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#1 Zetna

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 12:16 PM

Does anyone know anything about the 1912 Dillow house at Texas Wesleyan on Rosedale. I had heard the house was willed to Texas Wesleyan and saw an article in 2010 saying that it would be reused as an activity center w/ dorm rooms upstairs for students. I have passed by the house at least once a month and it seems to get worse. I have heard that all furnishings were sold off and also a rumor that Texas Wesleyan wants student housing on that entire block.....I wonder if they are trying for the 'demolition by neglect' route....it seems a shame given the history of the place and the Dillow association w/ the Poly area and the university.

#2 cberen1

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 06:36 AM

Texas Wesleyan itself may be headed for demolitiion by neglect. I suspect that falls into the category thing TWU would love to do if it weren't dead broke and directionless.

I've long felt that TWU should reinvent itself as a minority oriented university. I think it would be a good move for the school, the area and minority students in north Texas who don't see a feasible path to TCU, SMU, etc.

#3 Hometown by Handlebar

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 07:45 AM

Iíve poked around that grand old house. It needs a lot of TLC, but what centenarian doesnít? With its ties to early Poly, civic leader Samuel Selkirk Dillow (1866-1931), Polyís first grocery store (next door), and its city hall (around the corner, also owned by TWU, I believe), that house deserves preservation. If TWU has any sense of time and place . . .

#4 avvy

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 04:04 PM

Texas Wesleyan itself may be headed for demolitiion by neglect. I suspect that falls into the category thing TWU would love to do if it weren't dead broke and directionless.

I've long felt that TWU should reinvent itself as a minority oriented university. I think it would be a good move for the school, the area and minority students in north Texas who don't see a feasible path to TCU, SMU, etc.


As a current student, I can say that this is already true in practice, if not in name. You might be onto something.

ETA: I found this Flikr link for reference, since I wasn't aware of it and perhaps others weren't eitehr:

#5 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:10 PM

Avvy, thanks for the link to the photograph. One thing I noticed in the picture is the City of Fort Worth Landmark plaque. It is round, with a star in the middle, right next to the front door. Even though a marker doesn't protect the house from demolition by neglect, it does protect it from planned demolition. Dangr.dave is also a member of this forum.

#6 Doohickie

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:50 PM

As a current student, I can say that this is already true in practice, if not in name. You might be onto something.

ETA: I found this Flikr link for reference, since I wasn't aware of it and perhaps others weren't eitehr:

Oh, you're a student there? So is my son. He's in the music program, going into his senior year.

And I agree, it is already embracing the local (minority) population.
My blog: Doohickie

#7 Zetna

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 07:48 AM

Avvy, yeah, thanks for the photo link....the house is in worse shape now w/ major portions of front upstairs glass broken out, boarded up windows on the sides.....what is the yellow tag on the front door? Anyway, did not know if anyone knew what would be done with the house....it still looks very structurally sound.

#8 qmcgown

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 04:32 PM

Avvy, yeah, thanks for the photo link....the house is in worse shape now w/ major portions of front upstairs glass broken out, boarded up windows on the sides.....what is the yellow tag on the front door? Anyway, did not know if anyone knew what would be done with the house....it still looks very structurally sound.



The Dillow House is, indeed, a beautiful place. Audrey Dillow, the last surviving child of S.S. and Cassandra Lucas Dillow, donated the house and adjoining property to Texas Wesleyan in 1979 in memory of her parents. She placed no restrictions on the University's use of the land, but the house was used for many years as the Alumni Center. For a time, the University, as a founding partner, provided the house for the offices of the Polytechnic Main Street Program, sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission. It was designated a City of Fort Worth Landmark in 1990 as part of the school's centennial celebration. I wrote the nomination and was a proud member of the Landmarks Commission when it was approved. The Wesleyan Alumni Association took on many cosmetic repairs and hosted student dinners, receptions and campus events over the years. The University was honored to have the house included in Carol Roark's book, "Legendary Landmarks," and plans were explored to restore not only the house, but the entire block, which also housed the Dillow Store. During the 13 years I worked for the University, the full restoration and reuse of the house were high on my list of wishes.

As noted in the previous posts, the house has not fared well in recent years. It was vandalized by local gangs who found that trespassing, burglary and spray painting somehow made them better human beings. A fire a few months ago caused by a short in the old knob and tube wiring further damaged the interior. Thankfully, the original furnishings, books and personal items that remained in the house, as well as the furniture added by the Alumni Association, were removed for safekeeping a few years ago. Planning is underway for a new use for the property involving a partnership between the University and the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church that I believe would have pleased Audrey Dillow to no end. The Dillow legacy will continue on the campus. The University is working to document the house and salvage much of the interior with the thought that some may be incorporated into the new Conference Center in recognition of the Dillow family's contributions to the University and the Church.

Also included on the property is the old City Hall of Polytechnic that served both as municipal headquarters and central fire station. It was built in 1914 and served the separately incorporated city until Polytechnic was annexed by Fort Worth in 1922. The City Hall structure will be preserved as part of the larger redevelopment of that block of East Rosedale.

As a personal aside, Texas Wesleyan has received its share of criticism over the years about its stewardship of its historic resources. I have sometimes led some of that criticism. That said, when the University made the tough, and still controversial to some, decision not to abandon the neighborhood that grew up around it, I could not have been prouder. I wish the school had had the resources available to preserve more of the original campus structures, but it had to focus, and rightly so, on the business of providing a fabulous education to those students who chose, and choose, to attend. The buildings it prioritized for preservation, and which serve as touchstones to the University's impressive history, include the 1902 Administration Building and the Sanguinet and Staats designed Dan Waggoner Hall, built in 1917, and the 1909 Fine Arts Building, originally home of Polytechnic Methodist Episcopal Church, South, now Poltechnic United Methodist Church. It breaks my heart to see the Dillow House go, but the new partnership between the University and the Central Texas Conference is precisely the kind of renewing effort Audrey Dillow hoped her gift would promote.

#9 Zetna

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 12:16 PM


Avvy, yeah, thanks for the photo link....the house is in worse shape now w/ major portions of front upstairs glass broken out, boarded up windows on the sides.....what is the yellow tag on the front door? Anyway, did not know if anyone knew what would be done with the house....it still looks very structurally sound.



The Dillow House is, indeed, a beautiful place. Audrey Dillow, the last surviving child of S.S. and Cassandra Lucas Dillow, donated the house and adjoining property to Texas Wesleyan in 1979 in memory of her parents. She placed no restrictions on the University's use of the land, but the house was used for many years as the Alumni Center. For a time, the University, as a founding partner, provided the house for the offices of the Polytechnic Main Street Program, sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission. It was designated a City of Fort Worth Landmark in 1990 as part of the school's centennial celebration. I wrote the nomination and was a proud member of the Landmarks Commission when it was approved. The Wesleyan Alumni Association took on many cosmetic repairs and hosted student dinners, receptions and campus events over the years. The University was honored to have the house included in Carol Roark's book, "Legendary Landmarks," and plans were explored to restore not only the house, but the entire block, which also housed the Dillow Store. During the 13 years I worked for the University, the full restoration and reuse of the house were high on my list of wishes.

As noted in the previous posts, the house has not fared well in recent years. It was vandalized by local gangs who found that trespassing, burglary and spray painting somehow made them better human beings. A fire a few months ago caused by a short in the old knob and tube wiring further damaged the interior. Thankfully, the original furnishings, books and personal items that remained in the house, as well as the furniture added by the Alumni Association, were removed for safekeeping a few years ago. Planning is underway for a new use for the property involving a partnership between the University and the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church that I believe would have pleased Audrey Dillow to no end. The Dillow legacy will continue on the campus. The University is working to document the house and salvage much of the interior with the thought that some may be incorporated into the new Conference Center in recognition of the Dillow family's contributions to the University and the Church.

Also included on the property is the old City Hall of Polytechnic that served both as municipal headquarters and central fire station. It was built in 1914 and served the separately incorporated city until Polytechnic was annexed by Fort Worth in 1922. The City Hall structure will be preserved as part of the larger redevelopment of that block of East Rosedale.

As a personal aside, Texas Wesleyan has received its share of criticism over the years about its stewardship of its historic resources. I have sometimes led some of that criticism. That said, when the University made the tough, and still controversial to some, decision not to abandon the neighborhood that grew up around it, I could not have been prouder. I wish the school had had the resources available to preserve more of the original campus structures, but it had to focus, and rightly so, on the business of providing a fabulous education to those students who chose, and choose, to attend. The buildings it prioritized for preservation, and which serve as touchstones to the University's impressive history, include the 1902 Administration Building and the Sanguinet and Staats designed Dan Waggoner Hall, built in 1917, and the 1909 Fine Arts Building, originally home of Polytechnic Methodist Episcopal Church, South, now Poltechnic United Methodist Church. It breaks my heart to see the Dillow House go, but the new partnership between the University and the Central Texas Conference is precisely the kind of renewing effort Audrey Dillow hoped her gift would promote.



#10 Zetna

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 12:52 PM



Avvy, yeah, thanks for the photo link....the house is in worse shape now w/ major portions of front upstairs glass broken out, boarded up windows on the sides.....what is the yellow tag on the front door? Anyway, did not know if anyone knew what would be done with the house....it still looks very structurally sound.



The Dillow House is, indeed, a beautiful place. Audrey Dillow, the last surviving child of S.S. and Cassandra Lucas Dillow, donated the house and adjoining property to Texas Wesleyan in 1979 in memory of her parents. She placed no restrictions on the University's use of the land, but the house was used for many years as the Alumni Center. For a time, the University, as a founding partner, provided the house for the offices of the Polytechnic Main Street Program, sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission. It was designated a City of Fort Worth Landmark in 1990 as part of the school's centennial celebration. I wrote the nomination and was a proud member of the Landmarks Commission when it was approved. The Wesleyan Alumni Association took on many cosmetic repairs and hosted student dinners, receptions and campus events over the years. The University was honored to have the house included in Carol Roark's book, "Legendary Landmarks," and plans were explored to restore not only the house, but the entire block, which also housed the Dillow Store. During the 13 years I worked for the University, the full restoration and reuse of the house were high on my list of wishes.

As noted in the previous posts, the house has not fared well in recent years. It was vandalized by local gangs who found that trespassing, burglary and spray painting somehow made them better human beings. A fire a few months ago caused by a short in the old knob and tube wiring further damaged the interior. Thankfully, the original furnishings, books and personal items that remained in the house, as well as the furniture added by the Alumni Association, were removed for safekeeping a few years ago. Planning is underway for a new use for the property involving a partnership between the University and the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church that I believe would have pleased Audrey Dillow to no end. The Dillow legacy will continue on the campus. The University is working to document the house and salvage much of the interior with the thought that some may be incorporated into the new Conference Center in recognition of the Dillow family's contributions to the University and the Church.

Also included on the property is the old City Hall of Polytechnic that served both as municipal headquarters and central fire station. It was built in 1914 and served the separately incorporated city until Polytechnic was annexed by Fort Worth in 1922. The City Hall structure will be preserved as part of the larger redevelopment of that block of East Rosedale.

As a personal aside, Texas Wesleyan has received its share of criticism over the years about its stewardship of its historic resources. I have sometimes led some of that criticism. That said, when the University made the tough, and still controversial to some, decision not to abandon the neighborhood that grew up around it, I could not have been prouder. I wish the school had had the resources available to preserve more of the original campus structures, but it had to focus, and rightly so, on the business of providing a fabulous education to those students who chose, and choose, to attend. The buildings it prioritized for preservation, and which serve as touchstones to the University's impressive history, include the 1902 Administration Building and the Sanguinet and Staats designed Dan Waggoner Hall, built in 1917, and the 1909 Fine Arts Building, originally home of Polytechnic Methodist Episcopal Church, South, now Poltechnic United Methodist Church. It breaks my heart to see the Dillow House go, but the new partnership between the University and the Central Texas Conference is precisely the kind of renewing effort Audrey Dillow hoped her gift would promote.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
qmcgown, thanks for the history and answer to my initial question regarding the house. Not being involved in TWU or in anything regarding the house I still has the following comments / questions:

1) Why was the house so highly regarded in 1990 for Landmark status only to be diminished in status 20 years later? Being probably the most historically significant house due to size, design and its connection to TWU I would think it would still be worth saving.
2) If funds are available for the new conference center then why not for restoration of the house? Could the house be part of the project to receive funding?
3) Can the house not be a useful part of the new conference center? I have worked with many architects / designers in the past and most have egos that would not allow their new building design to be connected in any way (even if not a physical connection) to an existing structure...I just wonder if the existing house was even considered a part of the initial design process.
4) Just as in comment #3 I doubt that an architect / designer (unless very sensitive) would incorporate parts and pieces of the original home into their design...also, a contractor usually likes to start anew as they have to work too hard to incorporate old parts for the value received.
5) I'm glad contents of house were saved, but realistically I'll bet that these along with any salvaged architectural items will just gather dust until forgotten and then eventually sold.

I realize not every old structure can be saved, but this house is significant to the Poly area and to TWU. It is 100 years old and very well done. I am rather surprised that in the design of the conference center that the Dillow house could not be reused in some way and was designed around the existing structure....there are other ways to obtain parking, other ways to get needs / functions met, variances and grant monies for historic structures. I just wonder if all avenues had been looked at or the house was dismissed right at the start.

Again, I am not involved with TWU so don't know any conversations that have taken place.... I would hope that the house was given many chances in initial conversations and initial designs. It will be missed by many, including me where it just seems a bright spot in that area on the road to my mom's house.

#11 RD Milhollin

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:04 AM

TWU is appealing a ruling by the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission that prevented demolition of the 1912 Dillow House on E. Rosedale across from the school. TWU was unsuccessful in raising money for their business school's "incubator center" that was going to occupy the building.

http://www.star-tele...rds-denial.html

According to the article the university has owned the building since 1979, and now it complains that the fixtures, woodwork, and windows are destroyed, and the property has suffered tow fires. Is this a case of willful neglect? Has the school deliberately allowed the house to deteriorate uninsured so that they can get rid of it and have more parking across from the campus? What measures are shaping up to strengthen preservation ordinances in Fort Worth to prevent this from happening yet again?

#12 Zetna

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 03:15 PM

TWU is appealing a ruling by the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission that prevented demolition of the 1912 Dillow House on E. Rosedale across from the school. TWU was unsuccessful in raising money for their business school's "incubator center" that was going to occupy the building.

http://www.star-tele...rds-denial.html

According to the article the university has owned the building since 1979, and now it complains that the fixtures, woodwork, and windows are destroyed, and the property has suffered tow fires. Is this a case of willful neglect? Has the school deliberately allowed the house to deteriorate uninsured so that they can get rid of it and have more parking across from the campus? What measures are shaping up to strengthen preservation ordinances in Fort Worth to prevent this from happening yet again?



#13 Zetna

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 03:28 PM

It sure looked a lot better in 2010 when I saw an article regarding it's rehab and reuse.....yeah, I'd call it "willful neglect"...you can look at a post above that states that the property will be used for a "new use" yet doesn't sound like parking...of course with the ups & downs in our economy one wonders what actually will get built......by then it won't matter as the Dillow House will be gone.....glad they were denied demolition, but makes me wonder what will happen next.....Dallas developers had a certain way of dealing w/ such protected structures in the 80's.

#14 Zetna

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 06:56 AM

To qmcgown: Here are a few old homes restored as conference centers...you have lots either side of the Dillow house you can use for parking or some additions...I would think renovation would be cheaper than demolition + new construction, unless the new construction is so cheap, but then is that something you want to be proud of and promote as a conference center? New plumbing and electrical will be much easier as it is pier and beam construction. The rear porches can be used as working spaces. I am not a licensed architect, but have been in the business for 30+ years. I will be happy to donate my time to do record drawings of the current floor plan layout and come up w/ design ideas to make a conference center workable within the house.

http://www.flickr.co...rds/4354843845/

http://www.neighbori...folio_hp_2.html

Also, Google the University of Tennessee conference center at 600 Henley St; a rehabbed Victorian house.....the Dillow house is much grander.

#15 Zetna

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:11 AM

No mention of saving Dillow House in this article, so even though it's designated a landmark it looks like TWC is banking on approval of its demolition.


http://www.star-tele...ms-to-turn.html

#16 dangr.dave

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:28 AM

Hey, I just saw this topic and that y'all have been referncing my photo. Pretty cool! Here is the photo of the Dillow House:

Posted Image
Dillow House, Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth by dangr.dave, on Flickr

Of note, the article says that a new 15,000-square-foot conference center will sit to the south of the university, across Rosedale. If you look at it on a Google map, the only area that could fit the center has the Dillow House right in the middle of it: https://maps.google....=15000&t=h&z=19

Also, they mention renovating a building that was once the old city hall and fire station. Here is what that building currently looks like:

Posted Image
Fire Station 14, Fort Worth by dangr.dave, on Flickr

and

Posted Image
Old Poly City Hall and Fire Station by dangr.dave, on Flickr

#17 John T Roberts

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:05 PM

TWU pulled the appeal of the Landmarks Commission from the agenda of the Appeals Board. As of right now, this means that the Landmarks Commission ruling stands. In other words, no demolition. However, I'm betting that there will be some other approach taken to have the house demolished.

#18 avvy

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:17 PM

Zetna, why do you say that architects and designers wouldn't incorporate original elements into a new structure? The MOLA at the FW Zoo has the old snake shaped door pulls, to name just one small example. This is just speculation, but I venture that the university wants a big modern conference center, or at least one that looks more retail than residential. But there is no reason not to use original fixtures and architectural elements.

Regarding willful neglect, I think it speaks volumes about the administration to sit on a property without making a decision one way or another. Question for anyone who might know - If they didn't want it, why didn't they try to find a buyer sooner?

#19 Zetna

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:31 PM

I am ignorant in the various ways one could go about to get demolition of a landmarked structure approved. I would think the release of this article in the Star-Telegram would give the school clout to do whatever the school needs to do to get the project started including trying to get the Landmarks Commission to approve eventual demolition. I am very surprised by the school and the architects involved that a landmarked structure was dismissed in the redesign of this area and that with all the monies obviously involved in this redesign there was nothing left for the house's restoration and any possible adaptive reuse.

#20 Zetna

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:46 PM

AWY- Being a designer myself I know way too many architects and designers that would not entertain the idea of incorporating elements from an earlier design...or at least in the original form the items were first presented. I guess it's a design ego thing and they don't want their ideas watered down with previous ideas....I mean it's one thing for a possible light fixture; it's another to include a staircase or any grand woodwork that gives a sense of the house....if you're saving just a tiny piece, like a light fixture, then why bother?

Yes, I'm sure the school wants a modern conference center, but why should it necessarily look more "retail" than "residential"? I mean, it's a school not a strip center and I'm sure that there are small meeting rooms, small event rooms and offices if not rooms for visiting professors that this house could accommodate. I just don't know why a landmarked structure the school has owned since 1979 was not part of the initial planning. This house is the grandest house in the area and was owned by a prominent family that helped the school, so I believe it should be saved.

#21 pelligrini

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:12 PM

TWU pulled the appeal of the Landmarks Commission from the agenda of the Appeals Board. As of right now, this means that the Landmarks Commission ruling stands. In other words, no demolition. However, I'm betting that there will be some other approach taken to have the house demolished.

 

Looks like it probably will be demolished. The Zoning Commission voted today to remove the Historic and Cultural overlay for the property. I don't think much consideration was given to John's opposition arguement.

 

I didn't much like some of the zoning councilmen's reasoning, especially the discussion about the costs to restore it. TWU said they wouldn't do anything with the house if they didn't get the zoning change. To me that basically said "It'll get torn down, but it is just going to have to fall down on it's own."



#22 John T Roberts

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:56 PM

Pelligrini, I didn't know you were going to be at the Zoning Commission Meeting today.  I was going to post my report about it after I returned, but I'm just now finding some down time.  You quoted my statement about taking another approach.  We had been hearing rumors that the university was going to try to work around the Landmarks Commission, but we just weren't sure how until the Zoning Commission's Agenda was posted.  I spoke on behalf of Historic Fort Worth, Inc.  I will be taking over as Chairman of that organization later this month.

 

The Zoning Commission voted 6-3 (I think) to recommend that Council removes the HC designation.  I spoke in opposition and Libby Willis, a neighborhood leader and preservationist, was there on another case and also spoke in opposition.  Even though my speech touched on the precedence set by side stepping Landmarks on this matter, she also talked on that subject.  In addition to that, she brought up how areas with historic buildings fare better economically than areas with all new construction. The crux of HFW’s presentation was that the Zoning Commission was not following procedure and that Landmarks should make their recommendation first being that A & B from TWU’s requests were voted on and C was not.

 

Here is what was on Landmarks agenda from August 13, 2012:

Applicant/Agent; Texas Wesleyan University

 

a.  The applicant requests a Certificate of Appropriatenss for the following:

A.  To demolish the structure based on loss of significance; if approved, then C; if denied, then B;

B.  To demolish the structrure based on economic hardship; if approved, then C;

C.  To remove designation of Historic and Cultural Landmark (HC).

 

Motion for Item A; demolition based on loss of significance: Deny because based on the evidence provided which indicates that the structure continues to contribute to the historic fabric of Fort Worth and has not lost any of its historic significance.

Vote: 6-0

Motion for Item B; demolition based on economic hardship: Deny the request because the applicant failed to prove with a preponderance of evidence that they would suffer an unreasonable economic hardship if the request was not approved.

Vote: 6-0

 

We need to look over the video of the meeting, but it was stated by the Legal Department that because Landmarks voted against A & B, it was assumed that they would vote against removing the designation (Item C).  I think it was also stated that both Landmarks and Zoning only give “recommendations” and that Landmarks was only really supposed to rule on “Certificates of Appropriateness” and they were not required to vote on removal of Historic and Cultural Landmark Designations.  I don’t think that is correct because Landmarks votes to recommend the zoning overlay for Historic and Cultural Landmark Designations.  You would think if they approve such designations, they would be the body that would recommend removal of such designations.  I still expressed my concern over the precedent that this could set here in the City.  The Zoning Commission stated they would do whatever they could to make sure that others won’t sidestep Landmarks.  They also stated that each case is different.  Chairwoman Ann Zadeh stated that this case appeared to be trying to work around the process.

 

Here is what I think happened.  Providing the removal of the HC designation is approved by City Council, the Legal Department and Zoning Commission basically gutted the Landmarks Commission and will create a situation where any property owner with a designated property will just go to Zoning and ask for removal of the designation with a fairly flimsy excuse.  Council will then approve because the Zoning Commission has recommended that approval. 

 

Pelligrini, I also agree with your comment about their reasoning.  I have a major problem with "Demolition by Neglect".

 

This could have a major impact on historic properties in the city.  I have also heard that this case has a large support on Council.  It would be wonderful if all of the preservationists in town attended the City Council meeting in mass on the day that they hear this case.  I'm officially urging everyone to attend who does not support demolition.



#23 dangr.dave

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:02 PM

I drove by the other day and all of the windows are boarded up.



#24 John T Roberts

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:42 PM

Yes, the windows are boarded up.  The building hasn't been occupied in about 5 years.  The university has tried to protect the building from vandals.



#25 Zetna

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:19 AM

http://www.star-tele...e-historic.html

 

Just saw this in the Star-Telegram....didn't know there was a hearing....I don't know what contractors they use, but using a number like $800,000 to restore!...I think they use numbers like that for justification of its demolition; of course, maybe if they kept up w/ maintenance in the first place! They said that the demolition was required for the entry to the new building....can't think of a nicer entry to a building than walking through that house! It seems like demolition is imminent...???



#26 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:39 AM

I probably should have notified all of you.  When I'm not busy, I try to post public meetings on the calendar.  Over the holidays, I put up all of the Landmarks Commission Meetings, but I didn't get to zoning.  Demolition is close, but it is not "imminent".  This case still has to go before City Council, and that will be in about one month.  However, I have on good authority that Council will approve the removal of the Historic and Cultural Overlay by a resounding margin.  After that point, the university will be able to demolish the house.  As for the estimate for restoration, I thought the numbers were a little high.  In my presentation to the Zoning Commission, I mentioned that we had a couple of architects and engineers on Historic Fort Worth's Public Affairs Committee.  The Commission asked me if we had made a formal cost estimate.  I told him no, that our examination of the house was only from the exterior.  The house still has good bones.  I have seen photographs of the interior, and there is some fire damage inside, but it still appears there is enough left for restoration.  Historic Fort Worth decided that since we did not have any economic numbers to back anything up, we chose to argue about proper procedure being followed, as it appears the university tried to work around the Landmarks Commission.  The City Attorney's office refuted our position, stating that proper procedures were followed and Landmarks were not required to vote on removal of designations.  I really need to review our preservation ordinance with a fine tooth comb.  It also looks as if this is something an attorney should examine.



#27 Zetna

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:40 PM

Thanks John. I am ignorant of the ways of how the Landmarks Commission vs. Zoning Commission vs. Historic and Cultural Overlays, etc. all work together. Is there a place where I can find this info. or is it basically knowledge someone gains working through the process? I'm not sure why the council would remove the Historic and Cultural Overlay...is this because they would it is a better benefit to the community for the university to proceed w/ its plans?...or a larger tax base issue?..not sure why they would do that unless the place was falling in due to fire or total neglect....I still wonder why the university did not intend to keep the house as part of their master plan when designing the new building....and that they can afford a new building, but not maintain the house.  I too have looked at the house's exterior and have seen historic houses in much worse shape be restored for 1/4 of that $800,000 on the southside.



#28 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:11 PM

You're welcome, Zetna.  First of all, I'm going to provide a link to the Historic Preservation Ordinance.  It's a 28 page PDF file, so there is much more than I can explain here.  You may read it and make your own determination.  Here's the link: http://fortworthtexa...g/ord/4_500.pdf  A Historic and Cultural Overlay is an overlay zoning.  The Landmarks Commission hears cases to approve or deny Certificates of Appropriateness to remodel, add on to, alter, or even demolish designated properties.  If you are seeking a Certificate of Appropriateness to alter the facade of your home or business, the decision of the Landmarks Commission is final.  If you don't like the decision, then you can go to the Appeals Board and make your case there.  Another function of the Landmarks Commission is to determine whether a property (or district) is worthy of being designated any of the various levels of historic designation within the city.  Once they determine a property meets these standards, then that commission's recommendations go to the Zoning Commission, since this is technically a zoning overlay.  The Zoning Commission hears their case, and then makes their recommendations to City Council.  Please make a note here that both Landmarks and Zoning only make a recommendation.  They are not the final hearing on whether a property is designated as a landmark.  City Council makes that final determination.  The Council takes into consideration those recommendations, but they do not have to follow them. 



#29 Zetna

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:18 PM

Thanks again John for the link. It sounds like Landmarks and Zoning have a say, but final decision is by the City Council. Even if the Landmarks Commission made a recommendation or whether it was proper procedure or not, you have on "good authority that Council will approve the removal of the Historic and Cultural Overlay by a resounding margin.  After that point, the university will be able to demolish the house"...sounds like demolition is pretty imminent to me. Sounds also like the Landmarks Commission doesn't have "any teeth" and City Council has all the power to say "yay" or "nay"...kind of like the Ridglea Theater issue back a few years; luckily that building found a buyer. Unfortunately, it makes me wonder whether TWU even considered the Dillow House in it's initial design or that it knew it was a "big player" in Fort Worth and can get what it wants from the City Council. Are there other ideas to save the structure?



#30 Zetna

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

John, could you post that link again? It wouldn't upload and said "page couldn't be displayed". I looked under Fort Worth Historic Preservation and there are many planning, development, tax and other links; not sure which link it is. Thanks.



#31 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:39 PM

Zetna, you are correct in your assessment of things.  I have now found out that City Council will hear this case on February 5th.  It is a night meeting, so preservationists could pack the house.  However, it probably won't do any good. 

 

As for how imminent the demolition would be, they can't tear it down until after February 5th, providing Council approves.  It will take a day or so to get the demolition permit approved in permitting.  My guess would be that the house has roughly four weeks before they start demolishing it. 

 

I found out why my link didn't work.  I ended my sentence with a period after the link and the forum read the period as a part of the link.  I have corrected that in my reply, but I will also post the link again below.

 

http://fortworthtexa...g/ord/4_500.pdf



#32 RD Milhollin

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:14 PM

The Dillow House issue made the 6:00 PM CBS Channel 11 news tonight.



#33 renamerusk

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:48 PM

Also included on the property is the old City Hall of Polytechnic that served both as municipal headquarters and central fire station. It was built in 1914 and served the separately incorporated city until Polytechnic was annexed by Fort Worth in 1922. The City Hall structure will be preserved as part of the larger redevelopment of that block of East Rosedale.

As a personal aside, Texas Wesleyan has received its share of criticism over the years about its stewardship of its historic resources. I have sometimes led some of that criticism. That said, when the University made the tough, and still controversial to some, decision not to abandon the neighborhood that grew up around it, I could not have been prouder. I wish the school had had the resources available to preserve more of the original campus structures, but it had to focus, and rightly so, on the business of providing a fabulous education to those students who chose, and choose, to attend. The buildings it prioritized for preservation, and which serve as touchstones to the University's impressive history, include the 1902 Administration Building and the Sanguinet and Staats designed Dan Waggoner Hall, built in 1917, and the 1909 Fine Arts Building, originally home of Polytechnic Methodist Episcopal Church, South, now Poltechnic United Methodist Church. It breaks my heart to see the Dillow House go, but the new partnership between the University and the Central Texas Conference is precisely the kind of renewing effort Audrey Dillow hoped her gift would promote.

 

Sorry gmcgown for the belated sentiment, but welcome to the forum.

 

I agree with your wishes for Texas Wesleyan.  I love TWU too.  I am excited, as must be yourself,  about the news in 2012 that Texas Wesleyan Law is now the Texas A&M flagship site for its Jurisprudence Program.  

 

Such a state wide and prominent program will likely require a significant upgrade in facilities that the current downtown Fort Worth location does not presently provide for and the enormous the interest and subsequent enrollment which is sure to follow. With the city’s strategy to upgrade and improve the East Rosedale/Poly corridor, perhaps we can hope that the improvements that are being undertaken now at TWU and Fort Worth is a precursor of a major announcement of A&M investing in the TWU campus.  It would certainly be the best and most wonderful thing to happen to Poly in a very long time.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for this to happen.

 

Keep Fort Worth folksy



#34 Zetna

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:44 AM

Renamerusk, the upgrade in facilities and programs are indeed great for TWU, but your comment skirts the issue of probable demolition of a historic landmark.

 

John, again I am ignorant of City Council protocol. What time is the night meeting and do you just listen to both sides?...do you speak?



#35 renamerusk

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:54 PM

Renamerusk, the upgrade in facilities and programs are indeed great for TWU, but your comment skirts the issue of probable demolition of a historic landmark.....

 

Yes, I fully agree with your remark.  I am almost always saddened by the loss of our structures of antiquity even though the structures themselves may not hold any architectural significance; sometimes duration is simply enough for me.  Aged structures are the 3D postcards to our past and provide us with a reminder as to the way our cityscape of previous generations was truly like.

 

With the coming of Texas A&M Law to Fort Worth, my hope for its eventual location to the main campus of TWU is that presence of one of the state's premier institution become the catalyst for a well overdue revitalization to Poly, an area of the city with is often maligned.

 

I do hope that the Dillow House can be saved. It is hard to imagine that a new purpose can not be found for its use.

 

Keep Fort Worth folksy.



#36 RD Milhollin

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:36 PM

I never heard that the A&M Law School was going to go anywhere other than where the Wesleyan Law School is now. Do you know something you just let slip, or did I miss something said previously? I really think some sort of property sway should take place so that A&M school gets the TCC medical school/bunker; that location is right next to a major law and justice center that would be an excellent external classrooms for law students and provide great opportunities for internships. Having some affordable student housing next door would help though. The county could get the Wesleyan downtown property in return and sell it to developers looking for hotel/office/retail adjacent to the Convention Center. Might be a good place for a future casino  :smwink:



#37 renamerusk

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:51 PM

I never heard that the A&M Law School was going to go anywhere other than where the Wesleyan Law School is now. Do you know something you just let slip, or did I miss something said previously? I really think some sort of property sway should take place so that A&M school gets the TCC medical school/bunker; that location is right next to a major law and justice center that would be an excellent external classrooms for law students and provide great opportunities for internships. Having some affordable student housing next door would help though. The county could get the Wesleyan downtown property in return and sell it to developers looking for hotel/office/retail adjacent to the Convention Center. Might be a good place for a future casino  :smwink:

 

I have no knowledge of anything about their plans.  I have just rekindled the Law School tread of an earlier date hopefully to generate some further debate. 

 

The bottom line for me, unless convinced otherwise, is that it is time to spread prosperity to the city's other neighborhoods and away from a very prosperous downtown.



#38 Zetna

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:57 AM

Again, I am naive about the workings of the council. I see that the meeting will be held @7:00 on Feb. 5. I went online to look at the agenda and it seems that ZC-12-138 in the only item regarding TWU and regards a zoning change, but no mention of demolition. For those in the know is this correct?



#39 Zetna

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:45 PM

Nevermind.....I was able to get into the link and it does request demolition.



#40 Zetna

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:34 AM

Here is an article I found regarding the redevelopment. If the clock tower is at Rosedale and Vaughn as the article states doesn't that mean that the Dillow House just to the east will be demolished for some of the parking shown?

 

http://fwbusinesspre...859&TM=43343.21



#41 renamerusk

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:29 PM

Here is an article I found regarding the redevelopment. ...

 

Thanks for sharing the plans for the redevelopment of the TWU campus.  The plans are a wonderful surprise; and a great and much welcomed commitment and investment in the Poly/Southeast Fort Worth neighborhoods by all involved. 

 

The plans also give me great hope that Texas A&M will choose to locate the new law school on TWU main campus too; something that I was advocating earlier in this thread (blog#35). 

 

Keep Fort Worth folksy



#42 Zetna

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

Texas A & M will be giving an extra 25 million to the exist 38 million TWU has in its endowment...yes, all good, but you'd think they'd then have the money to keep, restore & use this home as part of their plan. 



#43 avvy

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:25 PM

I admire your dedication to the Dillow House, Zetna. 

 

I could see it turned into a nice little office building, somehow incorporated into the plan. It would be an attractive structure restored, and something that would attract pedestrians I think.



#44 avvy

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:33 PM

http://www.star-tele...e-historic.html

 

Is the property really only worth $11,500????



#45 renamerusk

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:47 PM

Texas A & M will be giving an extra 25 million to the exist 38 million TWU has in its endowment...yes, all good, but you'd think they'd then have the money to keep, restore & use this home as part of their plan. 

 

A&M contribution is really very exciting news.  I am beginning to believe that something really wonderful is actually on the horizon for Poly/SE Fort Worth; an area that has persevered so long in distress.   

 

Texas A&M is perhaps the crown jewel in Texas higher education and it will be such a honor and privilege for this little campus, and indeed the entire city, to be the home of A&M's latest jewels.



#46 Zetna

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:55 AM

Thanks Awy...I really do think this is an important landmark for the area and can be reused even if attached at the rear to a new structure. Yes, I saw the $11,500 number too....this is probably what it's worth on the tax roll and it is a depressed area.

 

I may be wrong on the parking lot thing...I saw the article I listed and together with another article saying that the lot was to become part of the 'campus entry" that is what I deduced. I have since found another article that shows a Freese & Nichols rendering looking to the southeast of the proposed clock tower. It shows a building taking up between 1/2 to 2/3 of the eastern side of that block w/ vacant land between  Vaughn and the west edge of the proposed structure. The old city hall still remaining on the block.



#47 cberen1

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:38 AM

Texas A&M is perhaps the crown jewel in Texas higher education and it will be such a honor and privilege for this little campus, and indeed the entire city, to be the home of A&M's latest jewels.

 

I know this will be offensive to some around here so I'll apologize in advance, but as a graduate of Texas A&M with a wife who graduated from TWU Law, I want nothing but distance between A&M and TWU.  It's tempting to think that an affiliation with A&M (or any deep pocketed university for that matter) would be just what the doctor ordered to bring TWU back from the brink.  Instead I think TWU would lose what's left of it's soul, and to be frank it wouldn't do A&M any favors either.  I, for one, would not support moving Texas A&M Law from downtown.

 

TWU needs to find its identity, and grow through that.  I'm encouraged by the campus project and the media blitz they've got going on.  Hopefully that turns into something real for them.  They seem to have some leadership momentum on campus which is important.  What they really need now is an economic redevelopment partner to help revitalize the area.  Their surroundings are their biggest constraint right now IMHO, although they've got a bunch of stuff stacked agaist them.



#48 John T Roberts

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:31 PM

It appears that several presentation groups are planning to attend or speak at tomorrow's City Council meeting regarding the lifting of the Designation on the Dillow House.  The council meets at 7:00 PM and you can sign up in advance online, if you wish to speak.



#49 renamerusk

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:59 PM

...I want nothing but distance between A&M and TWU.  It's tempting to think that an affiliation with A&M (or any deep pocketed university for that matter) would be just what the doctor ordered to bring TWU back from the brink.  Instead I think TWU would lose what's left of it's soul, and to be frank it wouldn't do A&M any favors either. ... What they really need now is an economic redevelopment partner to help revitalize the area.  Their surroundings are their biggest constraint right now IMHO....

 

I respect your opinion, but feel compelled morally to disagree.

 

It is not easy to resist the temptation of suburban flight especially when your surroundings are so dismal.  But like all good charitable organizations, colleges and churches believe that they must be on the front line to combat despair and abandonment.  TWU has an abundance of soul and goodwill; and the city is and should be grateful.

 

Yes, TWU and Poly/Southeast Fort Worth badly need economic redevelopment; but when no private economic development group is willing to take a chance in an area, then it is incumbent for the city and the state to do it to overt further decline.

 

What is Texas A&M to College Station but economic development? Should Fort Worth expect nothing less than for its state institutions to play a similar economic development role when they can do so by helping to revitalize or stabilize one of its poor neighborhoods?  State colleges not only develop people but they have also played a role in developing communities: UTA in downtown Arlington, UNT in South Dallas. 

 

I love what has happened to downtown Fort Worth, West Side, Near South Side and the North Side, yet hardly anything game changing has happened east of I-35W.  Texas A&M could be the permanent game changer needed to finally give the East Side a chance and that, I would suggest, is a huge favor to their purpose of improving peoples lives in Texas and to our city.



#50 Zetna

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:17 AM

John,

 

Was there any incorrect procedure found when TWU bypassed appeals and went straight to zoning? I know you had said that if Landmarks votes for the zoning overlay they should also be the ones to recommend its removal to zoning. Was this found to be true?






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