A little after 9 this morning, the man neighbors know only as "J.B." walked out his back door and took his daily stroll up Lower Greenville. When he came back eight hours later, the house was gone.
Wood scraps were heaped over the cement foundation at the corner of Greenville Avenue and Vickery Boulevard, where the white house had been. A bulldozer was still parked on the lot behind a trail of freshly turned dirt.
Working the valet stand at Terilli's Restaurant and Bar next door, Shane Rowan sees J.B. most days and says the man never says much unless he's stopping to hurl a string of expletives -- which, Rowan says, he did for a while at the valet stand tonight after he saw the house. He's well known around the neighborhood, Rowan says, and J.B. will spend much of the day walking up and down Greenville, ducking into the Kroger or Campisi's on Mockingbird Lane to get out of the weather.
Rowan and employees at the BB&T Bank across the street say J.B. had been sleeping in the house at Vickery for a while now. They say its owner skipped out long ago. But Dallas Central Appraisal District records show it's owned by Joseph B.L. Foster -- J.B. -- and has been since at least 2000. "I've heard about tax liens and bulldozer orders for years, but I guess today was the day," Rowan says. The City Attorney's Office guesstimates the city demolishes some 200 houses a year for myriad reasons; we'll find out more about this one in the morning.
BB&T branch manager Angela Morris watched the demolition from across the street. After waiting for a few hours, she says, the three-man crew gave the house a final walk-through inspection and, around 1 p.m., fired up the bulldozer. One of the crew members, Morris says, rescued a set of golf clubs from the house and loaded them into his car.
When he got back tonight, J.B. kicked around in the rubble for a minute, grabbed a bedroll and a folding chair and walked back up Greenville the way he'd come.
"It was kinda sad," Morris says. "Yeah, it's a dump, but I felt bad for the guy because he's been there so long. I don't know where he was going."
Jump for a brief video of the demolition.
Thanks to Amanda Ahern Terilli for this iPhone video.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE...
Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.