A Coffee-Table Tribute to Those Who Built This City (Not on Rock and Roll)

From the book: "Storey Stemmons, Trammell Crow and John Stemmons pose prayerfully as L. G.Rainey of Equitable prepares to take over the permanent financing from J.D. Francis of the Mercantile Bank."

After the jump, the full press release announcing the publication of THE BOOK -- Dallas/Fort Worth Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame, which celebrates many of the folks who built this city, as well as the things they, like, built or something? Becky and Taylor Mayad were kind enough to send us a few photos from the 240-page hardcover coffee-table book, which ain't cheap ($150, proceeds going to the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors), as well as some highlights from its pages. Among them is this gem in which, finally, I find my nickname. After the jump, as well, a photo revealing how this man wound up damned handsome. --Robert Wilonsky

When asked if he'd run for Mayor, John M. Stemmons, Sr. stated, "I'd shoot somebody. Hell, that would drive me crazy." Speaking of Judge Lew Sterrett, he said "I thought he was a thief and a mongrel, and I told him so." Better known for helping develop North Texas' water supply, Stemmons also handed out his "Stemmonsky, Big John's Finest Land Peddler Hooch" to those he felt deserving. His brother, L. Storey Stemmons, was the quieter, scholarly sibling who used reverse psychology to seal the deal. The two brothers later donated the land that would be used to build Interstate 35. Leslie Stemmons, the father of John and Storey, led the creation and completion of a levee system for the Trinity River.
Angus Wynne Jr., who, with architect Roscoe P. DeWitt, conceived of Wynnewood as “one-self-contained community," according to The Dallas Morning News in 1946

LEGENDS OF NORTH TEXAS COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE COMMEMORATED IN THE BOOK – DALLAS/FORT WORTH COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE HALL OF FAME

D/FW biggest names in real estate profiled in coffee-table book to be unveiled Nov. 11; its sale to benefit the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors

DALLAS/FORT WORTH (Oct. 28, 2008) – The legendary figures whose extraordinary vision and real estate prowess shaped North Texas over the past 70 years – names such as Stemmons, Crow, Carpenter and Staubach -- are profiled in a new coffee-table book called THE BOOK – Dallas/Fort Worth Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. THE BOOK, which is available for sale and will benefit the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors (NTCAR), will be unveiled at a reception honoring all the Hall of Fame recipients and their families Tues., Nov. 11, from 4-6 p.m. at Al Biernat’s. Media are invited to attend.

Never before have the “behind the scene” stories of these North Texas real estate icons been collected in one volume. The NTCAR Hall of Fame celebration kicked off in 1988 and has since honored 69 men and women for their exceptional contributions. Each recipient is profiled in a two-page spread featuring anecdotal stories, photos and a listing of the individual’s birthplace, year they entered real estate, their current status and most notable contributions.

The first six distinguished real estate veterans were Trammell Crow; Lyn Davis; Henry S. Miller, Jr.; John M. Stemmons, Sr. and his brother, L. Storey Stemmons; and Angus G. Wynne. Their influence is seen in such diverse projects as the Dallas Market Center; Highland Park Village, the first shopping center in America; the Trinity Industrial District and Interstate 35-E; and Six Flags Over Texas.

“One of our biggest concerns was that the incredibly colorful stories of the past 100-plus years might be forgotten as we move into the 21st century,” said Robert Grunnah, one of the three-member team who conceived and crafted THE BOOK. “These great men and women are a critical part of our community’s history. Because of their bold courage, sheer perseverance, wisdom and out-and-out guts, the Dallas/Fort Worth region is now the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S.”

The project was the brainchild of three men who conceived the idea six years ago and have since met every Tuesday at Sevy’s to pour over details that are not part of their typical commercial real estate routines -- from raising money, eyeballing photos to proofing copy and galleys, to selecting fonts and paper stock, to discussing sponsorship calls. Joining Grunnah for the weekly meetings were Darrell Hurmis and Chris Teesdale.

“We had this great idea to publish a book -- and none of us had any idea how or the amount of work it involved,” said Hurmis. “But we believe deeply in the project and know it will inform and inspire not only those in the real estate industry but anyone who cares about the Dallas/Fort Worth region.”

The book explores the past developments in commercial real estate, noting that in 1979 Dallas only had 13 buildings over 400 feet tall. Also showcased are some of the region’s biggest projects, including Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Trinity River Corridor Project and Fort Worth Trinity River Vision, Glory Park and Woodall Rodgers Park. Further, the impact of the Barnett Shale on Fort Worth was unknown until 2000.

Also recognized in THE BOOK are the recipients of a myriad of awards such as the Stemmons Service Award and the Michael McAuley Award.

“There’s also a great diagram that we have called ‘The Family Tree’ that visually shows the timeline of the commercial real estate industry going back to 1874 when Bolanz & Miller were formed,” said Teesdale. “It’s pretty fascinating to see that the real estate stars of today got their start under the guidance of the founding fathers, such as Trammell Crow, the Stemmons brothers, Henry S. Miller and others.”

The 240-page hardcover book features colorful photos, many unseen by the general public. According to author Elizabeth D. Perkins, THE BOOK is the result of thousands of hours of research, including interviews with the individuals, their coworkers and family members, and culling through old newspaper clips and microfiche documents. The Dallas Public Library and the Dallas Historical Society aided the research efforts.

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