Published: April 28, 2020
DALLAS – On April 9, Virginia Savage McAlester died at Baylor Hospital in Dallas at the age of 76; the cause of death was complications from a 2013 procedure to treat her chronic leukemia. The Houston architectural historian Stephen Fox had called her the “Queen of Dallas Preservation.”
Savage was born in Dallas on May 13, 1943, the daughter of Wallace H. Savage and Dorothy Minnie Harris. In 1965, she received a degree in architectural sciences from Harvard University. She received an honorary doctorate from Southern Methodist University in 2019.
In 1972, she helped found the nonprofit Historic Preservation League, which in 1994 was renamed Preservation Dallas. She also advocated the conservation of the site of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition.
She authored or co-authored several publications, including, A Field Guide to American Houses, The Making of a Historic District, A Field Guide to America’s Historic Neighborhoods and The Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas: Great American Suburbs.
McAlester is survived by her partner of two decades, Steve Clicque, her daughter, Amy Virginia Talkington, her son, Carty Talkington, two step-children, Martine McAlester and Keven McAlester, and her sister, Dorothy Savage. A memorial service will be at a later date.
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