When it comes to the preservation of old buildings in East Dallas, there is only one priority: preserve the building at all costs. But when one neighbor's public blight is another's architectural significance, things can be a bit more complicated.
Last week, local woman Tudor Gables chained herself to a 1930s bungalow on her street that was slated for demolition. "This house has a history, and it needs to be preserved. I am not sure what that history is, but its age should be enough, shouldn't it?"
East Dallas is known for its historic neighborhood protections, conservation districts, and architectural character, but as development encroaches deeper into the neighborhood, economics have often knocked down and paved history.
According to neighbors, there is a pack of violent coyotes who live in and around the abandoned hovel. Neighbor Ethan Ize says 6 cats have disappeared on the street as well. "I have seen a coyote carry off several cats myself. It was horrible," said Ize. "I want nothing more than that house to be gone." Ize is worried that the coyotes will eventually get a hold of his Mexican Hairless cat, Gollum, "I don't want them to get my precious."
Dallas Police Department records show that there have been 17 drug-related arrests made on the premises over the past 6 months. "This is definitely a crime hot spot," says Lieutenant Blyne Justice from the Northeast Division. "We have had reports of meth being cooked here, and everything is dealt from pills to heroin. The number of shoes on the power lines in front of this place caused a power outage last month."
Gables sealed her fate when she fed the key to her handcuffs to a mangy coyote that had settled near the front door of the tumble-down residence. "The house is occupied, and the owner has the key," she said while fending the mangy canine off with a stick.
As workers approached last week with bolt cutters to free Gables, she began throwing photographs at them. Gables had been taking photos through the years of all the houses on the block, and she proved to be deadly accurate with the sepia colored card stock, injuring three of the men's corneas.
Neighbors were split on the issue, with some joining Gables on the porch and others bringing their own sledge and claw hammers to join in the demolition. Neighbor Enoch Eitdown was fed up. "Just because something is historic doesn't mean you should keep it," he said. "You don't see too many kids named Hitler these days, even though that name has a lot of history."
"We love our home tours around here," Eitdown continued. "This house could be on the Derelict Home Tour. Tickets include bags of trash, vermin, and tetanus."
At this point, Gables remains chained to the porch, and has taken to eating whatever the coyotes drag home every night. "I am on Whole 30, so this diet actually works great," she said. "Whatever the cost, we have to preserve the history."