Preparations are under way for Communities Foundation of Texas to restore the 19th-century Caruth family homeplace, located adjacent to CFT’s office at 5500 Caruth Haven Lane in Dallas.
CFT, which acquired the estate with funds from a bequest from Mabel Peters Caruth in 2000, received approval in May from the Dallas City Council for a zoning change that will allow the property to provide office space for nonprofit tenants including the Hoblitzelle Foundation and the Summerlee Foundation.
CFT has hired an architect for the project that will include the restoration of the main house, which was built in 1874 as a Victorian home and remodeled in 1938 in Southern Colonial style. Also on the 5.6-acre property is a log cabin, built in 1852, which will be restored. Construction will
take about one year. CFT’s board of trustees approved the plans after conducting a study to identify options for restoring the buildings and grounds and providing a new use for the site.
“CFT worked diligently to come up with a plan that would preserve the Caruth home and allow the property to be used in a way that honors the legacy of the Caruth family,” said Brent Christopher, president and CEO. “We also worked closely with nearby homeowners and believe the restored Caruth home and grounds will be an asset to the neighborhood. The two private foundation tenants, the Hoblitzelle and Summerlee foundations, are committed to improving the lives of North Texans much as the Caruth family has demonstrated by their philanthropy through the years.”
The pioneering Caruth family settled in the Dallasarea in 1848. Several generations of the family acquired land and played a significant role in the growth of Dallas by developing real estate and donating land to help establish Southern Methodist University. The main house on the Caruth property was used as a summer home by William Barr Caruth and Earle Clark Caruth, parents of W.W. Caruth Sr. From 1938 to 2001, it served as a principal residence for members of the Caruth family.
“This plan will allow the main house and historic outbuildings to continue in use and will give us the opportunity to tell the story of the Caruth family,” said Linda Pitts Custard, a member of CFT’s board of trustees and chair of the building committee. “The history of the Caruth family is intertwined with that of Dallas and of Communities Foundation of Texas. CFT is proud to share this part of our city’s history to help current and future generations celebrate the contributions of the Caruth family to the North Texasarea.”
Several public rooms will be reserved for interpreting and telling the Caruth story. Income for maintaining and operating the facility will be provided by a combination of lease payments from the tenants and an endowment established at CFT by Mabel Peters Caruth.
From left, CFT President and CEO Brent Christopher
and Trustee Linda Pitts Custard are working with
future tenants of the restored Caruth homeplace,
Paul W. Harris (Hoblitzelle Foundation) and John
W. Crain (Summerlee Foundation).