On our most recent walk, we explored the Swiss Ave Historic District. I had been on part of the street once before, block walking for candidates, but Rich had not, and I hadn’t seen the whole area. According to its website, the district, “in Old East Dallas, is a diverse neighborhood containing the finest collection of Early 20th Century residential architecture in the entire Southwest. Established in 1905 by real-estate developer, Robert Munger, it was designated in 1973 as the first historic district in the City of Dallas. It is an official Dallas Landmark District and, in 1974, the entire District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.” One of the historical markers on the street notes that a “muddy country lane” was named Swiss Avenue by Swiss immigrant Henri Boll in 1857. The street was extended and developed as a part of Munger Place in 1905 by cotton gin manufacturer Munger. He required that each house had to be worth at least $10,000 and have two stories, but the residents were free to choose whatever architectural style they liked, leading to an interesting, eclectic mix of structures throughout the district.
Swiss Avenue itself is a wide street divided by a tree lined median, with beautiful lawns and huge houses on each side. We enjoyed strolling past and imagining what the insides of these beautiful historic homes looked like, who once lived there, who lives there now, and what stories could be told about the history of each place. When I was younger, I would have loved to have owned a beautiful old house like one of these. Of course I never could have afforded one so big but I do love the charm of old houses of any size. Now I just think I wouldn’t want to deal with the upkeep, though I suppose if you can afford one of these houses, you could afford to pay someone else a living wage to take care of things you didn’t want to mess with. 🙂
We didn’t realize how many streets were part of the historic district so we will have to return another day to see more.