traffic, sounds, odors, nighttime activity, parking lots, train tracks, factories, and such did not make desirable neighbors. As these uses multiplied, their detrimental effects became more and more obvious. People sought out protected places in which to build their homes.

Highland Park was at the forefront of the movement toward planned suburban neighborhoods. Under the control of John Armstrong and the Flippen–Prather Realty Company, Highland Park became a community of homes—almost entirely residential. University Park, without a single entity overseeing its development, also became a community of homes, but with a university and more support uses included. In both communities, potential residents were attracted to their controls, to the regulation of building materials, the zoning certainty, and the level of municipal services that would surround their dwellings. The following chapters trace how Highland Park and University Park grew and developed over a period of almost forty years, each town with its own unique history and direction. Necessary to the story is the relevant history of Dallas, it’s economy, and other neighborhoods that inspired, rivaled, or imitated the Park Cities.

(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas by Virginia Savage McAlester, Willis Ceci Winters, Prudence MacKintosh, Steve Clicque. Copyright © 2008 Virginia Savage McAlester. Excerpted by permission of Abbeville Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Virginia McAlester co–wrote the classic architectural work A Field Guide to American Houses and Great American Houses (Abbeville Press). She lives in Dallas.

Willis Cecil Winters is a Dallas architect who was the co–author of two previous books, The American Institute of Architects Guide to Dallas Architecture and Crafting Traditions: The Architecture of Mark Lemmon.

Prudence Mackintosh is currently a columnist for Texas Monthly where she has written insights about Park Cities and other aspects of life in Texas for over two decades. She also authored Thundering Sneakers, Just As We Were, Sneaking Out, and Retreads, all for the Southwestern Writers Collection Series published by the University of Texas Press.

Steve Clicque pursues architectural photography and video documentation as a passion and profession. His photographs have appeared in many publications, including The Dallas Morning News, DHome and Preservation Dallas.

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