Preservation Dallas’ Historic Home Specialist Seminar is a must for all Dallas real estate agents
I learned more on the first day of the Historic House Specialist Seminar than I think I could have learned in an entire semester of college.
That’s if colleges offered courses in historic preservation, but that’s another column.
I’m not kidding, Preservation Dallas knows how to deliver more digestible information in less time than any organization I’ve ever encountered. Every year the Association of MetroTex Realtors and Preservation Dallas collaborate on a two-day seminar on historic house specialists. Although it is intended for real estate agents who receive MCE certification and credit, it is a seminar that everyone should take to learn more about Dallas.
So why did I, a writer on historic preservation, take this course? Because continuing education is essential whether you are a journalist or a real estate agent.
If you’re selling homes in a historic or conservation area and you don’t follow that class, you frankly can’t expect to compete with a real estate agent who did. And you will give your clients advice that is simply wrong.
I learned a lot over the past few years because I had access to the professionals who teach this course. It was an absolute pleasure to meet curators I’ve talked to on the phone for years but never met in person. They have an unparalleled depth and breadth of knowledge, and their dedication to preservation is beyond admirable.
Historical Residences Specialist Seminar
Wednesday started with preservation architect Nancy McCoy breaking Dallas’ historic development patterns from 1890, when there were only 500 people here.
Did you know that the Trinity River has been moved? It flooded, so the city worked with George Kessler and in 1911 developed the Dallas Plan, which diverted the Trinity River and built the Jefferson Street Viaduct.
Did you know our first courthouse was a log cabin? Did you know that the Caruth farm is still standing and they had the first travelers quarters? Yes, we would call it an Airbnb today!
I also learned that streetcar companies were often responsible for neighborhood development and that Ross Avenue was where wealthy families chose to live. This is just a small part of what I learned on the first day of the two-day Seminar on Historic Homes Specialists.
Understanding what redlining did to our city, how the advent of cars changed the structure of homes, and how the Great Depression changed the way we used our homes kept us glued to our seats.
The morning was rounded out by Preservation Texas Board Vice Chair Katherine Seale, who covered Dallas architectural styles, followed by Historic and Conservation District designations by Preservation Architect Marcel Quimby, FAIA , director of the Quimby Preservation Studio.
After lunch in the beautiful Wilson House, we learned to dig deep and research the history of the houses with historian and consultant Carol Roark. Here’s an interesting tidbit she taught us: when searching for a particular address, enclose the address in the search bar in quotes. Otherwise, if, for example, you put 1234 Main, you will get results proposing each time the word main was used instead of the actual property.
We ended day one with Preservation Dallas Chairman of the Board, Norman Alston, FAIA, owner of Norman Alston Architects. Alston’s discourse on sustainability and historic preservation dispelled many myths and reduced things to their essence. “Authenticity is the underlying concept,” he said. “For a building to be historic, it must be authentic, and just because it hasn’t been designated doesn’t mean it isn’t historic.”
On Thursday, before we went on a bus tour to see some of our historic and conservation districts with Jim Anderson, Landmark Commissioner and Preservation Consultant, we heard from Dallas City Archivist John Slate who spoke about the first developers from Dallas and reminded us John Neely Bryant was frankly our first developer. If you think of the names you see every day – Cockerell, Stemmons, Zang and Kessler – they were all developers and planners!
“We’re surrounded by history,” Slate said. “We drive on it and step on it every day.”
We stopped for lunch at the stately Aldredge House, where David Griffin and associate realtor Bart Thrasher talked about the Historic District Addendum, a document that is an integral part of any realtor selling or listing homes in properties. historic or conservation districts.
After a luxury bus tour with Landmark Commissioner and preservation consultant Jim Anderson, who knows absolutely everything about Dallas, we ended with exceptional architect Wilson Fuqua of J. Wilson Fuqua & Associates. He told us about residential architects and architecture in Dallas, which allowed us to connect many historical dots.
A word from the class
As we neared the end of our second day, I had a moment to ask a few of my classmates about seminary.
Ben Villarreal, of The district real estate groupin Keller Williams Urban Dallas, lives in Junius Heights.
“I work in historic areas a lot, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn as much as possible and pass that knowledge on to my potential buyers,” he said. “Learning about the different types of architecture and hearing about the history of Dallas is so special.”
Amanda Tower, Director of A. Tower Public Relationstook the Historic Houses Specialist Seminar because she wanted to learn more about preservation.
“I always wanted to take the class.” Tower said. “I am fascinated by history and love adaptive reuse and preservation. I really enjoyed learning about the history of the different neighborhoods in Dallas. There are gems I didn’t know existed, like Park Row.
Allan McKeever of McKeever Real Estate grew up in Oak Cliff but now lives in Midlothian.
“My expectations from this seminar were that I would learn the requirements to properly sell a historic home, and I did. I really enjoyed today’s tour because I haven’t seen Dallas in 15 year.
It was a busy two-day seminar, and I’m so glad I finally took the time to attend. Regardless of what you do for a living, the Historic Home Specialist Seminar will give you more insight into the town you live in than you can imagine and a greater appreciation for all that our local curators are doing to keep our history and culture alive.