Story courtesy of Historic Tyler Inc.
Mo and Doug McSwane are opening their Tyler home Friday for Historic Tyler Inc.’s first stand-alone 2013 Tour event — a Candlelight Party. Historically and architecturally important, the property is an appealing setting for this traditionally outdoor celebration. Guests will tour the home from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with the garden party from 7 to 11 p.m.
Not unusual at the time, the house plans were bought from Holland’s, a trend-setting home design magazine and given a full spread feature in the April 1939 issue, identifying it as Plan #20357, and built in Tyler, Texas by H.D. Hall.
The current owners, who bought the property in 1993, discovered this through a serendipitous find by an acquaintance.
“A friend of ours was at an estate sale looking through some old magazines when she saw a picture that looked like our house,” Mo said. “She was certain when she read that the home had been built in Tyler, Texas. So, she bought the magazine for us as a surprise.”
The article and cover from this April 1939 issue of Holland’s now hangs framed in the McSwane’s living room,
Originally built for Herbert D. Hall and his wife, Willena, this was home to the Halls and their four boys from 1938 to 1940 when, after only two years, they sold it to Isadore Roosth and his wife, Pauline. It was here that over the following 30 years the Roosths raised their family, Sam, Sherry Lynn, Susan Elaine, Hannah Diane and Toni Ellen.
Roosth was in oil production and became a philanthropic community leader in East Texas. In 1968 the Roosths sold the property to Tyler physician Dr. Durward Hendry and his wife, Louise.
By 1980, Doug McSwane had completed his law degree in Austin and had met with firms in East Texas, but according to Mo, it was the combination of the opportunity to join Potter Minton law offices and the appeal of Tyler’s historic residential areas that made their decision to move to Tyler easy. “Doug called me in Austin and said I would love this community and I truly do,” Mo said.
Thirteen years had passed since their move to Tyler, and the McSwanes had begun to notice this fascinating, vintage Tudor property and heard it was going to be on the market. In 1993 the McSwanes bought the house from Mrs. Hendley, who by then was a widow.
An oversized arched doorway opens into the formal dining room with a unique seashore theme, important to the McSwane family. Opposite is the sunken living room and adjoining sunroom with textiles and pillows in the myriad colors of Mexico, a reflection of Mo’s early childhood spent in McAllen, and the craft arts of her mother, Peggy Jones.
The guest bedroom features handwoven fabrics Mo brought from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Tyler’s most recent Sister City affiliate.
About the time the McSwanes were taking ownership of the property, a large tree fell, totally crushing the covered walkway connecting the main house to the garage.
Faced with the need for immediate repairs, the McSwanes decided to create an upstairs enclosed bridge/gallery, replacing the original multi-roomed area over the garage with a spacious, secluded master suite. Otherwise, the provenance of the original house is intact with only updating in the kitchen and widening access to the back staircase.
The Candlelight Party will include touring the McSwane home, informal dining and music by “The Geezers.” For information and reservations call Historic Tyler, Inc. at 903-595-1960 or go the website www.historictyler.org.