Woodrow Wilson High School received approval Dec. 12 from the City Plan Commission for Historic Landmark designation, as recommended by the City’s Landmark Commission and the City planning staff.

Woodrow was built in 1928 to serve rapidly growing East Dallas. Woodrow’s Jacobean Revival style was popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in other parts of the United States, but it rarely was used in Dallas.

Roscoe DeWitt and Mark Lemmon were Woodrow’s architects. DeWitt also was architect of the Library of Congress and the East Front extension of the U.S. Capitol building; Lemmon designed many Dallas public schools and, most notably, the Cotton Bowl, the Dallas Museum of Natural History and the Great Hall in the Hall of State building.

Among Woodrow’s graduates are former mayors Wallace Savage and Jack Evans, developer Trammel Crow, and Heisman Trophy winners Davey O’Brien and Tim Brown. (Woodrow is the only high school in the United States to claim two Heisman winners.)

The City Council is expected to approve Woodrow’s Historic Landmark designation Jan. 22.

MORE HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Two other areas adjacent to East Dallas receiving designation Dec. 12 were the Freedmen’s Cemetery, just west of Central Expressway near the State-Thomas area, and the southern Pine House at Kinmore and St. Charles streets.

The Freedmen’s Cemetery was used from about 1861 to 1925, when it became the resting place for many members of Dallas’ African-American community.

The Southern Pine House originally was built as a model “affordable house of the future: for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition at Fair Park. The house was named for the Southern Pine Association, a wood products trade group at the time.

The house was built in what was known as the “Minimal Traditional” style, the dominant bungalow style at the time. The house lacks decorative detailing, dictated by the Depression-era economy.

Following the Centennial Exposition in 1938, the house was purchased by George W. Rogers and moved to 3003 Kinmore St. During the Centennial, more than 150,000 people toured the house, which has changed little since its construction 55 years ago.

DOWNTOWN BUT NOT OUT: Momentum appears to be building for the City to take the lead in revitalizing Downtown. Recent newspaper reports have offered some ideas, and mayor Steve Bartlett made it a major them of his inaugural address.

The Central Dallas Association is instituting a Downtown Improvement District, and new projects along Main Street and in the Farmer’s Market area are proceeding. Among plans in the works are a central bus transfer center and Downtown circulator system.

The viability of Downtown is, of course, critical to East Dallas and Lakewood. After years of neglect, a consensus seems to be growing throughout Dallas – even in neighboring suburbs – that the region can’t be successful without a healthy Downtown.

WAITING FOR THE MAILMAN: The Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee is expected to address zoning change notice delivery to condominium associations at its Jan. 13 meeting.

In the past, it has been unclear whether condominium associations as a whole or individual condominium owners had the right to reply to zoning change notices.

DEMOLITION DERBY: The City’s Urban Rehabilitation Standards Board recently submitted its 1990-91 annual report to the City Council. The reporter noted that code enforcement appears to be improving, crediting new housing and neighborhood services director James Gilleyen and assistant code enforcement director Althea Gulley.

However, the report says a backlog of about 290 properties remain to be demolished.

The report calls for improved compliance, increased collection of civil penalties, greater use of the community receivership alternative to demolition, and more proactive (as opposed to reactivate) code enforcement, especially for deteriorating multifamily properties.

The board heard 627 cases last year, and 338 “urban nuisances” are slated for demolition at year-end (many from the prior two years).

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