Landmark home accidentally destroyed


By Shelia Huffman

“We thought you were going to keep it,” was the sentiment expressed by Vickery Place neighbors over the telephone to California resident Robb Hagestad, who co-owned, along with Jeremy Wenninger, the Arts and Crafts bungalow located at 5532 Richard Ave. in the Vickery Place Conservation District of East Dallas. 

The bungalow was demolished by Irving-based JR’s Demolition, which had a permit to tear down a home two blocks away.

This photo of 5532 Richard Ave. was taken in 2000.
Photo by Shelia Huffman

“I’ve been in this business all my life and done thousands of demolitions, and this has never happened,” said JR’s owner, Bobby Lindamood. “We made a mistake and thought we had the right property.”

Following a two-year effort to acquire the property, Hagestad and Wenninger were planning to refurbish the 100-year old bungalow. A contractor had been doing work at the house, and another was scheduled to begin work that very day according to an article in The Dallas Morning News.

The home was previously owned by the late Mary Ann Degataire, who died in the spring of 2018. Degataire had no heirs, and Wenniger recalled standing in the kitchen of his terminally ill friend’s beloved home and promising that he would preserve and renovate the bungalow, saving it from becoming a tear-down. Degataire moved to Vickery Place in the early 1990s to care for her elderly mother. When her mother died, she inherited the house and began refurbishing it in the mid-90s. 

The unconventional pink paint selected for the exterior was inspired by the pastel homes of the Cayman Islands, where Degataire had lived prior to moving to Dallas, resulting in the house being affectionally known as the “the pink house.”

Degataire had a flair for decorating, and the interior of the home was as charming and unconventional as the exterior. Touches such as frilly aprons became slipcovers for the dining chairs when the home was featured on the Vickery Place Home Tour in 2000.

“Vickery Place lost this charming bungalow at 5532 Richard Avenue due to a most unfortunate error by a demolition company who tore down the wrong house. Not only is it tragic to lose some of the original historic fabric of our neighborhood, it is a personal heartbreaking loss for the current owner as well as the surrounding neighbors. We will miss the ‘pink house’ on Richard Ave.,” longtime Vickery Place resident and past president of the Vickery Place Neighborhood Association Beth Bentley wrote in a Facebook post last Friday.

Shelia Huffman is a staff writer for White Rock Lake Weekly, former resident of Vickery Place, past president of Vickery Place Neighborhood Association and previous co-editor of Vickery Place News.