Eccentric Socialite Proves to be More Than Merely Legend
Corroborating a legend is never easy. In the 39 years since her death, Susie Rose Youree Lloyd seems to have been all but forgotten, except for a few short paragraphs in Diane Galloway’s books on Park Cities history.
The legend goes that in the early days of Highland Park, the town’s budget was mistakenly sent to her house. Thinking it was her tax bill, she sat down and wrote a check for the entire amount.
No records or persons were able to confirm the legend or the amount sent, but it does somewhat illustrate her reputation and character.
If her name doesn’t sound familiar, perhaps her residence does. Lloyd lived in the mansion at 4101 Beverly Drive, on a 6.6-acre estate now owned by Ed Cox that sits just south of the Dallas Country Club.
Lloyd and her husband, Alfred Tennyson Lloyd, an advertising executive and shrewd investor, bought the house in 1915 for $22,500, according to an article in The Dallas Morning News from March of that year. It was said to be “the most expensive residence site ever sold in Dallas.”
To give perspective, the house is now worth $21,369,910, according to the Dallas Central Appraisal District, and it was built by famed architect Herbert Greene, who also designed the Belo Mansion.
The Lloyd fortune came, as best can be discerned, from her husband’s investments and her own inherited fortune, said lawyer James Van Hook Jr., who also said the Lloyds divorced but remained great friends.
Van Hook is the son and grandson of the lawyers who managed properties Rose inherited from her father, Peter Youree, a prosperous banker and businessman in Shreveport, where she was born in 1881.
Rose loved the arts. She reportedly hosted a fete for opera cast members in 1939, and she took in a 1951 performance as a guest of Joe and Evelyn Lambert, of Lambert’s Landscaping.
In 1970, Rose auctioned off a $5,000 French picnic for 36 guests in her gardens to benefit TACA, which Evelyn Lambert helped found. Caviar was flown in for the decadent party, which was bought by a group that included civic leader James H. Bond and his wife. The guest list included Perry and Nancy Bass and Jane Murchison, among other bigwigs. And the servers for the party were local celebrities, including Dorothy Malone, and Henry S. Miller Jr.
Entertainment was provided by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “I’ve directed many concerts,” conductor Anshel Brusilow told the Morning News, “but never one where the orchestra outnumbered the audience.”
Rose was a certified “clubwoman,” attending Calyx Club, Idlewild Club, and Hesitation Club parties, and playing golf at Brook Hollow Golf Club and the Dallas Country Club.
According to Galloway’s book Dallas Country Club: The First 100 Years, she was also a bit of a thorn in the DCC’s side. During a party she was having in her garden, she smelled an offensive odor coming from Turtle Creek. The country club had been running its sewage, with town approval, into the creek.
Not having any of that, Rose had the drain cemented shut overnight and called the next morning to advise the club to not let any of its members run the showers that day.
Rose died in 1974 and was buried in Scottsville, near Marshall, which was founded by her maternal grandfather, state senator and plantation owner William Thomas Scott.
If our civil servants were important to making Highland Park what it is today, so too were the socialites and philanthropists. Lloyd’s eccentricities live on in legend, but so do her contributions to the arts.