Eccentric Socialite Proves to be More Than Merely Legend

Rose Lloyd lived in the mansion on the 6.6-acre estate on the corner of Beverly and Preston, shown here in 1913. She was a supporter of the arts, serving on boards of the Dallas Symphony and the Dallas Civic Opera.
Lloyd is said to be the fashionable golfer on the left in this photo by Frank Rogers taken in 1925. (Photo: The collections of the Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library)

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.

8 thoughts on “Eccentric Socialite Proves to be More Than Merely Legend

  • May 9, 2013 at 12:41 pm
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    I love these kinds of stories! What’s even more cool is to click on the aerial view for a larger version and see other far flung homes and plots. I wonder if any of those structures are still standing.

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  • May 9, 2013 at 7:17 pm
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    I have heard on numerous occasions that at one point Dallas Country Club asked if they could buy her property to which she responded “no, but how much will you take for your club?”

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  • May 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm
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    My Great Aunt was good friends with Electra Waggoner and her estate was on Preston Road. She was really eccentric! Any stories about her?

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  • May 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm
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    @ Scooter — I haven’t heard any stories about Electra Waggoner yet, but I’ll do some research. If you (or your great aunt) have any stories you’d like to share about Waggoner or any other fascinating members of Highland Park’s history, send them to me at [email protected]. Thanks for the tip!

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  • May 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm
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    @AvidReader – you can read more about her dealings with the DCC in Diane Galloway book, ‘Dallas Country Club: The First 100 Years,’ which can be read at the Highland Park library or purchased on Amazon. After many years of contemplating purchasing the estate, Galloway does report that the DCC made an offer, but were out bid by Ed Cox. The DCC wouldn’t confirm anything (prices, years, etc.) when I called, but it’s all in her book. Thanks everyone for the great feedback!

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  • September 22, 2014 at 4:38 pm
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    Scooter, I just read an interesting article on the Waggoner Ranch in Texas Monthly. There was some info on Electra in it.

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  • September 22, 2014 at 8:38 pm
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    What a fun story! Thanks for sharing.

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