You are here

Elbert Williams House

-A A +A
1932, David R. Williams. 3805 McFarlin Blvd.

The Williams house (no family relation to the architect) was the culmination of Williams’s Dallas career, the summation of his concept of the Texas “indigenous” house, and his last private house to be built. The two-and-a-half-story main block has side gables with a stout chimney on the right and two successively smaller wings to the left. A two-story rear pavilion joined to the house with a one-story connector completes the L-plan. The apparent accumulation of unmatched additions gives the picturesque effect of a place growing over time, although the various components are not accidental or haphazard but well-proportioned and resulting from a floor plan developed with the client. In an unusual twist, the main block contains the dining room and kitchen on the first floor; the living room, with master bedroom above, is in what appears to be the subservient wing to the left of the entrance.

Williams acknowledged the inspiration for this house as coming from the Joseph Carle House (c. 1850) in Castroville, where a white, two-story house has a balcony suspended across its front, tall shuttered windows, and whitewashed brick.

Williams’s “indigenous” concept extended to interior finishes and furnishings for a unity of art forms. He designed most of the furniture, which was handcrafted by Lynn Ford, and copper light fixtures made by Bub Merrick. A mural over the fireplace of Egyptian-styled figures depicting the history of Spanish missions in the state was designed and painted by Texas artists Thomas M. Stell and Jerry Bywaters, and Texas wildflowers were painted on glass doors and woodwork. Texas stars, a favorite Williams motif, adorned cabinet doors, chair seats, and door frames. The central block of the house was built first for use as Lynn’s studio to fabricate the furniture and woodwork.

Because the Great Depression slowed most architects’ practices, Williams, as well as others, left Dallas for public service in the federal government.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Elbert Williams House", [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, 169-169.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.