David is kind of like me: he loves homes, historical homes in particular. If I could, I’d buy homes like shoes: a Tudor, a mid-century, a Georgian. I have always wanted a white antebellum with columns. Is it a sickness? I don’t know. But I am feeling David’s pain here in Preston Hollow (that isn’t really Preston Hollow), where I live. I didn’t see the same fire trucks Joanna and Dave saw, didn’t smell the smoke, but I recalled the day Chateau De Triomphe burned on Strait Lane. A searing hot day in July, 2002. It was just devastating. I always try to be positive, which is why tonight I am thinking (as I did back in 2002, when Triomphe burned) that we need to be very, very thankful no was was injured or killed, no animals, no humans. That is what is important. Before Chateau du Triomphe was gutted by fire, and gutted it was, it was on the market for $44.9 million, and all in all with porticos, guest house, garage, loggias and all, it was about 73,000 square feet, one of the largest homes in the country.
The “Scientology House” or Grandwick, it’s original name, was one of the largest homes in East Dallas: 10,021 square feet.
Tonight Realtor Vicki White was with David Anderson as he watched one of his homes reduced to cinders, being bulldozed. She met him, of course, when he bought Belle Nora on Garland Road. According to DCAD, Anderson owns about 45 homes that I could count.
Vicki’s husband called her at the WCR Dallas Tea and Fashion Show at Brookhaven and told her that Grandwick was on fire. At one point, when the Scientologists owned the home, Vicki lived right behind it.
“They had the neighbors over, and were very nice, good neighbors, says Vicki. “That’s when I saw this beautiful glass etching of the Last Supper, a huge, commissioned piece.”
It was truly beautiful, says Vicki, and the Scientologists assured her it was going no where.
David knew that glass etching was in that house, and he begged firefighters to save it but knew there was no way. Neighbors say they heard popping glass right before the fire started.
“He had a lot of valuables in the house,” says Vicki. The land value on DCAD is $206,000.
She also told me that the house was constantly being vandalized by kids, suffering broken chandeliers, graffiti on the wall, and David even found snippets of homework in the front yard. He apparently had trouble getting insurance because it’s difficult and costly to insure vacant homes, Vicki told me. He had recently gotten an offer from someone who wanted to lease the home, but turned them down. David told KXAS he was renovating the home. Neighbors gathered round the immense burning house told Vicki that the home, now rubble, will have to have the rubble cleared off within 30 days. She said it could cost David up to $100,000 to haul it.
I wonder about the 30 days — we had a home burn in our neighborhood and the carcass remained up for two years, blue tarp and all, while they fought their insurance company over a settlement.
But 9401 Dixie was not insured. And this is almost eery: Vicki was picking up the phone to call David and tell him she had someone who inquired about BUYING Grandwick two days ago.
But as she picked up that phone, her husband was on the other line, telling her the pink stucco estate on Dixie was in flames.