Harwood District vs. Harwood Historic District

Dallas can be really confusing . . .

As someone who associates “Harwood” with the eastern section of downtown (vivid memories of the old downtown central library at Harwood and Commerce), I only recently have taken notice of a new “district” that exists with a similar name (on the other side of downtown that has been so designated for a while). I had to do a little searching to decipher each district and see how they were related or differ. Why would a developer name a totally different section of the city with such a similar name? Of course, seems like these “districts” can pop up wherever a developer wants (the Dallas way—developers rule).

Harwood District’s Facebook page description:

Developed by Harwood International, the Harwood District is Dallas’ premier location with an elite culture of arts & entertainment, restaurants, luxury living, and pristine commercial real estate.

In addition to housing Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar, Marie-Gabrielle Restaurant & Gardens, The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, Azure Condominiums, Saint Ann Court, The Rolex Building,The Magnolia Store, 2728, and 2828, the Harwood District is also encompassed by an impressive array of bars, museums, restaurants and businesses in Uptown and Victory Park.


–Patio at St. Ann’s restaurant. From dallas.culturemap.com.

Harwood Historic District’s Wikipedia description:

The Harwood Historic District is a historic commercial district and Dallas Landmark District on the east end of downtown Dallas, Texas lying in parts of the City Center District, Main Street District and Farmers Market District. The locally protected district generally encompasses structures in the blocks fronting Harwood Street from Pacific Avenue to Canton Street.

The district represents a cross-section of Dallas commercial architecture from the 1880s to the 1950s. Styles range from Italianate to Beaux-Arts, Sullivanesque, Neo-classical, Renaissance Revival, Art Moderne, Art Deco and Modern.

Harwood Street looking north from the front of the Atmos Complex

–part of the Harwood Historic District (Harwood St. looking north). From unvisiteddallas.com

So, yes, there are two districts in or near downtown Dallas with the name “Harwood.”

The newer one, Harwood District, has been developed mainly by one man: Gabriel Barbier-Mueller. Mr. Barbier-Mueller created his company, Harwood International, in 1988. The full Wikipedia article on Mr. Barbier-Mueller is as follows:

Gabriel Barbier-Mueller is the founder and CEO of Harwood International. Gabriel was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland. He came to Dallas in 1979 and graduated from Dallas’s Southern Methodist University. He married Texan Ann Smith.


–Gabriel Barbier-Mueller and wife, Ann. From acanada.com article

A more complete biography can be found on Harwood International’s website.

I happen to think Mr. Barbier-Mueller has done a fantastic job of re-vamping a special section of Dallas and am happy he has done so. Read this great article by a Candy’s Dirt columnist, Leah Shafer, dated July 16, 2015. My only question is: Why name this area so similar to a historic district in a different part of the city? I think this district would be better named St. Ann’s (like the site of an old school building Mr. Barbier-Mueller first bought and developed).

HERE is a little more information on the Harwood Historic District, too.


–another view of the Harwood Historic District. From unvisiteddallas.com


Youth in the Hands of God that was on the façade of the old Dallas Central Library. This sculpture now resides in a museum in Michigan.