By now, many of you have seen the devastating news that our nearest neighbor, the Ambassador Hotel, burned to the ground last night. It cannot be salvaged. This building has been a part of our historic landscape for well over a century. It loomed over our grounds, giving visitors another reminder of what the Cedars neighborhood once looked like.
When the hotel was built in 1904, our properties were connected. For a period, it was known as the Park Hotel because of its adjacency. There are many, many stories of the people that lived or stayed at the hotel. One of my favorites was meeting someone at a public lecture whose grandmother lived at the Ambassador in the 1920s—and courted her future grandfather by walking through City Park. OCP’s very first director lived in an apartment at the Ambassador, and board members remember fixing up his rooms.
We were thrilled when Jim Lake Jr. bought the Ambassador in 2014. The Lake family also has a long connection to OCP, as his mother Barbara was part of our founding generation of volunteers. Jim loves historic buildings as much as we do, and we were eagerly awaiting this building’s next chapter. In fact, members of OCP got a tour of the Ambassador about two weeks ago—we were perhaps the last members of the “public” to be inside this iconic structure.
We are incredibly grateful to the Dallas Fire Department for proactively spraying the Farmstead and Blacksmith Shed down last night. With the quantity of cinders and ash covering the Farmstead this morning, we know Dallas could easily have lost more historic structures last night. The sheep and chickens that live at the Farmstead are also safe.
We are closed today, as access to our western side of the museum is very difficult. We will make a decision about tomorrow later. Smoke still lingers in the air. And soon, they’ll be bringing the walls down. The next time you visit OCP, we will definitely look a little different.
Today, we mourn with our neighbors the loss of this great building. It will take some time for us to get over this loss.
Melissa Prycer Executive Director and President
More on this loss: “There will be no salvage” Dallas News