The historic Dillow House is no more (“Classy House,” March 13, 2013).
A fire destroyed the house shortly after midnight.
The century-old house became embroiled in controversy after Texas Wesleyan University leaders expressed a desire to tear it down, even though the house had been given to them years earlier as a historically significant home.
School officials used the house for years but recently determined it was too expensive to maintain.
City council members paved the way for demolishing the house after removing its historic designation, even though the city’s Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission had previously denied the school’s request to tear down the house.
That dispute prompted Historic Fort Worth Inc. to file a lawsuit earlier this year.
“If you can bypass the Landmarks Commission, nobody is going to seek to do it anymore,” attorney Art Brender said in state district court while representing Historic Fort Worth in the lawsuit in March.
The lawsuit is expected to test whether the city’s preservation ordinance has any teeth.
Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman Tim Hardeman said fire investigators haven’t determined the cause of the fire.
“Our investigators haven’t been able to get in the structure because of the condition it was in after the fire,” he said. “This fire put it in really bad shape. The roof collapsed. Some of the brick chimney collapsed.”
The house had already been damaged by previous fires, which is one of the reasons that school officials wanted to remove it.