Expunge Him

Plus: Tudor Mania

In focusing on a few isolated squabbles, your author missed the big picture here: People in Dallas are finally getting tired of seeing their architectural heritage wiped out. Until recently, most of us assumed there was nothing we could do to prevent it. But thanks to people like Angela Hunt, who started a dialogue, we discovered there were lots of others who felt the same way. That's why there are no fewer than seven neighborhoods (in addition to Greenland Hills) waiting in line to become conservation districts. Dallas loves to recall its colorful, cowboy past. Sadly, though, the architectural traces of that past are virtually nonexistent today. For many years, "Keep the dirt flyin', boys" was the prevailing motto. Because no one objected, many of our vintage structures, both commercial and residential, are long gone. Now people are taking a stand for what's left. If the taxpayers have their way, maybe the buck, and the bulldozer, will stop here.

Juli Roland
Dallas

Nothing Tudor about it: Rose Farley should not believe and quote affirmatively everyone who supports the building of new homes in the M Streets.

Example: "Those houses will never be torn down. Nobody's going to pay $350,000 for a lot in the M Streets..." Does that mean that the demolition currently taking place in the 5900 block of Mercedes isn't really happening?

Does Rose Farley really believe that Arthur Eisenberg's steel and stucco factory-like house at Concho and McCommas has "Tudor-like gables?" Did she look at the house? There is nothing Tudor about it. It is a straight-up, plain warehouse-type building.

Great architecture, even just plain good architecture, does its best to fit into its context and environment. This house--and some other new houses in the area--don't. Eisenberg said: "Buildings don't make a neighborhood. People do." But houses ought to enhance neighborhood living, not hinder it. In that regard, the best thing that can be said for Eisenberg's house is that it has brought neighbors together to work for the common good.

What is it that the Dallas Observer doesn't like about that?

Mark and Donna Herbener
Dallas

Dog-dung slinger: Wow! This article does an excellent job of holding to the negative, rabble-rousing, vague, irresponsible journalistic standards upon which your rag is founded. As 60-something residents, being called "yuppie elitists" made us proud! When a reporter arrives on the scene with a preconceived notion, a balanced story is just not going to happen. From her rampant discrepancies and overstatements, it's obvious that Ms. Farley possesses neither the desire nor the ability to grasp the concept of conservation-district efforts. Armed with a positive attitude and just a teensy bit of respect, perhaps she wouldn't find it necessary to wallow in name-calling and mudslinging--or should I say "dog dung-slinging?"--in order to sell her stories. Of course, were she a literate and clever journalist, surely she would have found employment elsewhere.

Lynn Parker
Dallas

Not about elitism: Your article "Trouble in the House of Tudor" is appalling. As a five-year Greenland Hills resident before my recent move to Charlotte, North Carolina, I strongly support a neighborhood conservation district. This isn't about elitism; it's about preserving a unique neighborhood. Dallas has so few neighborhoods of any historic value. The peaked roofs, stained-glass windows and small cottage feel to these homes shouldn't be torn down just so someone can have a house where a big-screen TV will fit through the door. The neighborhood character is lost as residents move in who don't appreciate the charm of these homes. As the builder mentioned in your article, the quality of construction in these 1920s homes would be cost-prohibitive to replicate today. If Belmont Homes were building homes in Boston in the 1800s, there would be no historic homes standing. People like Angela Hunt are working to ensure that our children have some history to preserve in a town where newer is always better.

Amy Robeson
Charlotte, North Carolina

You tried, you failed: Give me a break!

"Eisenberg took great pains to ensure his new house would fit into the neighborhood." Well, just in case no one has told him yet--he failed. Adding a stone accent wall to the front facade of a structure finished with stucco, corrugated metal and aluminum frame windows does not a Tudor, Spanish Eclectic, nor Craftsman make. Actually, it would be a super-cool house to have on the beach somewhere, but we live in Dallas! No beach!

Someone please explain to me exactly what architectural elements of his house are consistent with the prevailing styles of our neighborhood. Mr. Eisenberg, we hated it when you had a dormant construction site with a giant pit (future basement) on your lot for the better part of a year, and we hate it even more now that it's finished. Yeah, yeah. We've heard it before. You've lived here 25 years and you raised your kids here and you love the M Streets and you spent a bunch of money and...

Tim McMahon
Dallas

Some builders care: Your story on the M Streets building was just terrible! (You are usually so much better.) You committed the very crime that you so often accuse The Dallas Morning News of committing--you wrote a story using developers' quotes without questioning their statements or investigating their involvement. You quoted Belmont Homes as being "supportive" of the neighborhood-protection ordinance without investigating to find that Belmont itself built many (if not most) of the most boxy, unadorned, metal-windowed "Plano Palaces" that started the complaints. You asked Vintage Contemporaries about the use of metal windows, but they seem to be the one builder in this area that consistently uses wood windows on the fronts of their houses. We built a new home in this neighborhood last year, and we worked hard to make it fit in. We considered most of the builders you interviewed; there is a huge difference in these builders. There are builders that care about building quality houses that are appropriate for the area, but your story did a lousy job of sorting them out.

Craig Wilbanks
Dallas

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