Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pace House relocation more than just an "old Garland home" project

By Louis Moore

More than just a saga about efforts to save two old houses, the controversy that erupted in spring 2013 over the city’s plans to demolish the Lyles and Pace Houses has been a much-needed catalyst to push Garland to take some needed steps in the arena of historic preservation.

Had the bulldozers been allowed to move against the homes a year ago in May, Garland would have lost much, much more than just the two historic homes that the city owned.

Likewise, had the city quickly opted to spend more than $600,000 in borrowed funds to undo the imbroglio it created when it underestimated the public’s reaction that would ensue from its plans to raze the Lyles and Pace Houses to make way for more apartments, the victory would have been shallow and hollow. Just saving the Lyles and Pace Houses alone would not have stopped the bulldozers and the apathy in the rest of the historic downtown community toward its privately owned historic housing stock.

In 1982 the Texas Historical Commission surveyed the city to determine Garland’s inventory of historic homes. A quick follow-up I conducted a few months ago to learn the status of those homes revealed that somewhere between 25 to 30 percent of those historic beauties identified in the survey as historic and worth saving have been torn down and at least another 20 percent are lacking in the proper care they deserve to prevent their eventual demolition.

For four decades Garland’s leaders have puzzled over why the city’s historic downtown business area was crumbling so badly year by year. They may not have considered that the city’s own laisse-faire approach to historic homes in the downtown area could have been a major culprit. For whatever reason, the city allowed any institution or individual with title to any historic home to demolish it at will without taking into account what the destruction would do to surrounding homeowners or businesses—let alone to the whole community and to the business and tax base in downtown Garland.

When downtown was thriving some 40 years ago—yes, my wife, Kay, and I well remember those glory days—so were the nearby single- family housing communities in downtown Garland. Now that the vast majority of the single-family housing stock in the downtown area has been destroyed or lies in ruins, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the correlation. The city today is spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on new apartments and other amenities trying to draw people back into the downtown area and revive an important but depleted part of the city which it for too long has ignored.

The Lyles and Pace Houses became the rallying cry for those of us who cherish this city’s history, want to see it preserved, and desire somehow to correct four decades of benign neglect and abuse. We are grateful for those who live outside the Downtown area that have joined in the crusade with the tiny group of us who still live in single-family homes in the downtown area.

The compromise plan hammered out over the long months of debate over the fate of the two historic houses now sets the stage to accomplish much, much more—and at a much fairer price tag to taxpayers—than had the city simply agreed to pay the original $600,000-plus that was debated.

The Lyles House rightfully will remain under city ownership. Under the leadership of Mayor Douglas Athas, City Council has agreed to spend $179,000 to move the home to an area that it once shied away from using—city-owned land next to the historic rail car and rail station in the new Walnut Corridor near the new Fourth Street Crossing. Its full and future restoration now rests in how a public/private partnership will be put together and will work to raise funds to restore the home into a museum of early Garland life.

The Pace House will go into private ownership. After a long and arduous bureaucratic journey the city is preparing to accept the only offer it had to keep the house in historic downtown. Other bonafide, written offers were to move the house to another Texas city and to some unidentified area in Garland.

Presuming City Council approves on July 1 the final resolution to this matter, my wife and I will spend nearly the same amount on the move and restoration of the Pace House that the city will spend on the Lyles House to relocate the 1895-vintage Pace home onto the one vacant lot remaining in our neighborhood in Garland’s first historic district, created on May 20 by a unanimous City Council action at the urging of all of our neighbors and us.

Our same neighborhood which unanimously petitioned City Council for the historic designation also enthusiastically supports our desire to adopt the Pace House into our neighborhood—the Travis College Hill Historic District, lying on South 11th Street (the original Garland Avenue!) between West Avenues B and D. We and our neighbors recognize that the relocation of the Pace House—to the center of our historic district—and its historicity and beauty will function as another “crown jewel” for our area, one of the few remaining intact neighborhoods in downtown Garland.

Unlike the Oaks organization that is building the new downtown apartments, Kay and I will get no financial help from the city to take this plunge. No tax abatement. No financial incentive. Nothing. Once the trailer bearing the Pace House begins its move from behind the Patty Granville Performing Arts Center, all costs and liability become our responsibility. We will even be paying the city’s many building permit fees that will be required, for the city’s street lights that will have to be temporarily moved during the relocation, and all the other associated costs—and then later the high privilege of paying taxes to the city, county and school district on the restored property. Not a bad deal at all for the city from a house it nearly bulldozed 13 months ago!

Why would we do this? Because we love Historic Downtown Garland and we love living here. We want to see the entire area revived, restored, and highly respected—and not torn down nor filled with apartments, used-car lots, church-parking lots, and the distant dream of more consumer-friendly businesses returning somehow, some way, some day to the downtown area.

The 1895 vintage Queen Anne-style Pace House will sit alongside our other historic homes, five of which date to 1915-1918 and the other five which date to the 1920s through 1960. (One additional home built in 2002 will join the rest of the houses in our neighborhood as “historic” in only 38 more years.)

Unlike its sister cities in the Dallas Metroplex and most cities its size and larger around the entire country, Garland has lagged woefully far, far behind in establishing preservation laws and guidelines for historic homes and other historic structures. For that reason Garland had already lost a significant chunk of its historic homes, with more targeted to join the march to the landfill.

I believe that based on their track records and other actions so far this year, our mayor and city council have the conviction and courage to now tackle the issue of historical preservation to its logical conclusion and a positive outcome. The door has now been opened so these leaders can walk through it without fighting a political firestorm and bring about a new era in Garland history where past and present merge in a beautiful marriage of mutual respect and harmony.

What makes our neighborhood different is that we voluntarily banded together, generated our own voluntary preservation standards, requested that City Council endorse our quest, and intend to continue to build the model for what Historic Downtown Garland really should have been like all along—and what it should look like in the future.

Our standards include Garland’s first-ever restrictions on the demolition of historic houses. These protect only the 11 houses currently in our district—and the umbrella will extend to the Pace House once it is in place—but could be used as a roadmap for other areas in the downtown area, nearby, or in other parts of Garland.

Government-sponsored, beautiful apartments are commendable, especially surrounding the new modern DART rail station and along Fourth and Fifth Streets, where the devastation was apparent to anyone arriving at the train stop in downtown. After four decades of neglect, some strong catalysts were necessary in those areas to get the economic and social engines firing again and to get this important job done in downtown.

The free enterprise system does work best, however, in areas like ours when city government recognizes its role of supporting and enabling citizens—such as those of us in our new Historic District—to keep and maintain their homes and helps them hold back the forces of destruction and evil that have ruined far too many other inner cities across the nation!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

History of Travis College Hill Historic District in Garland, TX

On May 20, 2014, the Garland (TX) City Council unanimously approved a resolution recognizing the Travis College Hill Addition in Garland as the city's first officially designated historic district. Included in that resolution was Addendum A, the History of Travis College Hill, researched and written by Louis and Kay Moore. The Dallas Morning News published the entire 13-page history online and other media outlets have published excerpts from that history in articles about the new Historic District.

Since that document is crucial to what I will be writing about in this blog, I want to share this with my readers here:

Garland’s South 11th Street (the first Garland Avenue):
a former prominent byway worthy of special recognition

Today the name Garland Avenue represents a stretch of road that extends to the President George Bush Freeway at one of its ends and passes White Rock Lake (after the street becomes Garland Road in Dallas) on another.

But a century ago, Garland Avenue was a thoroughfare situated in a totally different location than is the current byway of that name. Only a few blocks long, the first Garland Avenue was a wide residential street that housed some of Garland’s finest homes and some of its most prominent citizens. The remaining two-block portion of the street produced three Garland mayors, a GISD school-board president, and five city councilmen (or aldermen, as they were called until 1956), as well as some of the city’s best-known civic, political, and religious leaders.

Garland residents from the early part of the last century recall it as Garland’s silk-stocking district.1,2 It was believed to be the first street in town to have concrete sidewalks. 3 Its dwellings represented some of the finest examples of that day’s architecture—definitely a coveted spot for families of that era to make their homes.  The fact that the first Garland Avenue was titled to bear the name of its city hints of the street’s preeminence.

Today this street is known to Garland citizens as South 11th Street. Although only a few of those grand homes of a former day exist, many of these almost 100-year-old structures have been painstakingly maintained and restored. If they could talk, they would tell of their owners’ hosting weddings and wedding receptions, the lying-in-state of deceased loved ones, countless teas and club meetings, and parties honoring current and future political leaders, including both former Presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush when they were making early runs for office.

This report will explain why this street and the surrounding addition became so prominent and will examine the historic context in which the addition was created. It also will give a summary of each dwelling in the remaining intact two-block area and will demonstrate why this rare collection of Garland residences from bygone eras merits special recognition that acknowledges their distinction.

The context:

Garland was formed from the merger of two settlements—Embree and Duck Creek. A rivalry had ensued as the area began to grow around the Santa Fe Railroad depot. To settle a dispute about which town should have the post office, postal officials opted to move the post office between the two towns and name it Garland, to honor U.S. Attorney General A.H. Garland. 4 No vote was ever taken by either township to merge with the other, says Garland historian Mike Hayslip. The merger simply began occurring after the post office issue and a parallel court suit were settled. With mail to both Duck Creek and Embree now addressed to Garland, other official government records, such as the federal census, began to follow suit in using the name Garland for both areas. In 1891 the City of Garland was formally incorporated, marking the official beginning of the City of Garland, he says. Before that neither Embree nor Duck Creek had been legally incorporated and officially recognized. 5

Two decades after the legal incorporation of Garland, townspeople of the new Texas city of Garland continued their efforts toward fashioning a consolidated community that would have a separate identity from either of its former antecedent towns.

In 1910, Garland was a stand-alone, small rural town of 804 people. By 1920 the city’s population almost doubled to 1,421. 6 Only decades later would anyone even begin to fathom this tiny community as becoming the fifth largest city in the huge, world-class Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.7

That crucial decade between 1910 and 1920 was formative not only for the city’s growth but also for the new city’s identity and future.  

In this tumultuous decade, which saw the nation plunge into World War I and emerge as a leading world power:

1.     Garland’s business center served rural residents from miles around who arrived in their horse-drawn carriages and wagons for their weekly shopping and other activities. The hub of economic activity was the downtown area formed around the city’s new “Square”, which was deeded to the city in 1899 after the “great fire” destroyed much of the town’s commercial center. 8 The people who operated these centers of commerce lived either close by in the countryside or within the new city’s limits.
2.     The migration from farm to city that was beginning to occur all across America focused the attention of local farmers on Garland as a place for better educational and advancement opportunities for their children and better socialization means for their entire families. During this decade some built “second” homes in Garland to take advantage of the opportunities the new city afforded and others moved their families entirely to the new city. 9
3.     Garland found itself swept up in the nation’s shift from the old “horse-and-buggy” days to the modern era of electric trolleys and gasoline-driven automobiles.  Garland was targeted to become a major stop on the new Interurban electric trolley line linking Dallas to Greenville. The Interurban was somewhat akin to the DART rail system of today that links Dallas with its suburbs. 10

Amid the excitement of the era, those with a keen eye for development began to look for ways to help Garland grow by creating “additions” (now called subdivisions) that would house newcomers. One of these new additions, which was among the larger ones, was the Interurban Land Company’s Travis College Hill Addition, which was legally platted and incorporated on January 3, 1913, utilizing farm land on the western “outskirts” of Garland, 11 now part of that which is designated by current Garland planners as “Uptown Garland”. 12

Travis College Hill Addition was carved out of a 73 1/3-acre tract owned at the time by early Garland pioneers Richard C. and Sallie F. Walker Wyatt. The tract originally was part of the Letter Patent No. 245 of the Nacogdoches District of Dallas County from Texas Governor E. M. Pease to James L. Blue on June 2, 1854. 13

Developer R.O. Travis joined with Garland landowner and community leader Wyatt to inaugurate the Travis College Hill Addition on Wyatt’s property on the western edge of town that abutted the planned route of the new Interurban trolley line.

Uncertainty exists in directly linking the Interurban Land Company, which developed the addition, with the Eastern Traction Company, which planned and owned the Interurban. However, a stated goal of the Eastern Traction Company was to increase the populations of city-stops along the Interurban route by at least 25 percent in order to make the Interurban more profitable. Thus, the land company’s actions meshed with the Eastern Traction Company’s goal. 14

Landowner Wyatt was a brother-in-law to Eastern Traction Company stockholder and Garland civic leader A.J. Beaver. Wyatt’s family home was situated on the northern end of what is now 11th Street, slightly north of the boundaries of the new Travis College Hill Addition. 15

A.J. Beaver and his nephew, farmer James Beaver, and James’ wife, Edith (for whom Garland ISD’s Edith Beaver Elementary School was later named), became some of the first homeowners and residents in the new addition. 16

The Travis College Hill Addition would have been particularly attractive to buyers because the Interurban railway was designed to provide a means for residents to quickly get to and from downtown Dallas and/or downtown Greenville and all spots in between. Eastbound travelers were supposed to travel quickly to such cities as Rockwall, Royse City, and Greenville. The westbound route was to run straight from Garland to downtown Dallas. Garland was viewed as a major hub for this particular Interurban line. At the time similar Interurban trolleys were developing all across Texas to link major cities and their neighbors. 17

In that day on the eve of Henry Ford’s expansion of the automobile few people had private cars; most people still traveled by horse and buggy. Although it is not known exactly where railcar stops were planned in Garland, the proposed route of the Interurban was to travel directly up and down Mewshaw Avenue (now Avenue D), which was the local link to the main road to Dallas. Mewshaw formed the southern boundary of the new Travis College Hill Addition18 ; very likely a stop near the addition would have been contemplated.

Thus, a property owner could have been attracted to buy a piece of property in the Travis College Hill Addition with the enticement of being only a stone’s throw from an Interurban stop.

The new addition also held a number of other conveniences that added to its appeal.

The original 42 lots in Travis College Hill were either (depending on their location) 50- or 65-feet wide by either 190- or 175-feet in length. 19 The lot sizes were adequate not only for houses but also water wells, outhouses, chicken coops, small barns, gardens, and small orchards, all of which flourished in the early days of the addition. Evidence of these elements remain today in the yards and homes of some of the current addition residents.

Property owners in the new Travis College Hill Addition not only would have enjoyed close proximity to shopping around Garland’s “Square” but also an easy walk to the city’s four Protestant churches—Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Christian (Disciples)—that formed the nucleus of Garland’s bustling religious life in that day. 20

The new addition also had adjacent to its northeast corner the sole educational institution in town. At that time Garland had only one school, which was situated between what was then “Hill Street” and “Thorpe Street” at “First Street” (today’s Avenues A and B and 9th Street). The school accommodated all grades. Previously it had been known as Garland College, a subscription school founded in 1887. Its curriculum covered primary, high school and college levels, thus the name “college”. Voters in 1901 approved a school district, today known as the Garland ISD, and held public classes in the Garland College building. 21 At some point the college curriculum was dropped, but no records seem to exist of the exact date; it could have occurred around the time of the 1901 election and decision for the school district to take over the school building. GISD was never intended to include college-level curriculum, Hayslip says. 22

 According to topographical maps, the school also sat on the crest of one of the higher elevations in the original city. 23 Perhaps this was the reason Avenue A was originally named “Hill Street”, although some have wondered whether the street was named for Confederate General A.P. Hill, who had no connection with Garland except through Southern history.

Thus the Addition’s name likely was derived from:
1.     R.O. Travis, the developer
2.     Its proximity to the school, once known as a “college”, and
3.     The location of the “college” on the “hill”.

At the heart of the Travis College Hill addition was the very first Garland Avenue, a name that would continue to be used repeatedly throughout the city’s history for other thoroughfares. The fact that the present 11th Street was originally named Garland Avenue hints of its preeminence in the addition and thus in the 21-year-old city as well.

Because of everything already mentioned, the new addition began attracting—and would continue to do so—many of Garland’s civic, religious, commercial, and educational leaders. Later in this document we will identify by name and date the collection of mayors, city council members, school officials, and civic, business, and religious leaders who lived on one stretch of old Garland Avenue.

As the decade progressed, the Eastern Traction Company slipped into bankruptcy and then oblivion after citizens, including Garland stockholders, began to question how their dollars were being spent to build the new railway. The Interurban never ran between Dallas and Garland or Garland to Greenville. The Interurban dream was soon demolished by the upheaval of World War I and the arrival of Henry Ford’s mass-produced Model T automobile. Over the next two decades other Interurban lines across Texas deteriorated and faded from history, too. 24

While urban archaeologists have much difficulty even finding remnants of the construction sites for the Eastern Traction Company’s trolley line through Garland, the Travis College Hill Addition still exists as a historical monument to Garland’s life a century ago and the dream of an electric-car line that never was.

In the intervening 101 years most of the historic homes in the original Travis College Hill Addition have been destroyed and the land on which they sat used for church buildings and church parking lots. Today only a tiny core of the old addition remains, centered mostly on that which lies between the current Avenues B and D along South 11th Street (the old Garland Avenue). 

The six most historic homes, which date to 1915-1918, in the two-block strip being recommended to become Garland's first Historic Residential Neighborhood sat on two or three lots each. Except for the property at 313 S. 11th St., over the years the combined lots for the other five homes were subdivided to make way for the five additional homes, built between the 1930s and 2001, and for road expansions (Avenues B and D, today a.k.a. State Highways 78 and 66). 25

The homes:

301 South 11th Street—Perhaps one of the most significant residences in the two-block area, this yellow one-story is an extremely fine representation of the Craftsman-style home that was popular in the early 1900s. Andrew Jackson Beaver built the house. He was a grocer whose store was situated on the town square’s north side near where Jones Hardware now stands. Beaver was a Garland alderman and was married to the former Ella Walker, who had moved to Texas from Tennessee and was a sister to Sallie F. Walker Wyatt (mentioned in the earlier paragraph about Travis College Hill.) Built in 1915, it housed the Beavers and their two children who still lived at home—Ilma and Ralph. Beaver obtained plans for the house from his wife’s cousin, Slater B. Wyatt, a Plano doctor who had built an almost identical one on Plano’s 16th Street in 1908 (the Wyatt house remains standing in Plano and bears a historical marker). 301 South 11th backed up to a cotton field in the area currently occupied by the Garland High School campus (high school was still being conducted in a building on 9th Street; the current high-school site was farm land until the new campus was finished in 1936).

Originally painted gray in color, the spacious front porch with its distinctive Craftsman-style columns was the scene of the 1919 wedding of the Beavers’ daughter, Ilma Hortense, to Samuel Robert Weir, who operated a drugstore on the north side of the square, where Baker Furniture is today. The Weirs and their daughter, Hortense, born a year later, lived in the dwelling alongside the Beavers until 1924, when they moved to a house of their own. However, after A.J. Beaver (who also served as Garland school board president) died in 1935, the Weirs moved back in to take care of Mrs. Beaver until her passing a few months later in 1936. Sam Weir died in 1963, but Mrs. Weir lived on in the house almost until the time of her passing at age 91 in 1988. (The Weirs’ daughter Virginia and granddaughter Elizabeth Ann had their wedding receptions on the site as well.)

Now beautifully maintained by current residents Dale and Hillary Adams, 301 South 11th Street is painted butter yellow with a red front door. The current Avenue B, which passes the dwelling on its north side, did not exist in the house’s early days and was the home’s driveway, which the city expanded for constructing a street when the new high school opened in 193626

309 South 11th Street—This one-story frame cottage once was the home of Fred Holmes and his wife, Willie Kate Holmes. Fred was a printer for the Garland Daily News and later for other papers in the U.S.; Willie Kate was a clubwoman from Garland’s early days and organized the Willie Kate Holmes Preschool Mothers Club.  She was daughter of Will Asa Holford, longtime editor of the Garland Daily News. Her son, Bill Holmes, and her daughter, Sue Holmes Watkins, both have had lifetimes of civic involvement in Garland; Sue worked for the Garland Daily News and still writes a column about Garland for the Neighbors Go section of the Dallas Morning News. Bill wrote an article of memoirs about growing up on 11th Street as he lived at the 309 South 11th Street address.. 27
The home currently is owned by Louis and Kay Wheeler Moore and is maintained as investment property.

311 South 11th Street—Carl “Mac” McCarty and wife Ann, who lived in 309 South 11th Street after the Holmes family relocated and while their three children attended Garland High School in the late 1950s and early 1960s, built this one-story tan brick structure on a portion of the original 309 S. 11th St. property after their children were grown. Then they sold the 309 property. As a widow Ann McCarty remained in the home almost up until her passing in 2007. The three McCarty children—Jerry, Carolyn Eads, and Carl—currently own the home. Carl, an engineer, is the house’s present occupant. 28

313 South 11th Street—This one-story, Prairie-style frame home dates to 1916 and originally was the home of James E. and Edith Lola McCollum Beaver. Jim Beaver was a farmer; Edith managed the school cafeteria when all 12 grades met beneath one roof on 9th Street before the current high school was built in 1936. The family donated some of its farmland off Jupiter near Buckingham so the school district could build Edith Beaver Elementary, named for Mrs. Beaver and opened in 1960. Jim was a nephew to A.J. Beaver, mentioned earlier as having built the house at 301 S. 11th. 29

Shortly after Jim Beaver passed in 1938, H.A. (Bud) and Evelyn Walker purchased the home and lived in it until the early 1960s. Bud Walker was president of Garland’s First National Bank and became a Garland councilman and later mayor. Evelyn was a long-time Garland elementary-school teacher. In a major renovation in the early 1950s the Walkers removed the large L-shaped front porch to build an additional bedroom, greatly expanded the living and dining rooms, and added closets in the master bedroom, which had none.30

Current owners and occupants of the house are Louis and Kay Wheeler Moore. Kay grew up down the street at 412 South 11th and remembers bringing her homework papers to 313 to give to Mrs. Walker, her 2nd-grade teacher. The Moores have reinstated a large front porch, added a music room, converted an enclosed breezeway and old garage into an office suite, built a new two-car garage inside a gated courtyard, and have added a two-story crafts studio in a separate building in the back yard, among many other updates. 31  

317 South 11th Street—This new lot was created in 2013 when the Garland City Council voted unanimously to close West Avenue C from South 11th Street to the alley between the homes on the street and Garland High School and sell the right of way to Louis and Kay Wheeler Moore, who own both sides of that street segment. Once mostly used as a driveway for the 401 S. 11th property, the street segment in recent years was nicknamed by the neighborhood  “Marijuana Avenue” because of the rampant illegal drug activity that occurred there on almost all school days.  After the Moores obtained ownership of the right of way, they merged 20 feet from their 401 S. 11th investment property with the 40-foot right of way to create in a replat a new 60-foot-by-190-foot lot that meets today’s city standards for development.32 The Moores intend either to secure an historic home similar in style and period to the neighborhood and have the house moved on to the new lot or to build a new home that would be a replica of their home at 313 S. 11th as it existed before the renovations of Mr. and Mrs. Walker and other later owners after the 1950s.

401 South 11th Street—Early physician Dr. Clarence S. Brown built this white-frame residence in the airplane-bungalow Craftsman style. It features an oversized 48-inch wide front door, common in vintage homes to ensure that caskets could pass through the door when a loved one lay in state after passing. Dr. Brown delivered children in prominent families including A.R. Davis Jr. in 1911. 33 Somewhere between about 1928 and 1932 the owners applied a “horizontal slice” to the dwelling and removed the top story (or pop-up story of one or two rooms) to relocate it in an adjacent lot as a separate dwelling. This was not uncommon in the Depression Era as families sought ways to generate income and could sell or rent the smaller portion as a separate residence. Among other original owners were J.M. and Allie Hamilton, whose daughter Allie Merle married Claude Shugart and taught for many years in Garland schools. Allie Merle’s daughter, Dr. Jill Shugart, is a former superintendent of the Garland Independent School District.

In latter years it became the home of Leo Alphonsus Whitman and his wife, Irene Mary Dvoracek Whitman. Both were from families that were part of the early settlement of Rowlett, a community east of Garland.34

Louis and Kay Wheeler Moore now own the home and use it as investment property.

403 South 11th Street—This modern brick one-story replaced the frame “horizontal-slice” layer that formerly was the top pop-up story of the Hamilton home at 401. In 2001 Tom Cooper of Cooper Concrete Co. razed the frame dwelling that had been moved onto the lot and had the current brick house built for his mother-in-law, Sue Harbor.35

411 South 11th—The walls of this spacious, expansive two-story frame hold memories of political receptions that saw both Presidents Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, as well as countless other Republican Party hopefuls and office-holders, as honorees. GOP volunteers Charles and Winifred Stokes presided over gathering after gathering in this gracious home, which could accommodate large numbers of guests. As a child Charles had visited in the home of his aunt and uncle, who lived across Avenue D from 401 South 11th. Later he recalled gazing longingly at the commanding residence, with a large screened-in porch that faced Avenue D, and hoping that some day it might be his home. 36 Ultimately he and Winifred did purchase it and therein reared their four children, which include former Dallas County State District Judge Charles A. Stokes and daughter Nell Stokes Moser, a Washington D.C. architect who helped design the Pentagon restoration after the 9/11 attacks.

Another long-term owner was G. Lester Davis, of Hudson Davis and later Cole & Davis Dry Goods on the Garland Square. G. Lester Davis was an early-day president of the Garland Chamber of Commerce and was a Garland mayor.

Contractor Jim Bird and his wife, Cindy, purchased the home from the Stokes family after Charles and Winifred moved to care facilities. Jim and Cindy Bird, who have done extensive work to maintain the grandeur of this historic home, also own 1010 West Avenue D, which fronts onto South 11th and is the former home of longtime Garland Daily News publisher and former Garland mayor William Henry Bradfield. 37

416 South 11th—Longtime residents of this white frame one-story were Rev. James McCabe Hunt and his wife Emma L. Crozier Hunt. Members of the Hunt family lived in this house from 1937 until the passing of the last Hunt child, Mary Hunt Brown, in 2002. Rev. Hunt was pastor of Antioch Baptist Church (predecessor to Garland’s First Baptist Church) from 1909 to 1914 and is credited with helping the sparring Antioch and the existing First Baptist congregations mend fences and reunite. He later held pastorates in Killeen, Grapevine, and McKinney, among others, before he and Mrs. Hunt returned to Garland in retirement. He was active as pastor emeritus at First Baptist, just down the street. Mrs. Hunt was a gifted hostess; the large living room of the home often was lined with participants in women’s study clubs and other organizations of which Mrs. Hunt and her daughter Louise were members. Louise, who remained single and who lived in the home to care for her parents, was longtime typing teacher at Garland High School and sponsor of the Owl’s Nest.  “Brother” Hunt died in 1957 and Mrs. Hunt in 1973.38

When Mary Hunt Brown passed away, the family donated the dwelling to First Baptist Church to be used to house missionaries on stateside assignment. Rev. Hunt’s sister, Bertha Hunt, had been a missionary to Brazil, so the family wanted to honor her memory with this gift. The home was used actively as a missionary residence for several years but has been vacant for nearly four years. 39

Jim and Cindy Bird are actively seeking to purchase the home from First Baptist and are eager to restore it to its former grandeur.

412 South 11th—Originally the tract of land on which this salmon-colored brick one-story was built was a part of the Hunt property at 416, where it was used as Rev. Hunt’s prolific fruit orchard. In 1951 J.D. and Mable Wheeler approached the Hunt family with a desire to purchase the orchard property for constructing their residence. After initial hesitation, the Hunts ultimately agreed to subdivide the land. On the tract, which extends to a full one-block depth, the Wheelers first built a miniscule, one-bedroom frame cottage that faced 10th street and lived in it for eight years until 1960, when they built the three-bedroom, brick one-story that faces 11th.

James Doyce Wheeler had arrived in Garland in 1939 to work as the clerk at the Garland post office when Garland was a town of less than 2,000. In 1941 he married Mable Evelyn Miller of Delta County and brought her to Garland as his bride. Their first home was a rented room in the home of Mrs. Texie Tomlinson on north 11th Street. Ultimately J.D. became assistant postmaster under F. Ben Crush and then acting postmaster, while Mable first was secretary to the Garland schools superintendent and later ran a public mailing and addressing service. After he retired from the post office, J.D. had a long career in Garland real estate and printing.

Mable was a leading Garland clubwoman, with involvements in the Story League, and Garland Federation of Women’s Clubs and a founder of the Garland Women’s Activities Building. Together with J.D. she helped put the Republican Party on the map in Garland and was precinct chairman, worked for candidates, and helped hold elections. Their daughter, Kay Wheeler Moore, is a veteran Texas journalist, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, and an author. After J.D. passed away in 1993, Mable remained in her home until a month before her passing in 2005.

Mable’s granddaughter, Dr. Catharine Moore Welch, had as her fondest wish that she could hold her wedding reception in the back yard of her grandmother’s home, which was resplendent with flowers in the spring. Although Mable was deceased in 2007 at the time of the wedding, Louis and Kay Moore continue to own the property for investment purposes. So on May 26, 2007, as Catharine married Casey Welch, once again 11th Street was the scene of wedding festivities as it had been in the 1920s and 1930s.40

404 South 11th—This one-story white frame bungalow was the longtime home of Claude Talmadge Kenney and his wife, Nora Mae Ramsey Kenney. Nora was the daughter of Garland physician Dr. Frank Lafayette Ramsey, the first doctor to practice in Rose Hill and who later had an office in the Garland bank building. 41

From the front room of her 11th Street home Nora taught piano for decades despite being immensely physically challenged. Countless Garland youngsters learned piano under Mrs. Kenney’s tutelage. Claude was a landscaper for private homes. Interestingly, since the Kenneys’ deaths, Ron Bush, a landscape man who has a private business, and his family have owned the home.

400 South 11th—Another home of the “airplane-bungalow” Craftsman style, this dwelling was the longtime residence of Curtis Crossman Sr. and his wife, Dixie Tucker Crossman. As with the Stokes and Wheeler residences, the Crossman home was the scene of more club functions and political receptions than anyone could count. Dixie was the quintessential Southern hostess; an invitation to her home was a coveted experience, to be sure.42

Interestingly Dixie had grown up down the street as one of many daughters in the home of Elihu Henderson Tucker and his wife, Aurelia, at 201 South 11th. Charming stories abound of the Tucker daughters marrying in the flower-bedecked garden of the Tucker home.43 Curtis was the son of Garland pioneer and mayor George W. Crossman, who was born in South America and arrived in Garland as a college-educated man who edited the Embree newspaper. 44 Curtis Crossman Sr. operated an insurance agency on the Garland Square and was a city councilman.

Current owners are Greg and Becky Baxter, who have renovated the home as well as built a highly visible outdoor kitchen and living area in the backyard. The Baxters’ daughter, Ivy, married in a ceremony on the house’s front lawn; both Ivy and the Baxters’ son, Grant, had their wedding receptions held in the back yard.

Former homes on South 11th:
Although only memories remain of the four grand homes that previously occupied the east side of South 11th between Avenues B and C, they deserve brief sketches of mention, since they also housed important Garlandites who played a key role in this community.

316 South 11th Street—Early residents were Walter W. Gulley, who had a Ford business in town, and his wife, Ada.45 This home, built in about 1919, was almost a twin in design to the Crossman home at 400 South 11th. Later, in the 1950s, it belonged to the Robert Riker family. A Riker daughter, Sylvia Mitchell, kept the home in the family and lived in it until it was torn down.46

308 South 11th Street—Home of Ray and Gretchen Goodson. Ray was an architect and owned a lumberyard. The house was a white brick structure with a porch across its front. 47

304 South 11th Street—Home of Willis Carney Jamison and wife, Myrtle Alabama Brown Jamison. 48 Originally from Grayson County, W.C. Jamison moved to Garland in the early 1920s and quickly established himself as a city leader, as he served four consecutive terms as an alderman from 1924 to 1929 and then mayor of Garland in 1930-31 and 1934-35. He was a sales manager of the cottonseed breeding plant.

Before the Jamisons the home belonged to Ben Jackson, the longtime Chevrolet dealer and Garland alderman. 49

300 South 11th Street—A two-story belonging to Charles Mason, a well-known Garland carpenter, and his wife Fannie. Kids in the neighborhood loved to play around in the wood-shavings in his workshop and admire the wood products and the tools to shape them. This home was finished in 1919. 50, 51

The properties that comprised this square block in March 1992 were sold according to Dallas County records to Garland’s First Presbyterian Church, which then tore the homes down and built a parking lot on the north side and maintains the southern half of the block as a green space awaiting future church expansion. Starting in the 1980s, Garland's First Presbyterian Church and First Baptist Church purchased many of the other historic homes in Travis College Hill and tore them down for new buildings and parking lots. An effort in the 1990s by First Baptist Church to secure most of the remaining houses was unsuccessful after a strong backlash from Preservationist-oriented owners in the existing neighborhood.


Residents of what remains of Travis College Hill Addition today are proud of their neighborhood’s history and its legacy of influence on the life of Garland for more than a century. Because of its important and fascinating history and its strong ties to Garland’s long-ago life, the residents request that Garland City Council designate their remnant of the Travis College Hill Addition that lies along South 11th Street from West Avenue B to West Avenue D as Garland’s First Historic Residential Neighborhood and that the street in the district be symbolically renamed  “Old Garland Avenue”.


1.     Interview with Hortense Weir Smith (September 28, 2013), who grew up on 11th Street in the 1920s
2.     Interview with Margaret McDaniel Branham (November 2002), who spent a portion of her married life as an 11th Street resident.
3.     Smith interview
4.     Garland: A Contemporary History, by Richard Abshire (a publication of the Garland Chamber of Commerce,) San Antonio: Historical Publishing Network, 2009) 5
5.     Interview with noted Garland historian Michael R. Hayslip (January 9, 2014)
6.     U.S. Decennial Census, Texas Almanac  1850-2000,,_Texas, accessed 1/7/2014.
9.     Smith interview
10.  Eastern Texas Traction Company, A Greenville to Dallas Interurban Railway 1913, by Jerry L. Brewer, November 14, 1989
11.  Dallas Abstract No. 60241
12.  New proposed Garland Development Code map, 2014
13.  Dallas County Abstract 60228
14.  Eastern Texas Traction Company, 6
15.  Smith interview
16.  Smith interview
17.  Eastern Texas Traction Company, 1
18.  Eastern Texas Traction Company, map, 22
19.  The addition’s original plat, 1913
20.  Garland: A Contemporary History, 55
21.  Ibid.
22.  Hayslip interview
23.  Nagle, Witt, Rollins Engineering Co.’ “Datum Mean Sea Level” topographical map dated 1922 showing the elevations in Garland in that era. Email from Jerry Flook of Preservation Garland, November 18, 2013
24.  Eastern Texas Traction Company, 12
25.  Dallas County deeds and records for the properties in the neighborhood
26.  Smith interview
27.  Interview with Bill Holmes (September 28, 2013), who grew up on 11th Street
28.  Various conversations with Carl McCarty and Carolyn McCarty Eads
29.  Smith interview
30.  Conversations with Walker family members over various years.
31.   The Moores are the authors of this report.
32.  Garland City Council minutes August 13, 2013 and November 19, 2013)
33.  Interview with Michael R. Hayslip, October 29, 2013
34.  Smith interview
35.  Moore
36.  Stokes family conversations
37.  Recollections of Louis and Kay Wheeler Moore, who previously owned the home at 1010 West Avenue D
38.  Recollections of Kay Wheeler Moore, who grew up next door to the Hunts
39.  Conversations with Crozier Brown, Mary Brown’s surviving son
40.  “In the Garden Alone”, Way Back in the Country Garden, Kay Wheeler Moore (Garland, TX: Hannibal Books, 2010), 37-43
41.  “Rose Hill’s Pioneer Doctor”, Leola Searles, Proud Heritage III, Pioneer Families of Dallas County Vol. III (Dallas County Pioneer Association),  314-315
42.  Recollections of Kay Wheeler Moore, who grew up living near the Crossman family
43.  Branham interview
44.  Hayslip interview, September 18, 2013
45.  Smith interview
46.  Kay Wheeler Moore recollections
47.  Smith interview
48.  Smith interview
49.  Smith interview
50.  Smith interview
51.  Holmes interview