Sunday, March 09, 2008

Which is more fondly remembered in Dallas—Bum Bright or Bum Bright's house?

After reading DallasDirt, I'm inclined to say it's the house. Although there are many kind words for Mr Bright's car too. So that's touching.

The tragic loss, it seems, is that Bright's Lakeside mansion was razed by the new owner, who happens to be a Centex executive. As you can imagine, this makes the indignation of the D Home magazine writers complete: an old Highland Park residence they love, torn down by a man who makes money by building comparatively affordable homes they all hate. Why, he might take all those earnings and build a "behemoth!" Insult and worse—an element of tackiness—added to injury. They are distraught.

This has me wondering. DallasDirt is a real estate blog. At least one of those expressing grief for the Bright house is "a prominent Dallas Realtor." But if the home truly was such an obvious architectural treasure, why couldn't a realtor sell it? If we can blame Mr Eller for a lack of good taste, can we blame realtors for a lack of selling skills?

I'm not belittling the cause of architectural preservation. It's an important debate. But it feels irrelevant and a little snotty to attack Mr Eller. If you feel like people just don't appreciate architecture or history in this city, then maybe as a writer for Dallas' leading magazine, you could find a way to remedy that. Without personal attacks. Without sentimentality. And, please God, without any more paragraphs like this:

"But 4500 Lakeside seems like it was loved. It had warm hands Windexing the fingerprints off the woodwork, gentle brushstrokes touching up the eaves and years of elbow grease shining the windows. Why, we wonder, couldn’t someone have just bought it and continued the cycle?"


Anonymous said...

I am told the buyers of the Bright home went to considerable effort to salvage and recycle everything possible in the house before it was razed. The Bright Family kept interior architecturals sentimental to their family and much attention was given by the new owners to preserving everything possible. As far as the sentiment of the public, I doubt anyone knew the state of disrepair in which this old home foudn itself.

Irene Done said...

Anonymous -- thanks for that information. It's very interesting.

My main complaint about the original DallasDirt post and some of the followup posts--aside from the writing--was the eagerness to believe the worst about the new buyers. It seemed to get a little personal.

Good to learn that what could be saved was saved. It'll be exciting to see the new home go up.

Thanks again for commenting.