DALLAS - Stepping into the Aldredge House is a bit like going back in time to the opulence of early 20th-century Dallas.
But outside the storied Swiss Avenue home, the heated conflict continues between its neighbors and its owners, the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance. Neighbors began complaining more than two years ago about all the noise associated with the Aldredge House, then a popular wedding venue.
The battle now goes to the city council Wednesday. Neither side is happy.
The neighbors aren’t happy with a proposed planned development zone that would allow the Aldredge House to be operated as a “historic museum and meeting space” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
They said it would effectively make it a 365-day-a-year event center in their Old East Dallas neighborhood.
Four to one, the neighbors surrounding the Aldredge House voted against it.
“Their past behavior shows -- I can't say anything less -- than contempt for this neighborhood,” said Stephanie Stanley, who lives behind the Aldredge House.
The alliance isn’t happy with a “special unit permit” the council is slated to vote on that would govern operations from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. It would allow 36 events per year and a maximum total of three non-consecutive events per month. The alliance said the permit would be too restrictive and even their board meetings would count.
The alliance said they’ve stopped having weddings, they fired their caterer and have done everything they can reasonably do to appease the neighbors.
“We have worked many, many hours to solve all the neighborhood complaints,” said Barenda Hino, immediate past president of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance. “We would like to move forward. We want to preserve this house. We want it to become the premier museum house.”
Clare Chaney, who lives on Swiss Avenue, disagreed with her neighbors’ current stance. While she was sympathetic back in 2015 to the complaints about the noise, she said now she thinks it’s being taken too far, and too many restrictions are being put on the use of the house.
“If you look at Chicago and Savannah (Ga.), they have homes like this, and they’re not as restrictive as that,” she said.
Built in 1914, the Aldredge House was the home of banker George Aldredge and his wife, Rena Munger Aldredge. They donated the home to the alliance in 1974. For decades, it was a popular wedding venue. Even Mayor Mike Rawlings was married there.
When neighbors began complaining about the noise two years ago, they also complained that some of their signatures were forged on documents connected to the Aldredge House. Those documents allowed large tents to be erected at the Aldredge House for weddings.
Stanley provided News 8 copies of those documents where her mother’s name was forged and misspelled.
Hino said they were victims too and that someone forged their signatures.
“We have no reason to believe that anyone from our side was doing those tent forgeries,” Hino said.
Stanley and other neighbors have no trust in Hino’s group.
“They have always been absent from the neighborhood,” said Barbara McDaniel, a Swiss Avenue resident. “So they don’t know and they really don’t care, and that’s the bottom line.”
Stanley cited a wedding that was held there one afternoon in the rose garden that ended when a New Orleans-style band marched down the street.
“It was like being at a band practice or a street in New Orleans,” Stanley said.
Hino said it was one of only two weddings allowed at the home in the past two years. She said it was a family that lived nearby and their daughter had always dreamed of a getting married at the Aldredge House. Hino said the band did not start playing until it left the grounds of Aldredge House as the wedding party marched toward the family’s home on Bryant Parkway.
She said they had permission from the residents on Bryant Parkway for the band.
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