See Historical Recreation, Other Cool Structures at NorthPark

A team including Patrick Surratt of Lee Lewis Construction and Brett Holzle of Stantec Architecture scaled a model of a portion of the historic Elbert Williams house done by students in Yvette Hightower’s Highland Park High School Moody Advanced Professional Studies (MAPS) environmental architecture class into a full-sized playhouse replica.

The students, who spent months reviewing the nearly 100-year-old original plans for the house, redrawing them in AutoCAD, and building the model of a portion of the home starting in the spring, also helped with the detail work for the playhouse version with tasks like painting the exterior of the house and furniture for inside.

The playhouse features a brick facade and metal roof that Polly McKeithen, business development administrator for the MAPS program and former co-president of Preservation Park Cities, described as “comparable to what is on the house” on the exterior and bamboo wood flooring inside.

The playhouse is displayed through July 31 at NorthPark Center during the Parade of Playhouses, the signature fundraiser for Dallas CASA (court appointed special advocates).

The event features elaborate playhouses designed, built, and donated for the raffle. Dallas CASA is a nonprofit that advocates for abused and neglected children. 

The exterior of the HPHS playhouse also is adorned with a plaque similar to those Preservation Park Cities awards to homeowners who’ve preserved or renovated their homes with a QR code leading Parade of Playhouses visitors to more information about the playhouse and its inspiration.

Other featured playhouse builders include the Dallas Mavericks, Butscher’s Backyard Playhouses, Austin Commercial, and more.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former 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.

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