Beneath every headstone and behind every memorial there are tales to be told, such as at Simons Point on Lakeside Drive where Gillon Avenue dead-ends. A modest stone memorial stands dedicated by the Town of Highland Park to A. Pollard Simons. The Simons Point plaque reads:
Named in memory of
A. Pollard Simons
for his generosity to the
Town of Highland Park
I wonder how many times I have passed by Simons Point with little thought given to Pollard and the occasions our trails crossed so many years ago. Maybe now that my howling, arthritic back requires I sit in one of those wooden benches nearby, I will take the time to remember the time his life and mine intersected in a golf tournament in the early 1950s.
As I gaze across Turtle Creek at the elegant residence of John Muse, where Pollard and Sharon Rubush Simons’ house once stood, I recall the golf match at the Dallas Country Club in about 1951 or ’52, when I was playing Mr. Simons in a Texas State Amateur Tournament. Mr. Simons (age 41) and I (age 23) had a great match, which I would win one-up on 18.
My dad, who had known Pollard from the mid-1940s, and Charlie Pierce greeted us when we finished on 18 and congratulated us both for a good match. Dad had helped Pollard get a start building houses in Dallas as World War II ended by extending him credit from our family building supply company, Macatee Inc.
About 20 years later, in 1971, Mr. Simons surprised me with a phone call, inviting me to have breakfast with him at his home. He had become a highly successful international businessman, with a buoyant Midas touch extending beyond real estate, and had moved into the elegant Preston Road home later to be sold to Gov. Bill and Rita Clements. He said he wanted to talk to me about Macatee Capital’s large real estate development in Far North Dallas. A front-page article in the Dec. 22, 1970, edition of The Dallas Morning News described our development glowingly as “larger than the Town of Highland Park.”
I, of course, accepted. When I arrived in suit and tie, apparently normal for Dallas business customs in the 1970s, I was greeted by a butler, formally attired, who asked me to accompany him to a sunlit breakfast room, where he said, “Mr. Simons will be joining you shortly.” He arrived in a lounging robe with satin lapels and a pair of patent -leather slippers, the same smiling charmer he was at 41, and convinced me to call him “Pollard.”
I’m sure we talked about Dad, who had died in 1956, and Pollard’s new Tryall Golf Club in Montego Bay, Jamaica, which my wife, Shirley, and I had recently visited with friends Peggy and Bill Braecklein and Lynn and Jimmy Moroney. I never knew — until researching this story within the past few months — that two of Pollard’s partners in Tryall were former Texas Gov. John Connally and U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen Jr.
A fabulous breakfast served on silver trays, with abundant selections of fresh fruit, led Pollard to begin talking about our large North Dallas development. He had been following the zoning case and felt that waiting on Loop 9, a state highway designed to come through our property, could substantially delay us due to the entanglements of Texas state politics. He strongly suggested that everyone would benefit if we extended and widened Campbell Road through our tract to take the place of Loop 9.
The City of Dallas staff agreed, as did our engineers Carter and Burgess of Fort Worth. What had been designated as Loop 9 became Highway 190 many years later, portions of which were relocated and later named George Bush Turnpike.
We struck our agreement with the Dallas Thoroughfare Department to make Campbell Road our west-east corridor and proceeded to move dirt. Pollard’s information enabled us to accelerate our development schedule and increased our earnings by several million dollars.
From information provided by Ronnie Brown at the Town of Highland Park and Sharon Simons, Pollard’s widow, when the Simonses sold their home to the Clementses in the mid-1970s, a substantial portion of the proceeds was donated to the township, where it was used to build a retaining wall along the east side of Turtle Creek from Beverly Drive to the dam on Exall Lake. The remainder endowed scholarships at Southern Methodist University.
Ultimate editor Kay Barnes styles one more silk purse out of one more sow’s ear for Buddy Macatee, a lifelong resident of the Park Cities.