The “Most Important House in Texas” is Saved from Demolition
On Thursday evening December 3, 2020, the historic 1933 “Elbert Williams House” at 3805 McFarlin Boulevard in University Park went under contract to Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones. The sellers of the house were the Locke family, the children of Eugene Locke and Adele Locke Seybold, who owned the home since 1955. The house had been listed since late 2019, and had come to the attention of Preservation Park Cities as an endangered historic treasure - a likely candidate for demolition due to its site on a 1.15-acre lot on Turtle Creek.
In an effort to bring attention to the importance of this masterpiece of Texas Modern Regional architecture, University Park architect and PPC board member, Bobby Clark, hatched the idea of a book to fully document the home and tell the story of its remarkable design. This book makes the case that by pioneering an authentic Texas style in an age of eclectic architecture, and establishing a precedent which influences architects even today, this house may indeed be the most important house ever built in Texas.
The Rees-Jones family had recently completed their new home on the property immediately south across Turtle Creek from the Locke house, and shared a passion for the preservation of the historic home and appreciated the beauty of the creek and views running between. Although the ultimate use and occupancy of the Elbert Williams/Locke House is yet to be determined by the new owners, Rees-Jones has made the commitment to preserve the house rather than demolish it. The Locke family has expressed how pleased and gratified they are by this act of stewardship. PPC believes this may be the first time that an endangered historic residential landmark has been saved from the wrecking ball in the Park Cities.
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