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Luxury and the artsFrom houses to cars and from Hockney to van Dyck, a profile of the best and the worst

Mount Vernon: The real Southfork

Dallas mansion with a prayer room and the largest private bowling centre in America that was previously owned by a billionaire oil baron remains for sale despite a price cut of £7 million

 

Television writer David Jacobs based J. R. Ewing on the billionaire oil baron H. L. Hunt, Jr. when he created Dallas in 1978. Whilst the character played by the late Larry Hagman resided at Southfork in the fictional series, Hunt himself lived for the best part of his life in what genuinely should be regarded as one of the most iconic residences in Texas, Mount Vernon. It is currently owned by the “super broker” John Amend, has hosted members of the Bush family and is currently on the market for £12.8 million ($19 million).

 

Mount Vernon The real Southfork
Christie’s International Real Estate describe Mount Vernon as “the most famous property in Texas” whilst others claim it be “more iconic than Southfork”
Mount Vernon The real Southfork
John Amend with Laura Bush and with his wife Teresa
Mount Vernon The real Southfork
H L Hunt and his third wife Ruth at Mount Vernon in September 1972

 

Built on the shores of White Rock Lake,eight miles north-east of Dallas, as a larger replica of George Washington’s plantation home and named after it, this particular Mount Vernon was constructed between 1928 and 1930. Thomas Y. Pickett, its first owner, having just about weathered the depression, sold the house before completing it to Harold Lafayette Hunt, Jr. (1889 – 1974) in 1938 for $69,000 (the equivalent of $1.1 million or £740,000 today). The sale price included two peacocks, some chickens, a cow and a calf and over the next six decades, the Hunt family added a swimming pool, garaging and guest accommodation.

 

The widow of the astoundingly thrice married father of fifteen Hunt – who had a net worth equivalent to 1/474th of the GNP of the US at his death – sold Mount Vernon to the self-declared real estate “pioneer and innovator” John T. Amend and his wife Teresa in 1999. Mr and Mrs Amend completely renovated the property and added an amazing array of facilities including a professionally equipped 4,668 square foot bowling centre and a 4,760 square foot showroom for their car collection.

 

Mount Vernon itself now consists of a 5 bedroom main residence extending to 10,511 square foot and a 4,168 square foot guest house with a further 4 bedrooms. Special features, other than those already mentioned, number a prayer room, a wine tasting room, wine storage rooms and a cabana designed to host parties.

 

Mount Vernon The real Southfork
An aerial view shows the extent of the 10 acre plot on which 4009 West Lawther Drive sits
Mount Vernon The real Southfork
Any buyer is likely to update the somewhat outdated decoration in a more neutral and modern style
Mount Vernon The real Southfork
Leisure facilities include a 4,700 square foot bowling centre a swimming pool and a games room
Mount Vernon The real Southfork
There are five bedrooms in the main house and a further four in the guest quarters
Mount Vernon The real Southfork
One of a pair of entrance gates to the Mount Vernon estate

 

The Amends are well known on the Texan social circuit and for their philanthropy. They have hosted over 400 events at Mount Vernon during their ownership and guests have included such people as Glenn Close and President George W. and Laura Bush and their twin daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush.

 

In 2011, the couple decided to sell the house in order to “simplify [their] lives” and placed it on the market for a price rumoured to be £21.9 million ($32.5 million). Despite its illustrious history and price cuts to £19.8 million ($29.5 million) in 2012 and £12.8 million ($19 million) most recently, Mount Vernon remains unsold.

 

The agent marketing this unusual estate is Allie Beth Allman of Allie Beth Allman & Associates.

 

 

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Comments

5 comments on “Mount Vernon: The real Southfork”

  1. The facade is stunning but what on earth would one do in Dallas? If it were in the Hamptons, this house would be worth four times as much. What a shame it can’t be picked up and moved.

  2. Interesting story. To think that the oil man had 15 kids by 3 women (and one of them was a dodgy marriage given he was committing bigamy). The bowling alley is cool and I love the garage.

  3. The gates look like they’re from the seventies and the bedrooms look like something out of an old bed and breakfast. The buyer will have to spend a lot on updating and the kitchen especially (I looked at the website via your link) needs to be put in a skip.

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