A Historic House Museum and a Medical Alliance
The Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation (DCMSAF, the Alliance, Medical Alliance), the owner of Aldredge House since 1974, has the responsibility of preserving and maintaining the historic house, one of the most important domestic landmarks in Dallas. In a case of a shared centennial celebration, both the Alliance and the Aldredge House had the distinction of turning 100 years old in 2017. In 2018, the House was designated as a historic house museum.
Aldredge House is the base from which the Alliance provides Dallas with health education and services. While the Alliance outreach projects are usually presented in the neighborhoods they serve, planning for those projects – presentations to members and others on the details and attributes for the community in those projects – takes place at Aldredge House. Also inspiring messages to gain volunteers to administer the projects happen at Aldredge House before launching the project. Therein, Aldredge House is referred to in the medical community as the Launchpad for the Alliance’s Health-related Education and Services.
Sharing with the Community
The Alliance welcomes other nonprofits of a similar nature to use the Aldredge House for meetings or special programs on a limited basis. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, attention Vernell Shuey. Music groups seeking the atmosphere of an early twentieth century venue for adding to or contrasting to the historical elements of the music present house concerts in this distinctive Historic House Museum.
Contact email@example.com for the possibility of getting on the calendar. Other organizations and institutions that see value in bringing groups, classes and members to Aldredge House for the architectural significance and history are such as professional design groups, school groups, universities and residential real estate groups. These organizations or institutions should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, attention Margaret Owen, PhD.
The Medical Alliance is proud to host the Annual Holiday Event for families with adopted children with the Gladney Center of Adoption.
Recently Woodrow Wilson National Honor Society members met at Aldredge House to assemble meals for the homeless. The Alliance was impressed with this student group and their mission, and it was a pleasure to support them in their project.
When a deserving charity like The Family Place calls to schedule a meeting at Aldredge House, we are certain to be able to work it out. We also invite charities to present programs for our membership, such as this meeting at Aldredge House featuring Micki Rawlings as the speaker on behalf of the The Family Place.
A meeting and group tour was held during the holiday season with women’s leadership group, Ignite.
When we praise the beauty of the gorgeous mansions on Swiss Avenue and admire that particular feeling of being in the elegant Swiss Avenue Historic District, we can thank a group of residents of the area who were determined to save that beauty. While nearby areas in old East Dallas that also could boast of splendid palatial homes were falling into disrepair in the early 1970’s and homes on Swiss Avenue were threatened with demolition and the creep of multi-story apartment buildings, that group of neighbors got into action. With the leadership of the late Virginia Savage McAlester, they jumped through all the hoops to finally get their neighborhood declared the first historic district in Dallas. That year was 1973. They also paved the way for more preservation throughout the city. Dallas now has more than 15 historic districts.
Historic Location of the House
Swiss Avenue Historic District is the crown jewel in the city’s collections of elegant neighborhoods and was the first historic district in the city. Some of Dallas’ most prominent citizens have resided on Swiss Avenue. The vision for the neighborhood came from a wealthy cotton gin manufacturer and real estate magnate Robert S. Munger, and his planned upscale residential community became Texas’s first deed-restricted neighborhood. Munger Place, as it was called, had a centerpiece of stately mansions on Swiss Avenue, once a corn field.
There is a parallel in the distinction Swiss Avenue was awarded as a nationally significant historic area. In 1974, the year Aldredge House at 5500 Swiss Avenue was donated to the Medical Alliance, Swiss Avenue was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designated an official Dallas Landmark District the year before.
History of the House
William J. and Willie Newberry Lewis were the home’s original owners. Lewis came to Texas at the age of fifteen and by age thirty was a highly regarded cattleman and owner of the large R. O. Ranch. In 1912 he married Willie Newberry, a beautiful young Dallas debutante, and began making plans to build a grand home for her. Henry B. “Hal” Thomson was chosen as the architect for the Lewis’s home. Thomson was renowned for his European- based style of architecture. The young bride realized, after a brief time of living there, that the grandeur of the home did not give her a feeling of comfort. They moved into a lesser mansion on Gaston Avenue.
Mrs. Aldredge added two rooms to Aldredge house to accommodate her interests—an art gallery/theater and a glass conservatory. The gallery gave her a place to display her large art collection and to show the films that she made herself. Mrs. Aldredge poured herself into her home and for the conservatory alone she made by hand over 2,600 tiles. She lived in her home until 1975 after she had donated it to the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance.
In the early 1970s, when Rena Munger Aldredge was seeking a non-profit organization to permanently preserve her home and to maintain it as a welcoming part of the Dallas community, she chose the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance & Foundation. At that time the Alliance was searching for a home, and past president Lindalyn Adams, one of the most respected preservationists in Dallas, steered the organization toward this exciting new chapter.
Rena Munger Aldredge believed strongly in sharing her homes with the community. In addition to the continuous social and charity events she welcomed at her Dallas home, the gardens of her summer home at the Chatauqua Institution in western New York were always open to visitors.
At its 1975 dedication, the Aldredge House was dedicated to “…the enrichment of the community through the preservation of this landmark house and the tradition and heritage long associated with it.” Mrs. Aldredge had been part of the original fight to save Swiss Avenue. Honoring that history, the Alliance has allowed the Swiss Avenue Historic District Association (SAHD) to meet there monthly. Also, the Alliance has participated in the SAHD’s annual Mother’s Day Tour as a tour home, a place for a brunch or location for talks on preservation topics. In addition, the Alliance’s health and preservation nonprofit community partners are invited to use the house within guidelines.
Since taking possession of its gift in 1975, the Alliance has carefully restored and preserved Aldredge House as its headquarters, shared it with other non-profits and members of the community, and hosted meetings and programs for the community and its members. For a time, the Alliance allowed use of this historic house as an event venue for rent to help fund its preservation. That has not been their practice for several years and will not ever be in the future. The preservation of this historic house museum is through individual, foundation and corporate donations and funds from the support group, Friends of Aldredge House, that the Alliance Foundation preserves and maintains this historic house museum.
Aldredge House is open to the public for tours the Second Saturday of the month from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
If you would like to reserve the house for allowed uses, please contact us at 214-823-2972 or email@example.com
Available by Appointment
The house is available for portrait sittings, nonprofit meetings, educational programs and docent-led tours by appointment.