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Kendall Jennings, PCHPS president; James Farmer, featured speaker; Liz Farley, Luncheon Chair; Tish Key, Home Tour Chair.

James Farmer, nationally renowned professional garden, floral and interior designer, cook, author and lifestyle expert, shared delightful and entertaining stories of his Southern heritage and how he learned to bring food literally from dirt to dessert at the 6th Annual Distinguished Speaker luncheon benefiting the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s (PCHPS) at the Dallas Country Club.

Kendall Jennings, president of the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society, worked with luncheon chair Liz Farley, Annual Historic Home Tour chair Tish Key and  Annual Classic and Antique Car Show chairs Polly and Dan McKeithen to bring these events together in one theme for the year:
Taste • Tour • Explore. Libby and David Hunt were Honorary Chairs.

Emcee Scott Murray welcomed guests and introduced Kendall, who announced PCHPS was giving two $4,000 scholarships in May to Highland Park High School graduating seniors planning to study architecture, history or preservation. She also announced the PCHPS archives would be set up at the University Park Library.

Special thanks went to Tish for her wonderful artwork in hand painting the vases on each table as the centerpiece filled with glorious hydrangeas and roses. Pierce Allman gave the invocation and a delicious luncheon was served.

Following luncheon, Scott talked about the Hunt Family, their rich history and great tradition as community and business leaders and of their dedicated involvement in the Park Cities and Dallas.

Sharon Wellhouse spoke on behalf of Brint Ryan, whose company Ryan was presenting sponsor, and his dedication to preserving the once aging landmark Settles Hotel in Big Spring, Texas, his home town. He invested $30 million in its renovation. Under his guidance, the building was impeccably restored, and designed with the rich history of the area in mind. She said he is truly a preservationist and is honored to be presenting sponsor of these events for the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society.

Pierce introduced James Farmer who began his charming and amusing presentation with insightful stories about his family history and growing up in Perry, Georgia with their unconditional love and support for what they saw was a passion and a knack for design. The delighted crowd listened while he shared episodes about being a third generation student at Auburn University, being inspired by Southern traditions, writing his first book and visits with his publisher, his relationships with dear friend Jenna Bush Hager and Southern Living magazine and more. He said preserving history and the stories behind the humanity of tradition is a heritage worth celebrating.

The event closed with presentation of a gift to James, who graciously signed copies of his newest book, A Time to Celebrate, until the supply was depleted. Not to worry, if someone wanted an autographed copy, he agreed all they had to do was buy a copy online and send him a personal note with their inscription, and he would take care of it. Truly a Southern gentleman!

Presenting Media Sponsor is D Home and Community Media Sponsor is The Park Cities News and The Waters Family.  

PCHPS mission is to preserve and promote the history, architecture, aesthetics and cultural traditions of the Park Cities. Proceeds of the 2017 Luncheon will be used to help preserve and maintain the Park Cities House at Dallas Heritage Village, support the new PCHPS archives at the University Park Library, fund the Society’s landmarking initiatives and award scholarships to Highland Park High School graduating seniors planning to study architecture, history or preservation. Membership in PCHPS is open to the public. For more information visit

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