The Lakewood house that O’Neil Ford built (and still watches over)

Photo by Jenifer McNeil Baker

When you live in a historic house designed by architect O’Neil Ford, it’s hard to pass up the chance to swoop up some of his personal belongings. Dan Patterson and his late wife, Gail, had that chance in 2007, when they found out there would be an auction of O’Neil Ford’s artifacts in San Antonio.

The Pattersons wanted a few items that would complement their interior. Most of their furniture and decor had come from their prior home on Swiss Avenue and fit the style of that historic mansion, which didn’t necessarily suit the more modern, minimalist Lakewood home at 3201 Wendover.

One item in particular that caught their attention was “this fabulous desk, O’Neil Ford’s original desk,” Patterson says. He couldn’t attend personally but bid $17,000 for it through a proxy.

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The response was, “We’ll sell it to you for $22,000 and we’ll throw in a bust of O’Neil Ford.” Patterson hadn’t asked for the bust, so he made a counter offer for the desk. The response came back: “$18,500, and you have to take the bust.”

Patterson agreed to these terms. The desk and bust were shipped to his house, and as it turns out, “the desk didn’t fit. It was too big for the space,” Patterson says. “So I got a bust for free.”

O’Neil Ford’s bust, pictured at top, now adorns the grounds looking toward the house he designed in 1939 for Alfred and Juanita Bromberg.

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