TCA student convinces Mark Cuban to write the forward
Most 15-year-olds don’t sit down to write a history book about their neighborhood.
Preston Hollow’s Jack Drake is the exception, though writing wasn’t initially his forte.
“From my elementary years, writing was always my struggle,” the teenager said. “My school (Texas Christian Academy) focuses on writing, and I’ve gotten better over the last couple of years.”
Having lived with his family in the area for 10 years, Jack’s interest in Preston Hollow and its backstory grew.
“I had heard many stories, but over COVID, I realized there wasn’t much out there, and I wanted my neighbors to know about it,” he said.
As far as research goes, Jack said, “I had to get pretty creative.”
With little history of the neighborhood available online, Jack turned to digging through old newspaper articles and plain old footwork.
“From walking my dog, I could tell which houses were built by Charles Dilbeck — that’s architecturally significant,” the intrepid high schooler observed. “Then I went on Zillow to look up the dates of the houses that were the oldest. I knew those may have some special history to them. I talked to those residents, who often had quite a bit of information. I also talked to long-time Preston Hollow residents — people who were born in the 1930s and ’40s and lived in the neighborhood their whole lives.”
Initial research for Preston Hollow: A Brief History started May 2020, with most of the writing completed that autumn.
“The publisher (History Press) does a lot on of histories,” Jack said, “and I thought Preston Hollow would be an area they would be excited to publish. They were interested, but I did not initially tell them I was just a teenager.”
Jack’s book, replete with many historical photos, came out in August 2021.
But how did he convince Preston Hollow luminary Mark Cuban to write the forward?
“I thought Mark Cuban has lived here so long,” Jack said. “He’s such a big advocate of the neighborhood, so I just sent him an email explaining to him what I was doing and asking if he would be willing to write the forward. And he emailed back and said, ‘Yes.’”
But as for future writing plans, Jack admitted, “I don’t really have the passion for it. I’ve had a lifelong interest in aviation. My goal is to become a pilot. So far, I have 53 hours in the air towards my pilot’s license.”