|The Historic DeGolyer Estate
The Historic DeGolyer Estate, the home of the late Everette L. DeGolyer (1886-1956) and Nell Goodrich DeGolyer (1887-1972), is to be an important addition to the experience of visiting the Dallas Arboretum. In 1936, Everette DeGolyer, a pioneering geophysicist and petroleum geologist known for his outstanding contributions to science, education and community, and his wife, Nell, and their four children moved to Dallas.
After they lived in Dallas a short while, they purchased 44 acres on White Rock Lake (a former dairy farm) and hired California architects Denman Scott and Burton Schutt to design their new home in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The home, a rambling one-story 21,000 square-foot structure, evocative of a Mexican hacienda and noted for its fine craftsmanship, was begun in 1938 and completed in 1940. It was originally called “Rancho Encinal” because of the many live oak trees on the property.
When Mrs. DeGolyer (Nell) died at the age of 85 in 1972, the estate was given to Southern Methodist University (SMU) which later sold the house and grounds to the City of Dallas. The grounds are under the maintenance and supervision of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society. This Estate is on the National Register of Historic Places and it is also a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark Designation.
In 2010, the Dallas Arboretum began a renovation process of the house after significant study and a master plan for how this renovation could be accomplished. With the help of the Eugene McDermott Foundation, Caren and Vin Prothro Foundation, and many other significant donors, the Arboretum was able to raise over one million dollars. The Dallas Arboretum additionally paid to correct the underlying structural problems of the DeGolyer House at a significant cost before cosmetic changes could begin.
After an initial grant was given for preconstruction planning, Emily Summers & Associates was asked to lead the effort. Emily Summers is recognized throughout the country and acclaimed for her vision and style and especially interested in historic preservation. She was also sensitive to the original design intent and conducted her reinterpretation with the finest in current materials melding with the beauty of the past. Her design team spent months on research not only on the study of photographs of these rooms in the early years but also other looks of grand homes in this period. Kristen Weeks led the project to completion for the Summers’ organization.
The Dallas Arboretum has a great opportunity to share not only the beautiful home of the DeGolyer family but the story of the DeGolyers and the lifestyle represented here. Docents can showcase the architectural design present within and the antiques that are a part of its beauty. We encourage you and your family to include a tour of this historic home as part of your visit to the Dallas Arboretum!