The DEMOLISHED house that spurred the birth of our HISTORIC district
One of the earliest homes in the District was 5009 Swiss Avenue, built in 1908 on a double lot at the intersection of Swiss and Collett. Unfortunately, it no longer exists. When it was demolished, the sprawling lot where it once stood became the impetus of a coordinated community effort that led to the establishment of the Swiss Avenue Historic District as the first Historic District in the City of Dallas.
In 1953, the original owner of 5009 Swiss, C.C. Weichsel, willed his house to the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, which, after determining it was not suitable for office use, had it demolished for tax purposes. The remaining lot sat vacant and overgrown for many years until it was eventually acquired by a real-estate developer who intended to build luxury mid-rise condominiums on the site.
Homeowners on the street felt that this encroachment of a multi-family complex on their quiet residential street would lead to all the grand homes on the avenue eventually being razed and replaced with high-rise apartments and commercial office buildings, just as has subsequently happened on Ross, Live Oak, and Gaston. They fought tirelessly to preserve the residential integrity of the street for future generations and, in 1973, they succeeded in establishing our District.
Although the original home on that double lot at 5009 Swiss Avenue no longer exists, below is an archival photo of the residence along with a brief description and photos of the stately homes that occupy those two lots today.
The ORIGINAL HOUSE
5009 Swiss Avenue
Built on a Double Lot in 1908 for C.C. Weichsel,
Chairman of the Board of the Dallas National Bank
The C.C. Weischel House at 5009 Swiss Avenue was built at an estimated cost of $20,000 on a double lot purchased for $8,800. The exhuberance of the house's design reflected the personality of its owner who rose from a stenographer/bookkeeper to Chairman of the Board of the Dallas National Bank.
The house displayed characteristics of two distinct architectural styles and bore a striking resemblance to Frank Lloyd Wright's Nathan G. Moore House built in Oak Park, Illinois in 1895. The first floor exhibited strong elements of the Progressive Mode whereas the upper floors are strongly influenced by the English Jacobethan Style.
There was a definite delineation between these two styles at the second floor level's continuous sill line – almost as if an English Cottage were set atop the first floor of a Progressive Style residence. The slope of the veranda roof as well as the strong linear effect of the porch railing emphasize the horizontal perspective of Progressive Design whereas the two-story vertical bay windows that rise to form two steeply gabled dormers provide a verticality more typical of the Jacobethan tradition.
The Nathan G. Moore House in Oak Park, Illinois As Originally Designed in 1895
By Frank Lloyd Wright
The Nathan G. Moore House in Oak Park, Illinois As It Was Redesigned By Wright Following A Fire in 1922.
The C.C. Weischel House on Swiss Avenue strongly resembled Frank Lloyd Wright's original 1895 design for the Nathan G. Moore House. Mr. Moore requested his house be built in the Tudor Revival Style and, while Wright obliged, he came to dislike the house for its derivative adherence to historic styles. When the house was damage by a fire in 1922, Wright seized the opportunity to resign the exterior. The new design stayed evocative of Tudor architecture but was embellished with Sullivanesque, Mayan, and other exotic elements more in line with Wright's unique aesthetic.