Happy 100th birthday to the most political house on Swiss Avenue. Owner and former state Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt is celebrating with a birthday bash to commemorate the home’s history.

Built in 1919 for Theodore Marcus — brother of Herbert Marcus, of Neiman Marcus — the home’s next owners were the Van Winkle family. Ehrhardt and her late husband, Jack, became the third owners when they purchased the home in 1970. It was located in the only integrated neighborhood in Dallas at the time.

Developers had purchased part of the street to build apartments, but the Ehrhardts and their neighbors rallied to save the historic homes, and Swiss Avenue became the city’s first historic district.

“The community saved this house,” Ehrhardt said. “We’re just caretakers.”

To give back, Ehrhardt opens her home at 5731 Swiss Ave. for several community events, including Wednesday’s birthday bash. The owner said Marcus and Van Winkle grandchildren will be in attendance to celebrate and share other interesting tales of the home.

“We have been very blessed by our East Dallas friends who, with so many others, have given us much joy with their presence in our home,” Ehrhardt said in a release.

In addition to hosting parties, weddings, memorial services and baby showers, the home serves more than 4,000 trick-or-treaters on Halloween each year. Politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Bush, former U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro and former Texas Gov. Ann Richards have also attended events in the residence.

Read a history of the house here.


WANT MORE?
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.