History & Heritage

1908
SHEPPARD W. KING AND WIFE BUILD ORIGINAL MANOR

Sheppard W. King, who made his fortune in the cotton market, and wife Bertha Wilcox construct the Mission Revival Manor. The Turtle Creek neighborhood is experiencing the first wave of residential migration north from downtown Dallas, and theirs is the third palatial home built in the area. 

1923
FIRE DESTROYS ORIGINAL MISSION REVIVAL MANOR

The King family travels through Europe on frequent trips with architect John Allen Boyle. They collect architectural inspiration and bespoke design elements as the new manor is built. No expense nor talent is spared while the King’s procure rare collections and architectural furnishings from Germany, Italy, England, Spain and elsewhere.

1923 to 1925
NEW KING ESTATE BUILT IN EXTRAVAGANT STYLE

Fashioned after a 16th-century Italian Renaissance-style structure, the estate comprises 10,000 square feet.

  • The estate is set on solid bedrock Texas limestone, with a nine-foot-deep basement serving as a silver vault.
  • Painted rusty pink, the stucco covered solid brick walls vary in thickness from 15 to 36 inches. 
  • Marble is lavishly installed on the cantilevered stairway which is considered an engineering feat of its time.
  • Two pairs of tall, carved wood doors from a 19th-century Spanish cathedral are placed in the grand entry.
  • A stained-glass window bearing the coats of arms of the British barons who witnessed the signing of the 1215 Magna Carta at Runnymede is displayed in the library. Mrs. King was a descendant of King Edward III of England. 
  • The richly-ornamented 16th-century stone fireplace is brought to Dallas from Germany and is positioned in the oak paneled library. 
  • Swiss artist Peter Mansbendel elaborately carves the library’s wood mantel, surround and entry doors.
  • The library’s ceiling, hand-crafted by Italian immigrant plaster maker Giovanni Primo Casci, and wood paneling are reproductions of an estate in Bromley-by-Bow near London, as is the limestone fireplace located in the dining room.
  • The dining room is a creation of French architect M. Jacques Caree, with a ceiling composed of 2,400 separate pieces of enameled and inlaid wood that takes six carpenters eight weeks to install.
  • Dating from the early 1500s, two Rosa Verona marble columns in the dining room are procured from the Palace of the Villa Madama near Rome.

1925
10,000-SQUARE-FOOT SHEPPARD KING ESTATE IS COMPLETE

The King estate is one of the finest homes in Dallas, known for lavish parties and social events. The palatial manor has eight rooms downstairs, five bedrooms, four bathrooms and four staff rooms upstairs.

1935
KING FAMILY FALLS ON HARD TIMES

The King family loses their fortune and the iconic estate is sold to Freeman Burford and wife Carolyn Skelly, notable names in the oil industry. The original architect, John Allen Boyle, is retained to remodel and update the manor. Ornate ceiling carvings are added to the grand living room, which later becomes The Mansion Restaurant’s main dining room.

1936
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT AND FIRST LADY VISIT DALLAS

The first of many dignitaries to stay at the mansion, the President visits in honor of the Texas Declaration of Independence’s centennial anniversary. Mrs. Burford has only one month to prepare for the President’s visit and rushes to convert a bedroom closet into a bathroom to accommodate the President and First Lady.

1940s
TENNESSEE WILLIAMS IS GUEST OF THE MANSION

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams writes Summer and Smoke while a guest at the mansion. The play later makes its world premiere in Dallas prior to its opening on Broadway.

1940s to 1970s
THE MANSION CONVERTED TO PRESTIGIOUS CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS
In the late 1940s, oilman Toddie Lee Wynne purchases the estate and converts to his American Liberty Oil Company headquarters. In the late 1960s Gulf Insurance occupies the historic mansion and shortly thereafter in the early 1970s Republic Financial Services acquires the property. 

LATE 1970s
MANSION IN DANGER OF DEMOLISHMENT 

Dallas real estate developer Robert Bridewell approaches Rosewood Corporation with an inspired plan to save the historically significant property as it fell in imminent danger of being torn down for a high-rise office building. Mr. Bridewell proposes a restoration of the mansion turning it into a fine restaurant and a small hotel to be built adjacent. 

1979
ROSEWOOD CORPORATION PURCHASES AND TRANSFORMS THE ESTATE INTO A WORLD-CLASS RESTAURANT & HOTEL

Dallas-based Rosewood Corporation restores the home to its original grandeur. The two-year, $21 million transformation includes the following architectural updates:

  • The veranda is enclosed in glass. Filled with natural light, it becomes part of the restaurant.
  • The original library and living room are transformed into the restaurant’s main dining areas.
  • The family’s spacious silver vault is transformed into a private wine cellar and dining room.
  • The estate’s kitchen and dining room are converted into The Mansion Bar.
  • The second-floor bedrooms are transformed into stunning private event spaces.

1980
THE MANSION RESTAURANT DEBUTS TO CRITICAL ACCLAIM

The Mansion Restaurant opens on August 6, 1980 to rave reviews. Instantly, The Mansion Restaurant is the place to see and be seen in Dallas. High-profile stars, prominent celebrities, global leaders, business moguls, musicians, the society set, and political power players are patrons.

1981
LUXURY HOTEL OPENS IN GRAND STYLE

Built to complement the original estate, 143 hotel guestrooms and suites are designed with a residential style. Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek receives the Historic Preservation League of Dallas’ Keystone Award. On May 16, 1981, proceeds from the opulent hotel grand opening gala are donated to Dallas artistic and educational enterprises.

 

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