Built in 1910, the two-story, red-brick house at 4513 Gaston had been built during the turn-of-the-century glory days of East Dallas when Swiss Avenue was the showplace boulevard just blocks away. Over the years, both the house and the neighborhood had their ups and downs. Like other family homes in the area, 4513 evolved into a boarding house that was in need of some love and attention.
Fast-forward to 1987, when four female alcoholics created The Magdalen House to help alcoholic women achieve sobriety. Over the years the program became the “only agency in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to offer comprehensive recovery services – without insurance or state funding – 100% free of charge.” But as its assistances and client list grew, so did the need for a larger space to expand its no-cost recovery services.
In the meantime, 4513 was seen by many as falling on hard times. But The Magdalen House team saw a greater future for both the house and their program, with 4513 serving as their new home. So they rolled up their collective sleeves to raise funds to resurrect the house. It wasn’t going to be just a nice face lift; it was going to be a total renovation utilizing 21st century talent, materials and plans while retaining its bygone charm. They even gave 4513 a new name — Maggie’s House.
The Magdalen House’s new home would provide:
After two years of fundraising and construction, the big day for Maggie’s House’s official debut took place Thursday morning. Despite a slight chill in the air, people lined up on the front walk leading to Maggie’s House with its new siding, roof, windows and doors. Stretched between the rebuilt front porch’s arch was a green ribbon waiting to be cut and allowing guests to see that the interior renovations were equally impressive and done with care.
Here’s a report from the field:
Capital Campaign Co-Chair Dave Kroencke highlighted that the idea for a new house first began in June of 2014, a milestone nearly seven years in the making, and a project that raised $3.5 million dollars from over 470 individual donors. He recognized Delia Johnson and Sandra Harper Hallmark of the Crowley Foundation who provided the funds to purchase the land in the early stages of the project. He also gave special thanks to project partners KDC and Omniplan for their time and resources gifted in-kind to the project.
KDC CEO Steve Van Amburg explained, “One of KDC’s core beliefs and values is giving back to those communities in which we work in, live in and raise our families in. In those communities like Dallas, we love to partner with not-for-profits on their various projects. It is a natural fit for us to assist with developing The Magdalen House, where the additional space and design will help even more women in our community achieve sobriety and true success in their live. It has truly been a privilege to work with The Magdalen House on their much needed new home. Serving others is a good thing for our community yet even more so our Company.”
He then introduced KDC Design and Construction VP Hector Patino, mentioning his “servant’s heart” and that his “commitment to the project was unwavering.”
Hector gave more special thanks to project partners, and a brief history of the project that officially began in 2017, expressing that his involvement on the project led him to joining The Magdalen House Board of Directors earlier this year.
The Magdalen House Director of Outreach/The Magdalen House programs alumna Ainsley Chapman gave a brief history of how the organization began in 1987, how it saved her life in 2014, the growth that the organization has experienced in her six years as a staff member, and expressed her gratitude for the new space that will continue to help alcoholic women for years to come. “Through it all, one thing that has and will always stay true to this house is our mission. We help alcoholic women for free. We show them a spiritual solution that will give them total freedom for a lifetime. We provide love and care to them and their families. We give them a place and a community to feel connected to. And now, we get to do all of those things in a beautiful home that these women deserve.
The Magdalen House Executive Director Lisa Kroencke thanked The Magdalen House staff for all they have done to keep the doors open throughout the project, while continuing to prosper and grow. She gave additional thanks to all the individuals who have worked to provide alcoholic women with a place of dignity to recover, especially Steve who helped set the project into motion with his desire to help, and Hector for his unwavering commitment to the project. She shared her experience finding the house in 2007 as a newly sober woman, and the community of women that make The Magdalen House so special. “Here we will help others find the light, find the light in the darkness. Because in the light, the stigma and the shame of alcoholism cannot survive.”
* Photo provided by The Magdalen House