It only seemed right that the Park Cities Historical and Preservation Society‘s first Distinguished Speaker Luncheon on April 13 was held at the Dallas Country Club. After all, it had all the PC trappings. Location: DCC. Entertainment: Members of the Highland Park High School Lads & Lassies. Honorary Chair: Lindalyn Adams. Sponsor: Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. Keynote speaker: Ray “Mr. HP Village” Washburne. Topic: Highland Park Village (HPV).
Needless to say, it so sold out beforehand that organizers had to remove the ticket link from the PCHP’s website days before the lunch. Perhaps they should have moved it to Highlander Stadium?
Promptly at noon the Lads & Lassies sang a selection of songs including the blessing, despite many of the 300 guests having already eaten their salad and one poor dedicated server continuing to replenish water glasses.
As the speakers took their place on stage, it became apparent that sound was going to be an issue. Yes, there were two very large speakers near the stage with the sound man sitting underneath one of them. But at the back of the room, nada. The problem was if you increased the sound for the back of the room, you blew out the guests like Norma Hunt, Al Hill Jr., and Heather Washburne in the front.
From the rear of the room, Sharman Beasley Vesecky approached one of the guests standing on the sidelines, saying, “We can’t hear anything.” The guest then advised her that she ought to tell someone. “Aren’t you running this thing?” Sharman asked. The guest shook their head and Sharman walked off in search of a staffer.
First on the agenda was the honoring of Lindalyn Adams. After PCHPS President-elect Mike Tibbals read a score of her accomplishments with a multitude more to come, he told the audience, “They tell me I don’t have time to go on.” Lindalyn stood to acknowledge the tribute and was met with a standing “O.” In return she blew a kiss to the room.
Next up was Robbie Briggs to introduce Ray. As he listed Ray’s many accomplishments, he mentioned that people enjoyed sitting on the patio above the HP Village Theatre at the Mercury Grill. Oops. A murmur went through the crowd and Ray grinned.
At 12:45 p.m. Ray with wireless mic and slideshow started his talk about the HPV that he and his family bought back in 2009. Highlights included:
- “You can buy dog food in the morning, have lunch and go to Chanel in the afternoon.”
- HPV was once advertised as, “It’s 10 degrees cooler in the Highland Park Village.”
- The build of HPV took 30 years.
- On a layout of HPV, he showed how the design is a high-tech version of the old town square.
- Underground parking was added in 1953.
- The colors of the lights in the town and the HPV flags will change when the occasion arises.
- Plans call for a fountain to be added in front of the theater.
- More trees and residential landscaping have been added to reduce the feel of concrete.
- The “Starbucks building” will be renovated so that it is more in keeping with the overall design of the center.
At 1:07 p.m. Ray thanked the crowd and received a SO. He not only knew his stuff, he knew how to make it interesting for history lovers, and just long enough.
As guests waited for valet, the DCC porte-cochere got a baptism of sorts. One lady burned rubber when she peeled out. One guest suggested that “perhaps her heel got stuck.” Oh, those stilettos can be treacherous.
TRAFFIC TIP: When going to the DCC via the Mockingbird entrance, try your bestest to approach from Preston Road.