It’s not often that a home that is historically important and an architectural marvel comes up for sale in Fort Worth, but this is one of those rare moments for a buyer who can afford the $8 million asking price.
The Baldridge House at 5100 Crestline Road is one of Fort Worth’s oldest and grandest estates that comes with a Texas Historical Marker and two garages to accommodate the needs of an avid car collector.
The house’s storied history goes beyond the 1978 marker that designates the home as a Texas Historic Landmark. Built between 1910 and 1913 for Earl Baldridge and his wife, Florence. Baldridge’s career as a cattleman and rancher brought him to Fort Worth, where he eventually became a prominent banker.
The house attracted a succession of owners who were also bankers, likely because the home had a concrete bank vault secured by a steel door in the basement.
The house is one of only a few of the grand estates from the turn-of-the-20th Century era, which remain in the Chamberlain-Arlington Heights development of the 1890s.
The house was designed by Sanguinet & Staats, a prolific architecture firm whose work includes many homes and commercial buildings in Fort Worth that are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Baldridge House has undergone many changes over its long history and survived at least one known fire.
Current owner Paun Peters and his wife, Magdaline, bought the house in 2007 after the lender foreclosure on the previous owner, according to public records.
Peters, president of the oil and gas firm of Western Production Company, and his wife were searching for a lot to build a home when they came across the Baldridge House, Peters told Bloomberg.
“My wife, dare I say, lusted for that house,” Peters told Bloomberg. “She always dreamed of having herself in there and walking around on one of the balconies.”
The couple spent $4.5 million on an exhaustive renovation of the 14,000-square-foot home, which included about $500,000 on landscaping, according to Bloomberg.
“The current owners did a beautiful job renovating and restoring the house,” said Fort Worth Realtor Martha Williams, who has been inside the home. “It’s such a unique property.”
The home’s sale is being marketed by Eric Walsh of Giordano, Wegman, Wash and Associates for Fort Worth, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate.
Situated on a 1.5-acre lot, the two-story home has four bedrooms, and three living spaces, “ideal for formal and informal gatherings,” according to the marketing brochure, which describes the house as “an artful balance of historic elegance and modern comfort.”
“The two-story entry veranda is adorned with massive limestone columns, cast-stone balustrades, and intricate stone work,”according to the brochure. “The stunning grand foyer is an architectural feat of excellence with marble floors, wainscoting, coffered ceilings, elliptical arches, and a grand sweeping staircase.”
The four-bedroom home has a master suite with a private balcony that offers panoramic views of Fort Worth. Other features of the house include a wine cellar, fully equipped gym, steam room, staff quarters and cabana-style guest house.
The extensively landscaped grounds include a pool and outdoor kitchen.
One of the two garages on the property has extra vehicle storage space with four garage bays, four car lifts, a workshop and a wash bay.
The old bank vault has been transformed into a media room.
The renovations and additions as well as the white color have dramatically transformed the house from its original look.
“I grew up playing in that house,” said Brent Hyder, whose mother, Martha, still lives a few doors away on Crestline.
Hyder recalls the house as “not that large but designed to look imposing.” He also recalls the house as having red brick and only one bathroom, which was typical for the era when it was built.
“It was built in the same style as Thistle Hill,” he recalled. Thistle Hill, one of the largest Cattle Baron era mansion still standing, was also designed by Sanguinet & Staats.
A devoted preservationist, Hyder bought and is restoring the nearby Bryce House known as Fairview and is in the process of restoring the historical integrity of the home built in 1893, including the obsolete sleeping porches.
The house will only have one bathroom – but “it’s a big one,” Hyder said.
Fairview was also a Sanguinet & Staats-designed home and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The home was built for Scottish immigrant William J. Bryce, a brick mason who became a successful builder and then mayor of Fort Worth.
Hyder’s memories of the Baldridge House include playing with a childhood friend. He recalls exploring the vault, where his friend’s father installed new locks that prevented anyone from accidentally getting locked in.
That friend’s father, Bayard H. Friedman, was a bank CEO and mayor of Fort Worth, when President John F. Kennedy gave his final speech in Fort Worth before he was assassinated in Dallas a few hours later on Nov. 22, 1963.
Sanguinet & Staats
The architectural firm Sanguinet & Staats was founded in 1903 by Marshall R. Sanguinet and Carl G. Staats. Sanguinet, who was twelve years older than Staats, moved to Fort Worth in 1883 and practiced architecture there with a variety of partners until the turn of the century. Staats, a native New Yorker, moved to Texas in 1891 and worked for noted San Antonio architect James Riely Gordon until 1898, when he was hired by Sanguinet as a draftsman. Sanguinet & Staats headquartered in Fort Worth and rapidly developed one of the state’s largest architectural practices; they produced buildings of all types from factories and large hotels to churches and schools. The firm is best known, however, for its contributions to the design of steel-framed skyscrapers. Almost every tall building constructed in Fort Worth before 1930, and for a time the tallest structures in Beaumont, Houston, Midland, and San Antonio, were designed by the firm. The 20-story Amicable Insurance Company Building in Waco, completed in 1911, was for a brief time the tallest building in the Southwest. Other prominent examples include the First National Bank Building, Houston (1905), the Flatiron Building, Fort Worth (1907), the Scarbrough Building, Austin (1910), the C. F. Carter Building, Houston (1919), the South Texas Building, San Antonio, (1919), the Neil P. Anderson Building, Fort Worth (1920), and the Jackson Building, Jackson, Mississippi (1923). – Texas State Historical Association