Dallas residents know its crumbling blue façade well. The aging Queen Anne Victorian mansion in the heart of The Cedars has stood watch over the changing city—and later, the interstate that alienated it—for more than 130 years.
One of Dallas' oldest surviving homes, the so-called Blue House has served many purposes since its construction by Max Rosenfield in 1885. It has housed families and funerals, and operated as a halfway house. Later, after it was abandoned, it became a refuge for homeless squatters, and trash piled up around its sagging foundation.
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In 2016, it appeared as though the Blue House had finally been issued its death sentence: Time Warner required the land for a much-needed expansion of its service center. Luckily the city stepped in with a 10-day demolition delay. Once again, the decrepit house proved it was stronger than it appeared.
After a long and bitter fight, Dallas Morning News reports that preservationists were able to guilt Time Warner into not only sparing the rotting building, but to footing the bill for its relocation as well. The cost of the project remains undisclosed, though it’s considered to be sizeable.
Next week, after decades spent patiently waiting, the Blue House will finally begin its herculean journey to an empty lot just a few blocks away. At the intersection of Browder and Beaumont streets, it will begin its new life on historic land purchased by Katherine Seale, chair of Dallas’ Landmark Commission.
"It was the right time, right place, and it was something I was able to do," Seale told the Morning News. "It also comes from my desire to see Dallas have an organization or mechanism to do the physical preservation work. We have a lot of really talented contractors and architects in this city, but we don't have a nonprofit that provides revolving loans that can seed the actual hands-on preservation work itself. That's something a city this size, with the number of preservation projects we have, should have."
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According to the Morning News, in preparation for moving day (Tuesday April 3rd ) the house has been sliced into four pieces. Girders poke through open windows, awaiting the crane to carry it away piece by piece.
Eventually the plan is for local developer and Cedars resident, Mark Martinek, to take control of the lot and the house. Redevelopment is expected to take upwards of two years.
"Mark took it on knowing how difficult it would be," Seale told the paper. She said that Martinek, like most Cedars residents, has “the most interest in seeing their neighborhood get repopulated with buildings, especially those with strong history."
The move is currently scheduled to take place between 10am and 12pm on Tuesday April 3rd, dependent on weather. Guests are invited to watch the craning. Visit Preservation Dallas’ Facebook page for more information.