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Shenandoah Street Houses

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1935–1936, Charles S. Dilbeck. 4100 and 4200 blocks of Shenandoah St.

All four corners of this intersection, known as “Dilbeck Corners” and “Four Sisters,” display the fanciful, eclectic houses of Dallas’s most prodigious and popular architect. During a practice that extended from 1932 to 1969, Charles S. Dilbeck (1907–1990) designed almost six hundred houses, small and vast, throughout the Dallas area. He attended Oklahoma A&M, where he began designing houses for Tulsa businessmen. As the Great Depression slowed his practice, he moved to Dallas in 1932, opened an office in Highland Park Village, and designed buildings for both individual clients and developers. His complex, picturesque compositions elicit recollections of vernacular buildings from Ireland or Normandy, and even Central Texas (he called them “Texas Ranch Houses”), though adapted to the climate and materials of the state.

In typical Dilbeck fashion, the James Parker House (1935; 4144 Shenandoah Street), advertised as “French Provincial,” appears to be a series of additions built over a period of time. A squat round tower with a conical roof, a bracketed dormer, and a balcony joins a two-story wing whose roof slides down to the first-floor windows, with a lower wing of entrance and garage doors tucked behind an exposed timber frame. Random-shaped limestone walls contrast with trim, small-mullioned windows.

The house (1936) across the street at 4145 Shenandoah uses whitewashed brick and half timbering in parts of the second floor to evoke a Tudor character. Rough clinker bricks with a plaster coating give a highly textured surface to walls on the side (Douglas Avenue) elevation, where the house appears to be several structures joined over time. The DeLois Brown House (1935) at number 4201 is another Tudor model in rough limestone. The tall front gable has a unique, narrow wooden bay window with a steep roof, supported on a stout, engaged stone pilaster with a multilayered plinth.

The Allen Olson House (1936; 4200 Shenandoah) favors Texas models in its two-story, gable-end form of random limestone. The low-pitched roof, exposed and rounded rafter tails, and a second-floor balcony bracketed on rough timbers all clearly indicate the influence of Central Texas’s German heritage. A one-story back wing appears as a casual later addition. The cantilevered-and-hung second-floor “Monterey Balcony,” following California precedents, was popular with many designers of the period, with other examples in the Park Cities.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Shenandoah Street Houses", [Dallas, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 168-169.

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