Henry Bowers (Hal) Thomson
Henry Bowers (Hal) Thomson was considered a master of many different architectural
styles, including Tudor, Georgian, Neoclassical, Italianate, Spanish Eclectic and French
Many of his finest works can be seen along Swiss Avenue, the home of Dallas high
society in the 1920s.
Historic Aldredge House at 5500 Swiss Avenue is the most well-known Thomson house
that Thomson designed. Constructed from 1915 to 1917, the French Eclectic design,
with its center pediment, columns and porch balustrades, is the epitome of the lavish
architectural style of the Gilded Era.
Over the past one hundred years Thomson’s work has come to represent one of the
most important periods in Dallas’ history—referred to by many as its golden era. As the
architect of some of the city’s grandest houses, concentrated mostly on Swiss,
Bordeaux and Armstrong avenues, Thomson helped to shape many significant
neighborhoods and create a new air of sophistication within the city.
Born in Austin in 1882 to a ranching family, Thomson graduated from the University of
Texas in 1902 and received his master’s degree in architecture from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. After extensive travel in Europe, Thomson returned to Texas in
1907 to establish his own architecture firm in Dallas.
He immediately became part of the city’s social elite, co-founding Brookhollow Golf
Club, serving as president of The Idlewild Club, and becoming a member of the Dallas
Country Club. He also married into one of the city’s most prominent families– the Adoue
family, founders of the National Bank of Commerce. These social connections certainly
afforded Thomson opportunities as a designer, but it was his training in the classic
architecture of Europe and his immense talent that made his career in Dallas.