Descended from a long line of architects and general contractors in Dallas, Robert Barnett still lives in the Lakewood Blvd. home his father built for his mother in 1926. His father, Marshall Barnett, built the first homes on Lakewood Blvd. As the homes were built, the Barnett family lived in them until they were sold.Marshall Barnett built the current family home in 1926 and promised his wife she would never have to move again.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the venerable East Dallas street.
The Barnett’s house was the closest to White Rock Lake, and it was there Robert and his brother learned to swim in the ’40s. The family also had a boathouse at the lake and spent a great deal of time there.At one time during World War II, Marshall Barnett landed a seaplane on the lake in order to be here for his son’s birthday.
Barnett, Lakewood oracle and master storyteller, was born in 1924 and except for brief sojourns in Fort Worth and Miami has always lived in Lakewood.Robert’s face was recognizable on television during the ’60s and early ’70s in several national commercials.
Mr. Barnett tells a funny story about the day his horse, Firecracker, ran away. He got on his bicycle and started riding around the lake searching for the horse. He finally found him grazing on the lawn of a family just moving into their new house overlooking the lake. The new house was Mt. Vernon and family’s name was Hunt, as in H.L. Hunt.
Mr. Barnett’s distinguished family has contributed to the architecture and development of Dallas from the French Consul General’s residence Downtown (where Thanks-Giving Square stands today) to Park Cities Baptist church to Preston Hollow to Bryan Parkway and Swiss Avenue to Lakewood. Robert’s father also built Admiral Nimitz’s Pacific headquarters during the war.
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