Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Historic Belmont Hotel Dallas Texas


The Story of the Historic Belmont Hotel

In the Beginning…
The Belmont Motor Hotel was built in 1946 for the then astounding sum of $400,000. Designed by Charles Stevens Dilbeck, it is an interesting example of Art Moderne design – with emphasis on horizontal lines, rounded corners and stucco facades. Art Moderne was considered the counter point to the earlier Art Deco trends which focused on the vertical and more angular and polychromatic elements.

When construction began, nearly 8,000 cubic yards of earth and rock were moved to sculpt the cliff site to allow guests unparalleled views of the Dallas skyline. All of the latest building technologies available were incorporated into the design and planning of the hotel. Built of fireproof masonry, it was one of the first hotels to offer year round air-conditioning. Similarly elaborate motor court hotels had been successful in California, and architect Charles Stevens Dilbeck took his inspiration from those examples, accenting the series of Moderne structures with Colonial-style details.

Since the 1950’s the Belmont Hotel had fallen prey to time’s abuses. Local developer Monte Anderson, Options Real Estate Investments, assembled a new urbanist team of architects, designers and craftsmen to bring the wonderful, though long neglected, hotel back to its glory days. The impressive restoration was completed in late 2005.

About Charles Steven Dilbeck…
Considered to be a regional treasure, Dilbeck was a self-taught architectural designer who helped shape the architectural heritage of Dallas. Arriving in Dallas during The Depression, Dilbeck began designing homes in the new, affluent neighborhoods of Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Lakewood and Oak Cliff. As a designer he immediately sealed his reputation through his interesting and complex use of detail and architectural materials.

As the career of Dallas’ most idiosyncratic architect progressed, the style of his work evolved from Ranch into the French Eclectic idiom, and finally into Art Moderne. By the 1940s, Dilbeck was as renowned throughout Dallas and North Texas for his motel architecture as for his residential work.

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