The Destruction of Historic Carter Family Home.
The following is a statement from Fort Worth Architect Sandra Dennehy, AIA
It is unfortunate that, as the architectural and preservation communities were in the process of getting the word out about the impending demolition of this iconic home, it was already coming down on Friday. I can only speculate that Mr. Ardon Moore, the new owner, was alerted to the groundswell of concern over his intention of taking the home and gardens down when the Star-Telegram tried to get in touch with him on Thursday for comment… and not wanting to get embroiled in any kind of controversy, he fast-tracked the demolition… again, my speculation only, but seems too coincidental for me to think otherwise.
In hindsight, I just have to wonder:
· Why did Ruth Carter Stevenson not safeguard her beloved home in some way, by either an Historic Designation or leaving the home to a foundation?
· Why did her children, who knew her connection to the home and the garden, and who also knew the significance of the grounds, both architecturally and culturally, sell the home to the highest bidder, knowing full well Mr. Moore’s intention of destroying the grounds?
· Why were the architectural and preservation communities not more pro-active in the preservation of this most iconic home, and working more in concert to do so? Why were we not more ‘in the know’ about the plans, only finding out about the issue of the demolition permit the weekend before Mr. Moore took the home down on Friday?
· Why did our Mayor note the ‘…rights of property owners…’ being the guiding factor in her quote to the newspaper? If the “…history and the roots of our city and its architecture are very important…”, even if she does not understand the architectural significance, she should darn well understand its cultural significance, and what this property and Ruth Carter Stevenson meant to this City. If the City’s heritage is so important to her, the quote should have been something more like: “While Texas is a property rights state, it is unfortunate that the new owner does not understand the significance of this property and respect it and Ruth Carter Stevenson has done for our City, and want to preserve it…”
· And lastly, why did a well-educated, well connected person, one who calls Fort Worth ‘home’, take such an arrogant attitude about the property and not have the respect for one who did so much to shape Fort Worth? And if he wanted to live in a big-hair, Mira-Vista style mansion, then he should have purchased property in Mira-Vista.
The lesson here is for us to be more pro-active and more cooperative amongst organizations that have at their core the same objectives.