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Character Causes Topophilia Outbreak in Colleyville Neighborhoods

  The public is invited to stop by Whittier Heights on May 20 to enjoy the rare sight of a Circa 1760 New World Dutch Barn being raised.

Topophilia, literally love of place, is a term describing the strong identity or emotional bond that some people have with a particular place. For them, “home is where the heart is.” But, is just any ol’ place good enough for one’s dream home?

Internationally recognized architect Charles W. Moore certainly believed that good places matter. “Life Takes Place” is the mantra of his Center for the Study of Place at the University of Texas in Austin, where he taught. Of Place, Moore once said, “As everywhere seems to look more and more like nowhere, we seek out places that make us feel as though we are somewhere.”

Author and Stanford University English professor Wallace Stegner wrote that an area becomes a Place only with a person’s deep knowledge of it. That knowing involves the senses, memory, and a personal history there. It takes time, and some places will never be a Place. Others, he said, if they lose their character, cease to be a Place.

Creating character of Place is the mission of the David Bagwell Company. Bagwell observes, “In the simplest way of thinking, a neighborhood is merely people living near one another. A particular neighborhood may be identified by some distinguishing characteristic, like ‘the old part of town’ or ‘the area that floods in a heavy rain’. However, it's the character of Place that qualitatively distinguishes one neighborhood from another. Distinguishing characteristics do not ensure that a neighborhood has character of Place, if by ‘character’ we mean ‘virtue’ or ‘excellence’, as the ancient Greek philosophers taught. For example, the trappings of aesthetically impoverished subdivisions -- those ‘arrested developments’ consisting of little more than a stunted entryway and rows of geegawed muscle houses -- fail to create character that fosters sense of Place.

“Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote, ‘A person’s character is his fate.’ We know that the same is true of neighborhoods that, with wealth of character, enrich the lives of those who dwell there.

“Most people recognize neighborhood character in the country’s historic residential areas, Places whose evocative elements easily explain their appeal. Ample and accessible open space, copious tree planting, and architectural significance realized by design refinement and genuine craftsmanship are common aspects of venerated neighborhoods like River Crest, Ridglea, and Westover Hills in Fort Worth and Lakewood and Highland Park in Dallas,” Bagwell explains.

“The River Crest area of Fort Worth has thirty-one homes listed in the Tarrant County Historic Resources Survey. We suggest prospective homebuyers should consider whether new home subdivisions they’re shopping might ever be noticed by an historic preservation council, much less a home built there receive recognition.”

Bagwell’s luxury home developments in Colleyville invite character evaluation. Whittier Heights, Old Grove at Whittier Heights, the Estates of Westmont, Benedict Hill at Westmont, and Leyton Grove are each distinguished by preservation and enhancement of Mother Nature’s munificence. In these neighborhoods, one is surrounded by her rich colors, texture, fragrances, and sounds, as well as her feathered and four legged inhabitants.

Architectural distinction of homes in these neighborhoods is another discernable character trait. Aesthetic standards guide design, craftsmanship, the selection of materials and fixtures, and the landscaping of home sites. In an effort to help builders recreate lost elements of craftsmanship on the exterior of their homes, Bagwell provides the services of architect Robin McCaffrey at no charge. McCaffrey, a master of subtle neighborhood character determinants, authored the comprehensive historic preservation ordinance of the City of Dallas and the particular preservation ordinances for Swiss Avenue and the West End.

The planting of stalwart trees creates another element of character in Bagwell Company neighborhoods. Specially selected for seasonal interest, these specimens afford the sybaritic aspect of timeless neighborhoods to which people often ascribe Place.

Character also accrues from the placement of resplendent “Neighborhood Identifying Features”, among them the Broughton bower, the Westmont pergola and belvedere, and the Pavilion Nonpareil in Leyton Grove. In Whittier Heights, restoration has begun on a circa 1760 New World Dutch Barn, the massive timbers of which were purchased in western New York state, dismantled and are being shipped via flatbed truck to Colleyville. On Saturday, May 20, the beams and posts of this extraordinary relic will be raised during an event open to the public. Its lakeside setting will offer a panoramic view from a terrace that will be

The public is invited to Whittier Heights on May 20 for the raising of a Circa 1760 New World Dutch Barn, similar to the one pictured here.  

added this summer upon completion of the restoration work. The barn and a circa 1850 timber frame grist mill Bagwell proposes to restore in the adjoining Old Grove neighborhood will serve as venues for formal and informal gatherings of residents and guests.

Homebuyers wanting a Place of their own may sample the character of David Bagwell Company neighborhoods along McDonwell School Road in northwest Colleyville, on Hall-Johnson Road east of Colleyville Boulevard, and on Montclair Drive between Hall-Johnson and Glade Road.

For further information, contact Susan Folkert at 214/673-6754 or click here.


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