Homes Sweet Homes

5 fabulous Park Cities homes open doors virtually on favorite neighborhood tour

Williams House, Park Cities home tour
Photo courtesy of PCPS
4412 Lakeside, Park Cities home tour
Photo by Danny Piassick
3429_Drexel, Park Cities home tour
Photo by Danny Piassick
3400 Drexel, Park Cities home tour
Photo by Danny Piassick
7000_Vassar, Park Cities home tour
Photo by Danny Piassick

The Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society Home Tour will showcase five historically and architecturally significant homes in the most modern way for 2021 — virtually.

This year's tour, returning after its COVID-cancelation in 2020, begins streaming at 10 am Saturday, April 24, and continues for 48 hours. Virtual tour tickets are $20, with a limited number of VIP "Patron Porch Party" tickets available for $250 for a pair. (Porch Party includes gift basket with cocktails, charcuterie boards, a garden box from Gardenuity, and more.) A link to view the home tour will be emailed upon ticket purchase.

Tour proceeds go to PCHPS’ mission to promote, protect, and preserve the historic, architectural, cultural, and aesthetic legacy of the Park Cities. Specific projects include the Park Cities House at Dallas Heritage Village, University Park Library archives, and Highland Park High School scholarships for graduating seniors planning to study architecture or history.

Here's an introduction to the five homes on this year's tour, with descriptions provided by the organizers:

3805 McFarlin Blvd.: Historic Williams home owned by Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

The showpiece of this year's tour, the historic 1933 "Elbert Williams House," was saved from the wrecking ball when the Rees-Joneses purchased it last year. It is considered a masterpiece of Texas Modern Regional architecture and the subject of the book A House for Texas by local architect Larry Good and photographer Charles Davis Smith.

The sellers of the house were the Locke family (the children of Eugene Locke and Adele Locke Seybold), who had owned the home since 1955. The house had been listed by Allie Beth Allman since late 2019 and had come to the attention of the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society as an endangered historic treasure, a likely candidate for demolition due to its site on a 1.15-acre lot on Turtle Creek.

Although the ultimate use and occupancy of the Elbert Williams/Locke House is yet to be determined by the new owners, Rees-Jones has made the commitment to preserve the house rather than demolish it.

4412 Lakeside: Home of the Manson family
Premier architect Hal Thomson built this grand dame of eclectic Italian Renaissance architecture in 1918. Deep bracketed eaves, Roman arch windows, a gracious front terrace with balustrade, and the unique decorative medallions combine in a distinctive manner.

The owners undertook major updates in 2018 to restore the interior Venetian plaster, fireplaces, gates, and pool. This family elected to live with prior renovations to this three-story, 103 year-old residence.

Bold color, modern art, antiques, elegant fabrics, and other surprising interior design elements make this home feel exciting and intriguing. The century-old residence is an exquisite envelope that, once opened, reveals a modern world inside.

 3429 Drexel: Home of Jimmy and Kathryn Ogden
Built in 1921, this home is a rare example of eclectic asymmetrical Italian Renaissance architecture. From its high perch, the residence radiates a stateliness due to the prominent Roman arched entries, beautiful SMU brick, front terrace, and repetitive keystone and window accents.

Tiered landscaping in both the front and back yards provides a classic frame. The exceptional and unusual interior elements, synchronized color palette, retention, and replication of original architectural details, coupled with a special focus on landscape, make this 99-year-old home a genuine marvel.

3400 Drexel: Home of Jason and Leonore Owsley
This home was built by prominent builder Walter William Whitley in 1924. Shortly after completion, the home was occupied by Robert Chalmers, who arrived from Scotland to become the dean of St. Matthew's Episcopal Cathedral.

The symmetrical front façade, with accented doorway and evenly spaced windows, has characteristics of Colonial Revival architecture, which was popular from 1885-1955.

The home was in disrepair when the current owners bought it. They honored its original footprint in renovations.

7000 Vassar: Home of James and Betsy Sowell
Surrounded by magnificent towering oak trees, this residence in Volk Estates is situated on approximately two acres. In 1890, the Volk family started their department stores and by 1927, owned a 77-acre area called Brookside, now known as Volk Estates.

Architect Gayden Thompson and builder C.B. Christensen completed this eclectic Neoclassical-style home in 1940 for Mr. and Mrs. Harold Volk, and The Dallas Morning News selected it as Dallas’ Best Modern House in 1940.

The full-height entry porch and four impressive Roman Tuscan columns with Doric capitals define the front elevation as classical, but the interior has countless contemporary touches.