2015 Munger Place Days

Historic Home Tour, Wine Walk and Preview of Homes, Symposium,
Street Festival and Craft Fair

September 18-20, 2015

Old East Dallas’ Munger Place neighborhood is holding a three-day celebration of this historic district on September 18-20, 2015 featuring a tour of beautifully preserved and restored early-1900s residences. “Munger Place Days” will also feature a wine walk preview of homes, an historical exhibit, a symposium on the renovation and care of vintage homes, and a street festival and arts fair with live music, food trucks, dozens of artisans and vendors, and children’s activities. Proceeds support the historic district’s preservation efforts and local charities. View additional information about our event. Photography by Aaron Dougherty.

Munger Place Days Tour Addresses:

5022 Reiger Ave
Only on display during the Friday Wine Walk. Immediately recognizable for its authentic cedar-shingle roof and siding, this classic Craftsman foursquare was built in 1907. Originally known as the Defreese House, its full-width, two-tiered porch gets a special mention in Virginia and Lee McAlester’s Field Guide to American Houses. The builder acquired the house’s pocket doors, ornate dining-room door, and staircase from an area hotel that was being torn down that year. A second front door – from the house’s tenure as a multi-tenant home – has since been replaced with a more-appropriate window and bench seat. The original pocket windows in the well-appointed breakfast room look out upon a pleasant backyard sitting area and garden in the very deep lot. The adjacent kitchen was thoroughly remodeled in 2000, followed by more-recent touch-ups. A few almost-secret steps in a discreet corner of the kitchen join the ornately carved main staircase. Upstairs, the front bedrooms open to a shady front balcony, and the master bedroom has its own porch in back. What was once a nursery was converted to a very spacious master bath – complete with stainless-steel shower, washer, dryer, and pull-out ironing board. The 14-foot-tall attic space was designed to accommodate another floor of rooms, but that project has been delayed by a hundred years or so.

4826 Tremont St
Flying in front of this charming brick house are flags of the U.S. and the U.K., reflecting the nationalities of its relatively new owners and complementing the striking red door and sidelights. The house was built around 1922 for spinster Edwina Flippen by her brother. The Flippen family was known in Dallas for owning and laying out Highland Park, along with their partners the Prathers. This house was originally a two-story duplex, and when the house was later sold, it was agreed that Ms. Flippen could live upstairs for the rest of her life. A staff member of the Hockaday School for Girls, the genteel and considerate Ms. Flippen wore soft slippers so not to disturb those living below. The house was purchased in 1948 by Mrs. Juanita Richey and, for the rest of the 20th century, it was home to at least three generations of her family.

The interior of this Colonial Revival variant is spacious, especially in the kid-friendly upstairs areas, and the now-enclosed sleeping porch looks out on a perennially green backyard. (The yard was covered over with AstroTurf® in response to a water-retention problem.) Ask the owners about the dining-room table they acquired from the neighborhood – before they bought the home. Touches of artistic craftsmanship abound, from the tasteful balustrades to the unique, geometric, mullioned windows.

4837 Tremont St
This classic Craftsman has a generous wraparound porch and large, beamed overhangs that harbor an inviting porch swing and keep the house cooler in the summer. Built in 1913, when Tremont Street was still named Crutcher, this was originally home to traveling salesman Ezra Summers and his wife Beulah. By 1925, Ezra was selling real estate for Collett H. Munger’s realty firm. The Summers family occupied the home for 62 years, and daughter Ione Summers Bloomer taught piano, held recitals, and was occasionally featured in the Dallas Morning News. A 1949 article, for example, details a large gathering in honor of a visiting New York mezzo soprano. The 81-year-old Ione died at home in 1975, just as Munger Place was beginning its renaissance.

Musical symbols feature in several ornamental details in the house. Fittingly, the current owners are also musically inclined, as evidenced by the downstairs music room. Other fine original details include the beamed ceilings; several wide pocket doors; push-button light switches; a large, no-longer-functional radiator; and an immense Hunter Zephair attic fan, visible above the upstairs landing. Also upstairs are the master suite, guest room, and a colorful playroom for the grandkids. The second-floor sleeping porch looks out over a sweeping wisteria to the swimming pool, barbecue cabana, and a rebuilt carriage house which now serves as a changing room. A new fence between the driveway and backyard mirrors Craftsman conventions.

4916 Junius St
The new owners considered celebrating this house’s centennial this year. However, it may already be 101 years old – or maybe only 95. Early 20th-century record-keeping, it turns out, was sometimes imprecise. What is known is that it was originally the home of R.S. Ransdell, a principal at the nearby Fannin School, itself a designated Dallas landmark that opened in 1915.

Records, photographs, and local memory attest to a fire that devastated much of this home’s second floor in 2003. Repairs were so successful that the house starred as a central character in a feature film released in 2008. If you overlooked the widely dismissed Fissure, you can catch a scene or two playing in this house’s upstairs home theater during the home tour. Immediately inside the front door is a mosaic inlay of a sarangi. (The previous owners share the same name as this Persian stringed instrument.) Coffered ceilings and original wood flooring grace the first floor, and fine details – such as etched glass in the transoms and dentils on the banisters – can be found throughout. The layout of the house reflects a series of modifications, including a curiously configured butler’s pantry and the third-floor dormer, which had been removed but was added back when it was seen in an historic photo. Kitchen upgrades were made within the last year and the new owners have plans for further remodeling.

5011 Worth St
For a total of $8,750, local banker and capitalist Sam J. McFarland purchased five adjacent lots on this stretch of Worth Street in 1907. He then had five single-story cottages built in “classic proportions” in a “progressive style.” The original owner of this home, Mr. Mason, owned nearby Mason Engraving; Mrs. Mason conducted an academy for music teachers within the house. The location was convenient for her pupils, being only “three doors from the streetcar line” that ran along Collett.

More than 100 years later, the home is once again a site of artistic instruction, as one of the very recent new owners will soon begin occasional painting classes here. Frames filled with luminous, liquid color hang throughout the house, from the enclosed front sun porch to the meditation room – a recent addition to the very back of the house. The leaded transom over the front door has bowed somewhat with age, and the original floors show the wear of a century of foot traffic – they had to be sealed rather than be refinished yet again. New built-ins in the closets and pantry make smart use of the house’s compact floor plan. Step out back to the detached art studio and you might catch the homeowner dabbing at her latest canvas under the light of new solar-tubes skylights.

5110 Reiger Ave
The handsome, hand-beveled sidelights and transom at the entrance are just some of the unique glass features in this 1911 home. A large, stained-glass window adds color to the staircase landing and original chandeliers hang in the front room and dining room. Also notable are the medallion and dentil work in the dining room and bespoke drapery hardware in the rear sitting room. The house was apparently never divided and appears to have maintained its initial footprint and floorplan. Documentation of an extensive 2001 renovation and the original abstract of the house will be displayed. Much of the original hardwood flooring remains – including pine and some fine quarter-sawn tiger-eye oak. Recent modifications by the new owners include repositioning the sizeable built-in hutch from the kitchen into the dining room, raising some oppressive fur-downs, and updating other aspects of the kitchen.

The upstairs landing has a somewhat unconventional configuration, in that the walls are all set at angles other than 90°. Accordingly, a few unusual corner spaces and dimensions appear throughout this floor. One bedroom has been converted into a roomy dressing area, and the former sleeping porch across the back of the house currently serves as the laundry room. A door from this room leads out to what was once an open-air deck overlooking the lovely, deep lot. The deck has been removed, but it shows up on the owners’ list of possible future projects.

5206 Victor St
Saturday and Sunday only. This house, which first appears on the city’s tax rolls in 1914, was built by A. M. Fitch, a CPA for the Cotton Belt Railroad. Unfortunately, no records have been found to indicate how long the Fitch family owned the home. Unlike many homes in the neighborhood that were reconfigured into apartments during the Depression, its original floor plan was retained. Additionally, the home’s original redwood-pine floors, baseboards, beamed ceilings, and other period details survived its many owners over the years. Some documents suggest that the house may have seen duty as a business or even a warehouse for a time.

By the 1990s, after decades of neglect, the home was in such a state of disrepair that it was uninhabitable. In 1999, the Clayton family purchased and restored many key aspects of the home. Of special note are the unique glass panels in the front door, crafted with a pioneering technique by a local artisan. The current owners purchased the home in 2002 and, over the course of two major remodels, have transformed the home to its present glory, which respects the past while supporting a contemporary lifestyle.