One of Dallas’ most famous architects was Charles Dilbeck. A native of Oklahoma, Dilbeck attended Oklahoma State University for only two years of formal training. Much of what he learned took place at a lumber company and his father’s home building sites. He coined this experience as “on-the-job-learning-a-lot”.
By the age of ten, Dilbeck was drawing architectural plans for his father’s construction projects. After a summer job with a lumber company when he was fifteen, he was hired by another Tulsa lumber company where he designed “lumber yard spec houses”. Some of these homes you’ll recognize today with the Dilbeck signature features like massive chimneys, innovative brick and stone patterns, tall windows and vaulted ceiling living rooms.
After designing homes for many of the oil families of Tulsa in Maple Ridge, Bren Rose and Utica Square, the stock market crash of 1929 put an end to fine houses. Dilbeck relocated to Dallas in 1933, and sold burglar alarm systems in hopes of finding a more lucrative career. Lucky for us, he soon met up with another architect and then opened his own office in Highland Park Village.
Although Dilbeck is known for his Country French style, he was also noted for his ranch house designs, and you’ll even find an art-deco influenced style in some of his homes around Dallas, especially Cochran Heights. He also designed the recently restored Belmont Hotel on Fort Worth Avenue, where 8,000 cubic yards of earth were moved to create the cliff site with the picturesque views of the downtown Dallas skyline.
Featured here, are three Dilbeck designed homes built on Lakewood Boulevard in Dallas, all one year apart. They are known as The Three Lakewood Houses.
The first home, at 6726 Lakewood has a massive chimney that calls out to you as soon as you see this home. Built in 1933, it has undergone some revisions to the original design, as stucco and
timbers were added in place of brick on the west side of the home along with some other details, but it still says “I am different, I am a Dilbeck”.
6738 Lakewood, built in 1934 has an angular east wing that adds interest and individuality when sandwiched in between it’s two Dilbeck designed neighbors.
Built in 1935, 6748 Lakewood Boulevard is nestled behind beautiful, lush landscaping yet you can still see the prominent round chimney resting on it’s base of cut stone. Another feature of this home is the massive wood columns that feel perfectly proportioned for the roofed entry porch.
To learn more about Charles Stevens Dilbeck, look for his book titled The Architecture of Charles Stevens Dilbeck, by John Brooks Walton.