National Register of Historic Places Marker Unveiling

An overflowing crowd gathered on the lawn at the home of Dr. Clay W. Gilbert Sunday, December 7. The occasion was the unveiling of a National Register of Historic Places marker…..the first marker in Irving, Texas! The unveiling brought forth cheers of congratulations. Marvin Randle served as emcee for the day as well as provided reflections of a proclamation he had presented when he was mayor of Irving to Dr. Gilbert’s father, Dr. Franklin Monroe Gilbert, at the time of Dr. F.M. Gilbert’s retirement from the medical profession.

Additional speakers included Shirley Dobson presenting a state resolution on behalf of State Representative Linda Harper Brown and City Councilman Joe Putnam reading a proclamation from the City of Irving. Kaye Ward offered congratulations from the Irving Heritage Society and invited guests to enjoy refreshments at the Heritage House next door after the unveiling.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. It is authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and is under the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Services. Listing in the National Register of Historic Places provides formal recognition of a property’s historical, architectural or archeological significance based on national standards used by every state.

There are four criterions that are considered for receiving this recognition. Mary Higbie provided a recap of those requirements and noted that the Joffre-Gilbert House was ranked on not just one but two levels. The areas of significance associated with the Joffre-Gilbert House are health/medicine and architecture.

The house is significant under Criterion C in the area of architecture as an important and singular local example of a Craftsman “airplane “ bungalow. It is the only one in Irving and unique in design. The house is also significant under Criterion B in the area of health/medicine for the association with Dr. Franklin Monroe Gilbert who purchased the house in 1939. Dr. F.M Gilbert and his father Dr. Daniel Webster Gilbert compassionately served the medical community without interruption for over a century.

The Joffre-Gilbert House is located at 309 South O’Connor (formerly Iowa Street) and was built in 1919 by the first owner A. Fred Joffre. It was recognized with a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission in 1999. The Irving Heritage Society Landmark was presented by the City of Irving Preservation and Redevelopment and the Irving Heritage Society in 2000 and an Irving Texas Centennial marker was presented in 2003. An earlier Irving Heritage Society Landmark plaque was also placed on the Gilbert home.

The afternoon program and refreshments were arranged by the Irving Heritage Society and the Irving Museum Advisory Board.

The Irving Heritage Society’s vision:

A diverse community that values its past, celebrates its present, and embraces its future.