Architectural preservation is a constant struggle in Dallas’ Wild West real estate world of prospecting and building.
But at some point the City of Dallas had sense enough to grant official historic landmark designation for a number of places.
Here are a few that are worthy of your daydreams.
The Good Luck Gas Station on Lamar at Cadiz.
Built in 1939, this striking building across the street from Alamo Draft House just south of Downtown was inspired by the art deco architecture of Fair Park. Good Luck Oil Co. was an early Dallas oil company whose GLOCO gas station chain was the first to sell gas made from East Texas oil. This was GLOCO No. 5, but the building has been in disuse since the 1970s.
We want to: Open the first Dallas Rapha store here, chic high-end cycling gear and overpriced coffee (Oh, and bike lanes on Lamar Boulevard, as long as we’re dreaming).
Dallas Power and Light East Substation
This substation provided power to the electric streetcars that ran through Oak Cliff and made the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Tyler Street the hub of that neighborhood. Built in 1929, it won Preservation Dallas’ achievement award in 2013 and houses offices and a third-floor residence. It was for sale recently for $1.6 million.
We want to: Turn the third-floor apartment into a secret dance club.
DeGolyer house and gardens
Everette Lee DeGolyer, who Wikipedia says is known as “the father of American geophysics,” was the Dallas oilman and rare book collector who built the 21,000-square-foot “Rancho Encinal” in the 1940s. The Spanish Colonial Revival estate and surrounding gardens are now part of the Dallas Arboretum. You can have tea at Restaurant DeGolyer or rent it for meetings, parties and events.
We want to: Take champagne selfies and do the Electric Slide at somebody’s epic wedding here.
The Kovandovitch House
Czech immigrant Joe Kovandovitch built this house on a bluff with a Downtown view in the Trinity Bottoms in 1914, in the style of an Italian villa or temple, according to the City of Dallas.
“Self-educated and intrigued with cast-in-place concrete construction, he built the first solid-concrete house in Dallas,” says Heritage Oak Cliff.
This was Kovandovitch’s second concrete house in the days when Cement City was booming. He owned a Downtown cafe and commuted on the streetcar line. Visible from Interstate 35 North just south of the Trinity, it is a unique example of do-it-yourself architecture. Concrete makes up the entire shell of the building and was mixed with sawdust and wood chips for insulation that kept it cool in the days before air conditioning.
Texas state Sen. Royce West owns the building but hasn’t announced any plans for it.
We want to: Bring it up to code and house a DIY art gallery and music space here.
Cedar Crest House
One of Oak Cliff’s last remaining Victorian mansions, this “country estate” was built in 1904 on the Interurban railroad line from Dallas to Fort Worth along what is now Jefferson Boulevard. It was home to a title company and then sat vacant for several years before a small law firm purchased and renovated it a couple of years ago.