The two homes shown are pictures of “before and after” restoration. Both homes, now fully restored, are located in the Wilson Historic District in the 2900 block of Swiss.

The Wilson House is a restoration of the home built by Frederick and Henrietta Wilson and was occupied by the family for more than 75 years.

In 1981, the rapidly deteriorating houses in the 2900 block were purchased and restored by Dallas Meadows Foundation Inc. At that time, the foundation moved its office to the Wilson House.

The foundation relocated again across the street in a beautiful new building when Preservation Dallas opened its Intown Living Center in the Wilson House in 1993.

The center affords a unique opportunity to learn more about the historic neighborhoods in Dallas that are located inside Loop 12.

The “Wilson Historic District Project,” which renovated an entire block of aging Victorian homes in the inner city, had a twofold purpose: to demonstrate that it was possible to adapt abandoned historic houses for office use at about the same cost as new construction and to encourage inner city rehabilitation and economic revitalization.

The Wilson House and most of the others in the historic district are examples of the Queen Anne style, which dominated American house design from about 1890 until 1910. Queen Anne houses are asymmetrical and usually have front porches that wrap around the side of the house. Areas of patterned wooded shingles are almost always found as decoration in gables and on the walls.

The Wilson House has all of these features. The exterior of the turret is covered with wood shingles cut in a fish scale pattern. Turrets are found only in the most elaborate Queen Anne designs.

When you visit the Wilson Historic District, you will note that the restored houses there are being occupied by non-profit organizations and are used as offices.

It is an enjoyable and educational experience to visit Catherine Horsey, executive director of Preservation Dallas. You may visit her at 2922 Swiss or call 821-3290 for information on other historic areas.

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