A Look Back at 40 Years of Park Cities Real Estate

House hunting in 1981 reveals what has changed, what hasn’t

Real estate advertising gained momentum on the pages of Park Cities People each week in the Fall of 1981.

Real estate editor Molly Dodgen presented a “Gallery of Fine Homes” with eight properties from five different agents in the first edition.

Abio & Adleta Realtors offered a Center Hall Plan home “On Bordeaux” for $395,000. A classic Tudor overlooking Turtle Creek was on the market for $975,000 with Daniel M. Mahoney, Realtor. A few weeks later, Hoffman Real Estate was marketing a “Williamsburg Mansion” in Bent Tree for $750,000.

Ebby Halliday’s first ad showcased an “Old English” three-bedroom charmer on Purdue for $169,500, an excess of charm in a much-desired University Park home on Greenbrier for $177,500, and an enchanting Highland Park address on Southwestern for $495,000. 

Today that property on Greenbrier sits among some of the highest-valued homes in University Park.

Zillow estimates the typical home in University Park to have a value of $1,629,436. In comparison, neighborhoodscout.com lists the median home value at $1,413,933, representing 72.4% of the 7,689 homes and apartments in the 75225 zip code. 

Highland Park home values are slightly higher at $1,577,164. 

But absent in all of these early marketing efforts was the property’s address and sometimes the price. 

Ellen Terry Realtors placed the first display advertisement listing the house number as well as the price in the Nov. 19 edition. Just a week later, the ad also included the listing agent’s photo, setting the stage for marketing both properties and agents in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow for the next 40 years.

Gloria Hennings with Henry S. Miller Realtors had the privilege of marketing a “Dilbeck” on an oversized lot with giant shade trees at 4037 Bryn Mawr Drive. Well-known Dallas architect Charles Dilbeck designed this storybook home in 1937. The sellers had reduced the price to $365,000. Since then, it has sold only two other times and appreciated ten-fold, with today’s estimated value at $3,350,300. This architecturally significant home has endured while others have faced tear-downs and rebuilds. 

4408 Fairfax Avenue was one of those first properties marketed by Ellen Terry. It is still standing today! Offered for $525,000 by Sue Knowles, it is now valued at $1,695,700 by realtor.com. It has the identical “4 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, den with tiled wet bar, and hardwood floors,” but it has been beautifully remodeled sans the “mirrored” dining room! This original home, built in 1927, has sold five times since 1981 and was most recently on the market in June 2020.

Betty Woodson, a “Multi-Million Dollar Producer” with Hank Dickerson Realtors, presented 3601 Gillon Avenue. “Enjoy the lovely view of the Park from the living areas of this wonderful 4 Bedroom, 3 ½ Bath, Den home that is situated on a 115 by 201-foot corner lot that features an outstanding POOL and Cabana and still plenty of play yard. $795,000.00.” Just three years later, this home came down, replaced by an eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom Colonial with a total of 11,671 square feet of living space — Zillow Zestimates® the property to be worth $6,012,400.

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