A Storied Tradition

8 houses open doors to history on this year's Swiss Avenue home tour

8 houses open doors to history on this year's Swiss Avenue home tour

5412 Swiss Avenue
5412 Swiss Ave. had features of both classic Italian Renaissance and 20th Century Progressive styles Photo courtesy of Swiss Avenue Historic District
6114 Bryan Pkwy
6114 Bryan Pkwy. Photo courtesy of Swiss Avenue Historic District
5112 Swiss Avenue
5112 Swiss Ave. Photo courtesy of Swiss Avenue Historic District
5017 Swiss
5017 Swiss Ave. Photo courtesy of Swiss Avenue Historic District
5412 Swiss Avenue
6114 Bryan Pkwy
5112 Swiss Avenue
5017 Swiss

The 45th annual Swiss Avenue Mother's Day Home Tour weekend is upon us, and this year's selection of gorgeous homes will open their doors to history. Step back in time while touring the eight homes that have been tastefully updated while retaining the nostalgia of yesteryear.

The homes range from marvelous mansions to beautiful bungalows and everything in between. Here's a little background on each residence. 

5007 Swiss Ave.
This 1921 Italianate-style home was built for Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Porter Mason of Mason Engineering Company. Mrs. Mason sponsored the tours of famous musicians including Van Cliburn, Ignacy Paderewski, and Sergei Rachmaninoff, who is said to have performed in the home's music room. This year's attendees are invited to tour the renovations currently under way, with the hope that next year they can return to see the finished product.

5017 Swiss Avenue
A stellar example of a Louis H. Sullivan classic style mixed with Lloyd Wright's modern sensibility, this 1907 construction was built for Robert W. Foat for $15,000. This home has strong Prairie School elements and was the first house built on the block of Swiss between Munger and Collett. The current owners have chosen to decorate the interior of the home in a style that reflects the austerity of Craftsman-style design.

5112 Swiss Ave.
This English Manor home with strong French Normandy influences was built in 1914 as a 10-room, red brick Progressive Style house for Clarence and Esther Miller of Texas Textile Mills. A house fire in 1926 led the couple to hire Lang and Witchell to transform it into the home that stands today.

5124 Swiss Ave.
This 1915 home was designed with elements of both the Colonial Revival and Georgian Revival periods. It was built for Joe T. Wilks; however, it changed ownership before a move-in date was set. The first official resident was M. H. Wolfe, who was a prominent cotton merchant in the area. Wolfe was a wearer of many hats and was also a banker, director of M.K. & T Railway of Texas, and chairman of the board of deacons at First Baptist Church. 

5412 Swiss Ave.
W. H. Julian built this home in 1913, and for the last 20-plus years, it has been the family home of Suzanne and Rene Ramirez. It has features of both classic Italian Renaissance and 20th Century Progressive styles and is a lovely example of how diverse styles of architecture can exist harmoniously within the same structure. 

6005 Bryan Pkwy.
This classic American Foursquare is an excellent example of homes that came out of the Prairie School. Built in 1925, the entire structure is painted a deep blue-green with white trim and slate-gray accents. And it is hard not to notice the bull-nosed clapboard siding.

6110 Bryan Pkwy.
This home, built in 1919 by W.A. Nash, was the first in a series of small bungalow-style homes built on Bryan Parkway. It was designed as a six-room cottage measuring in at only 1,075 square feet. In 1986, an additional 1,100 square feet of living space was added to the rear. From the street, it maintains its quaint, cottage look and tour guests may be  surprised to see the spaciousness of the interior.

6114 Bryan Pkwy.
F.E. Squire built this American Craftsman bungalow in 1919, and it is a great example of the style that eventually became one of the most popular in the 20th century. It has undeniable "Mayberry" charm that is typical of the homes in the Swiss Avenue Historic District.

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The tour takes place 10 am-6 pm May 12 and 12 noon-6 pm May 13. Advance tickets are $25 and can be purchased online; $30, the weekend of the event. All proceeds benefit the Swiss Avenue Historic District.