THE MARK OF A LEADER
Swiss Avenue Receives An Updated Historic Marker Recognizing Nationally Renowned Preservationist, Virginia Savage McAlester
On Saturday afternoon, November 11th, an updated State of Texas historic marker was unveiled in front of the Harris-Savage-McAlester House at 5703 Swiss Avenue. The existing marker was augmented to include recognition of one our district's most ardent supporters, nationally recognized Historic Preservationist, Author, and Architectural Historian, Virginia Savage McAlester, who was instrumental in the early formation of our city's first historic districts as well as a co-founder of Preservation Dallas and Friends of Fair Park.
The plaque was unveiled by Ms. McAlester's granddaughters, Virginia and Clementine Talkington. Dedication remarks were shared by Executive Director of the Texas Historical Foundation, David Presiosi; former Texas State Representative, The Honorable Dr. Harryette Ehrhardt; and Ms. McAlester's daughter, Amy Talkington. A reception following the unveiling was hosted by Ms. Talkington and Elizabeth Mast on the front terrace of Ms. Mast's Swiss Avenue home.
In addition to Dr. Ehrhardt, Mr. Presiosi, and Ms. Talkington, other dignitaries attending the event included Dallas Landmark Commissioners Jim Anderson, Larry Offutt, and Commission Chair, Dr. Evelyn Montgomery; Chair of the Dallas County Historical Commission, Elizabeth Gunby; Preservation Dallas Board Member, Nancy Shelton; Ms. McAlester's son, Carty Talkington; her stepson, Kevin McAlester; and her longtime partner, collaborator, and book photographer, Steve Clicque.
Another Clean Sweep!
Our 2023 Alley Clean Up Once Again Demonstrates Swiss Precision At Its Finest
By Lauren Nadig
The Swiss Avenue Historic District’s annual alley cleanup and beautification effort took place on Saturday, November 11, this year. Neighborhood volunteers came together along with the City of Dallas’ Code Compliance team and others to clear debris in and around the neighborhood so that residents, guests and visitors are able to enjoy their time in the District.
While many of our wonderful neighbors often take time out of their schedules to spot and pick up trash and other items left behind throughout the year, this annual event allows us to cover more ground and to ready the neighborhood for what will no doubt be a busy holiday season of walkers, bikers, runners, those braving scooters and drivers taking in the beautiful homes and holiday décor.
The SAHD sends its gratitude to the organizers and those who spent hours to ensure the neighborhood is safe and looking its best.
SAHD NOVEMBER BOARD MEETING
Tuesday, November 28th
6:30 PM – Social
7:00 PM – Meeting
CHANGE OF DATE
Since our usual 3rd Tuesday meeting date falls this year on Thanksgiving Week, we are pushing the date back one week to Tuesday, November 28th. Please join us for our November Neighborhood Board Meeting, our final meeting of the 2023 calendar year. Committee Chairs will be updating residents on issues of interest to the neighborhood at large, including reports on Alliance Against Crime activities, Outreach initiatives, Planning & Zoning concerns, Beautification progress, next year's Home Tour, and more.
All District Residents and Propery Owners are encouraged to attend.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING EVERYONE AT THE MEETING
In Person at Lakewood Towers
6301 Gaston Avenue, 1st-Floor Conference Room
For The Agenda, Please Refer To The Email Sent From The Association Secretary Just Prior To The Meeting.
Tour de Force
A sincere and well-deserved "Thanks!" on behalf of our entire District to this year's Swiss Avenue Historic District Home Tour co-chairs, the Dynamic Duo of Charlotte Kerr and Zach Swanson. Their leadership, dedication, patience, and good-natured willingness to weather any challenge they encountered (and we DO mean weather), resulted in our most successful home tour ever.
The 2023 Home Tour
One For The Record Books
Due in large measure to Charlotte and Zach's expert stewardship of this year's Home Tour Committee, and despite a drizzly Sunday, this year's home tour was a record-breaking success. Thanks to all who were involoved and we hope to see everyone again next year!
How It All Began
A Look Back At The Origins Of Our Very First Swiss Avenue Home Tour In 1973
This year marked the 50th Anniversary of what has grown to become one of our city's most popular annual events. From it's humble beginnings in 1973 as a catalyst for promoting and preserving the homes in one of Dallas's only existing original residential neighborhoods, The Swiss Avenue Historic District Mother's Day Home Tour now attracts thousands of visitors every May to honor and celebrate our shared history.
A recent article in the Lakewood Advocate tells more of the story.
You can read it at the link below.
Firefighters Host Swiss Avenue Historic District Residents During An Open House At Station 17
Dallas Firefighters from Lakewood's own Station #17 recently hosted an Open House for residents of our District. Station Captain, David Diggs, and City Councilman, Paul Ridley, shared with the gathering information about the firehouse, its operations, and its importance to the community. Youngsters were given balloons and invited to meet and pose for photos with Sparky the Fire Dog; and all guests received a tour of the facility.
A recent article in the Lakewood Advocate describes the event in more detail.
You can read the full article at the link below.
Neighbors Gather For Good Conversation
And Great Barbecue In A Grand Setting
On March 19th, members of The Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation and Friends of Aldredge House hosted a neighborhood meet-and-greet at Aldredge House. An estimated 150 neighbors and friends gathered at the house for delicious barbecue, ice-cold refreshments, and a lavish spread of side dishes and desserts.
It was a welcome and long-overdue opportunity for old neighbors to reconnect post-Covid, and for everyone to meet and get to know the newer residents in the District. Attendance was far greater than expected; every table inside was filled and the overflow spilled out into the rear garden where there were activities set up for the younger kids. The response was so positive, in fact, that the Foundation has offered to make these neighborhood meet-and-greets an annual Springtime event.
The Miracle On 36th Street
In 1982, longtime Swiss Avenue Historic District homeowners, Bob Hopkins and Bob Whisnant, were living in Kansas City's Hyde Park Historic District. On a freezing January day, near the corner of 36th and Cherry Street, while helping a neighbor plow their sidewalks after a blizzard, they made a miraculous discovery: a newborn, wrapped in a blanket inside a cardboard box, that had been set on their neighbor's back doorstep. After rescuing the infant, they spent the next 41 years searching for information on her whereabouts and her welfare. And they finally found her.
Click on the links below to watch the news story from Kansas City's KCTV5, and to read the full article published in the Kansas City Star:
Candy's Dirt Visits The Second Saturdays Living History Tour At Aldredge House
In the Aldredge House Dining Room, Martha Heimberg (center left) and Rikki Sushaun (center right) portray staff members of the house's original owners, Willie & Will Lewis.
Candy Evans, founder of Candy's Dirt, the award-winning news site popular among real-estate lovers, along with her granddaughter, Hattie, and features writer, Karen Eubank, all attended the January performance of the Second Saturdays Living History Tour at Aldredge House. To read the article describing their experience, click on the photo link above.
Meet Our New
Lauren & Drew Nadig
4938 Swiss Avenue
Lauren and Drew Nadig and their two daughters, Maggie (6) and Ella (3), are the newest owners of 4938 Swiss. Lauren and Drew are transplants from Illinois and New York, respectively. Drew was in Killeen, Texas, stationed at Fort Hood from November 2006 to March, 2012. His stay there was broken up by a deployment to Iraq just outside of Baghdad from the summer of 2008 to summer of 2009, and northern Afghanistan from the summer of 2010 to summer of 2011 where he flew Blackhawk helicopters in the United States Army.
Drew and Maggie (6) Nadig
Ella (3) and Lauren Nadig
In the early years of their relationship, an opportunity arose for Lauren to help open her firm’s Dallas office and, having lived her New York dream for some time – and having zero savings to show for it – decided to make the leap, vowing to only stay for a while. Drew was in violent agreement that Texas was a temporary spot. Fast forward 12 years and two kids later, and they can’t imagine living anywhere else.
They started in East Dallas in the Casa Linda Forest neighborhood. With limited room to grow and a creek that had seen a one-hundred-year flood two years in a row, they started looking for a home in Dallas where they could settle in for a longer haul. They had long admired Swiss Avenue and would often pop the kids into the stroller and enjoy a walk up and down the block, but never imagined living there.
After looking around in East Dallas and resigning to likely having to build something, they visited a house on Gaston one morning. Drew has a penchant for building and fixing and the idea of an older home appealed to him, but the layout of the Gaston house was going to be too challenging. They jokingly told their realtor “Find us something on Swiss, and we’ll talk.” That afternoon she shared that the people who originally put in an offer on 4938 Swiss had changed their minds; the house was back on the market and they should check it out. From the moment they walked onto the porch, they fell in love with the house. It was well maintained and clearly loved and they didn’t even know the incredible history as much as they do now.
Ella & Maggie in front of their home at 4938 Swiss
Before moving in, they gutted the back third of the house down to studs and floor joists (and sometimes beyond that to repair nearly 100-year fire damage) including the removal of an interior wall to open up the kitchen and dining area. They renovated the kitchen, mudroom and downstairs powder room, added a “cloffice” (closet office under the stairs), renovated the primary bathroom and closet and put in an exposed laundry room along with two windows upstairs. The result is a home that is historic with contemporary nods.
Next up is an extension on the back of the house to provide a bit more room to entertain their wonderful neighbors and friends along with a back yard makeover to include a pool. They hope to have that work done by the fall of this year.
They value the surrounding neighborhoods, the warmth of everyone who lives here, the generosity and the proximity to downtown. They recently had lunch with previous owners of the house, Myra and Darwin Smith, who put it best: "A city’s success depends on the strength of its center. If you let the center go to waste, you ruin the city." Swiss Avenue plays a vital role in preserving the past and future of Dallas and the Nadig feel it is a privilege to be a part of that.
On the weekends, they love to visit Leila’s, which is owned by a dear friend, and there is not a week that goes by that they don’t swing by Taco Joint on Peak! Lauren always finds something wonderful at Tallulah & HESS and she and Drew like to try whatever is new at the Craft Beer Cellar, as well.
When you see them along the Avenue, be sure to say, "Hello!"
Become One Of Our
District's Newest VIPs!
The Dallas Police Department periodically puts on Volunteers in Patrol (VIP) certification classes for qualified Dallas residents. VIPs are trained on police department operations, procedures, and analysis of crime statistics. After certification, VIPs organize according to neighborhood (i.e., SAHD) and perform two-person patrols designed to prevent and report on potential crimes. The training stresses and focuses on how VIPs should merely observe and report on suspicious or ongoing criminal activity. VIPs are never supposed to confront suspects or interfere with an ongoing crime.
On Saturday February 19, 2022, neighbors from the Swiss Avenue Historic District participated in the VIP training. Jean and David Dean, Jan Mohammed, Ken Kuesel, Zach Eccleston, Jeff Woodson, Paul Lockman, and Christine and Peter Loh all attended. Peter and Christine’s son, Petey, also attended but is ineligible for certification because he is a minor. Representatives from other neighborhood groups throughout Dallas were also in attendance. The session lasted about 4 hours and was very informative.
The Alliance Against Crime has plans to meet and discuss the training and eventually begin to organize patrols. If you would like further information about the VIP program and how to become a VIP, please contact AAC Chairperson David Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A BIT About Our District
The Swiss Avenue Historic District, in Old East Dallas, is a diverse neighborhood containing the finest collection of Early 20th Century residential architecture in the entire Southwest. Established in 1905 by real-estate developer, Robert Munger, it was designated in 1973 as the first historic district in the City of Dallas. It is an official Dallas Landmark District and, in 1974, the entire District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The boundaries of The Swiss Avenue Historic District include portions of some of the city's earliest streets:
Beacon Street • Bryan Parkway • Bryan Street
La Vista Drive • Live Oak Street • Swiss Avenue
La Vista Drive
Live Oak Street
STEP BACK TO A SIMPLER TIME
JOIN US ON THE SECOND SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH
FOR LIVING HISTORY TOURS AT ALDREDGE HOUSE
The Aldredge House invites you to travel back with us to a simpler place and time; to a Gilded Age steeped in gentility, refinement, and the finer things in life. Join us on the Second Saturday of each month for Living History Tours that will transport you to back to the early days of Swiss Avenue when, in 1917, West Texas Rancher, Will Lewis, commissioned renowned architect Hal Thomson to design and build this magnificent French Eclectic Mansion as a wedding gift for his Debutante Bride, Willie Newberry.
Actors outfitted in period costumes portray individuals who played significant roles in the Aldredge House's illustrious history, including its earliest owners, their maids, their chauffeurs, and even their family physician.
DOORS OPEN AT 10 AM FOR HOUSE TOURS. LIVING HISTORY TOURS BEGIN AT 11 AM
To rsvp for the tour, or for more information, Email us at:
With Profound Gratitude
Historic preservation throughout the City of Dallas exists largely due to the exemplary efforts of our neighbor, our friend, and our District's most ardently devoted advocate,
Virginia Savage McAlester
Virginia dedicated her life's work to preserving, protecting and promoting the historic dignity of her native hometown. She was the nation's foremost authority on historic architecture; she was instrumental in the founding of our District, which became this City's first Historic District; and she spearheaded efforts throughout our community that have impacted and improved the quality of life for us all.
Her contributions will reverberate for generations to come. For that, and for so much more, we are profoundly grateful.
Virginia Savage McAlester
May 13, 1943 – April 9, 2020
THE BRILLIANCE OF VIRGINIA SAVAGE McALESTER
In tribute to our dear friend and neighbor, Virginia Savage McAlester, we invite you to view the video below, featuring a lecture on the History of Munger Place presented by Virginia at the Hall of State in Fair Park on May 18, 2017
As you walk our scenic neighborhood, you may have noticed bronze plaques installed near the sidewalks in front of some of the homes. Our neighbor, Virginia Dupuy, worked with City Hall to obtain approval for SAHD residents to install these plaques on their properties.
The purpose of the plaques is to identify the year of a home's construction, its architectural style, the architect/builder (if known), and the original owner. If there's room remaining on the plaques, a fact or two about the history of the home or its original owners can be added. Although there are only a handful of these plaques in place today, visitors walking our District frequently stop to read them.
If you are interested in obtaining one of these plaques for your property, the process is relatively simple. A Certificate of Appropriateness is required. City Staff can approve the wording without going before the full Landmark Commission but you will be asked to provide the source of the facts you will be displaying.
Two good, reliable sources of information are the fileson our Historic District located at Preservation Dallas, and a Masters Thesis available at the Dallas Public Library downtown. The 3-volume thesis, titled, "History and Guide to the Swiss Avenue Historic District", was written in the 1970s by three architecture students at UT Arlington: Robert L. Canavan, Patricia T. Canavan, and Judy S. Dooley.
Erie Landmark Company is the manufacturer of the plaques (637 Hempfield Hill Road, Columbia, PA 17512, Telephone: 800-874-7848). The cost of one plaque is approximately $250. Under the agreement with the City, the plaques are to be installed on a flat concrete pad that can be easily fabricated by your handyman.