Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts Honored by Preservation Dallas

The Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts has been selected to receive the 2013 Stewardship Award from Preservation Dallas for the Society’s decades-long commitment to Turner House, a beloved landmark in the historic Winnetka Heights neighborhood of Oak Cliff.

Built in 1912 by East Texas oilman J.P. Blake, the Modified Prairie Foursquare home at 401 N. Rosemont was planned by the arts-minded Blake family to be a center of culture in the young neighborhood. They hosted elaborate lawn parties and musical events for the community. During the next few decades, the house was variously used as a boarding house and a church and underwent structural changes which caused deterioration.

The Society (OCSFA), which was founded in 1926, purchased Turner House in 1957, naming it for Mrs. E.P. Turner, the long-time patron and a founder of OCSFA.

“Not only has the Society invested thousands of hours of sweat equity and raised several hundred thousand dollars for the Turner House restoration,” said Society President Scott Chase, “we have also been true to the original Blake vision of Turner House as an arts venue for the whole city.”

2012 was a year-long celebration of the Centennial of the storied home. During the year, the floors were returned to their original hardwood splendor, the formal parlor was freshened and both sets of pocket doors are operational once again. Of most significance, however, was restoring the beauty of the hidden fireplace in the Winnetka Heights Hall and revealing the elegance of the main staircase. “We intend for Turner House to be here at least another 100 years,” Chase said.

The award will be presented on Wednesday, May 15, in a ceremony from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Dallas City Performance Hall.  Along with the Stewardship Award, Preservation Dallas will honor the 2013 recipients of its Preservation Achievement Awards.   The evening will include a special tribute to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.