The Preservationists Next Door

Allie Beth Allman listed 3805 McFarlin Blvd. in late 2019, seeking buyers to save the “most important house in Texas” – a search that concluded right next door.

New owners Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones are still considering options for the 1933 Elbert Williams house, but all of those include preserving the historic home.

“I was aware of many (in) the community in University Park who were very interested in not seeing it knocked down,” Trevor Rees-Jones said. “Since I live next door, it’s an adjoining property, it was a natural fit.”

The Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society (PCHPS) feared the home was a likely candidate for demolition because of its attractive location on a 1.15-acre lot on Turtle Creek.

But with a financial contribution from Allman to bridge the gap needed to complete the transaction, the house went under contract on Dec. 3.

The sellers are the children of Eugene Locke and Adele Locke Seybold, who had owned the home since 1955.

“I’m just so thrilled that it’s kept. It’s in its original condition, which is just unheard of, and this will be the first house ever saved in either Highland Park or (University Park) – to be saved not to live in, but to just own.”

Allie Beth Allman

The Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society published a book, A House for Texas, documenting the home’s history with text by Dallas architect Larry Good and photos by Charles Davis Smith to raise awareness and support for the house.

It was built in 1933 for then University Park Mayor Elbert Williams (no relation to the architect, David Williams). In 1983, the Texas Society of Architects polled their membership about the state’s 20 most important buildings. They identified landmarks such as the Alamo, Highland Park Village, the San Antonio Riverwalk – and the Elbert Williams house, the only private residence selected.

“We’ll maintain it for the future and make sure it’s kept in good shape,” Trevor Rees-Jones said. “There are a number of different options (for use of the home) that we’ll consider, and we’ll be addressing that over the first few months of this next year (2021).”

Where to find ‘A House for Texas ’:

• The Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s website 

• Interabang Books at 5700 West Lovers Lane

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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