The well-preserved homes and neighborhoods built near the turn of the century are distinguishing features of East Dallas. Volunteers are needed to restore and maintain these homes, as well as to share the history with visitors. This month, the Advocate highlights volunteer opportunities available through several area historical groups.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society, a 66-acre garden at 8617 Garland Road, is growing on the shores of White Rock Lake with the help of nearly 1,500 volunteers. Its beautiful homes and gardens make the arboretum one of the best settings for volunteer work in Dallas.

In addition to helping with the gardens, volunteers work in two homes preserved on the grounds – the Camp Estate and the DeGolyer House.

Now the arboretum’s headquarters, the Camp Estate was begun in 1930 and finished in 1938. John Staub of Houston designed the house, combining Latin Colonial, English Regency and Art Deco architecture. The Camp Estate offers volunteer opportunities for administrative support, help with membership and hospitality committee duties.

The DeGolyer house, built in Spanish Colonial Revival style, was completed in 1940. It is open for tours led by volunteers versed in the home’s features and furnishings, as well as the DeGolyer family.

The arboretum society also offers other volunteer opportunities. You can drive a tram for handicapped and elderly visitors, lead garden tours or simply work in the gardens and homes.

If you would like to volunteer for the arboretum society, call 327-8263.

Dallas County Heritage Society, located four miles from the heart of East Dallas at Old City Park, was founded in 1966 to prevent the destruction of Millermore, the largest remaining antebellum home in Dallas.

More than 600 volunteers work together to preserve and demonstrate the life and times of North Texas between 1840 and 1910.

Volunteers can lead visitors through the museum’s buildings, which include the General Store, Pilot Grove Church, Fisher Road House and Citizen’s Bank. Volunteer hostesses are needed in Brent Place Restaurant to serve prairie-style meals and in McCall’s Store to provide information about the wares.

Or you might want to lend a hand to the Craft Program, which offers classes in 19th-century domestic crafts and trade skills. Volunteers demonstrate these crafts during special events. The society’s library and director’s office also need assistance.

Volunteers are trained three times a year: January, May and August. Call Dan Baldwin at 421-5141 for more information.

The Historic Preservation League, 2902 Swiss Avenue, offers volunteer opportunities similar to those at the arboretum and Heritage Society. Volunteers lead tours and serve as docents in the F.A. Brown Farmstead Museum. For information, call Helen Swint at 821-3290.

If you are interested in volunteering, but none of the groups highlighted in this column interest you, call the Volunteer Center of Dallas County at 826-6767. The Volunteer Center matches prospective volunteers with agencies throughout Dallas.

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