A New Owner Hopes to Rescue One of South Dallas' Most Historic — and Neglected — Homes

The text, from Dallas' historic preservation officer, popped up Tuesday. "I might have some new information about 2426 Pine Street," wrote Mark Doty, one of the few at City Hall tasked with keeping an eye on Dallas' ever-vanishing history. "Might be meeting with the new owner later in the week." He signed off with a fingers-crossed emoji. The address rang a distant bell, but it took a second -- and a Google search -- to place it: at the corner of Pine and Crozier streets, across from Charles Rice Elementary in South Dallas' Queen City neighborhood. Oh. Right. God, how could I have forgotten? That house. That's the James H. and Molly Ellis House, a Classical Revival-style manse so named for the wealthy English couple who moved in around 1905, when the inner city was still cotton-covered countryside just outside Dallas' city limits. It's been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1995, and, last I looked, was owned by Dennis Topletz, the low-income landlord locked in perpetual battle with City Hall. And it was the first imperiled historic house I can remember writing about, 13 summers ago come June, when preservationists feared its any-second demise after city attorneys targeted the "unlivable" house for demolition as far back as 1999.  Continue reading...

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