PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas March 2023

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designed and built by Morton's great- uncle, Andrew David Winniford, an artist who painted opera-house scenic backdrops throughout Texas. Many of the original details Winniford designed for the house — ornate tin coves, beamed ceilings, and hand-painted tile fireplaces — were restored. Morton, who oversaw the Lancaster Historical Society at one point, spared no expense in fixing up his ancestral home. The walls, which had been covered in wallpaper, were redone in $600-a-yard fabric with designs similar to the original papers. "Winn liked old things, and he hoped the fabric would fade over the years, but it never did," says Cook, who hung the fabrics in the 1980s. The costly toile and patterned textiles — today's equivalent to $1,800 a yard — were so expertly made they remain as vibrant as ever. Morton imbued rooms with a bit of theater by painting ceilings in shades of celestial blue, salmon, and gold. Many of the furnishings were original to the house, such as the parlor's old player piano and Texas Mission chairs. A painted 18th-century Pennsylvania Dutch cupboard from a Bucks County house once owned by Lewis and Morton. They had hundreds of books and a collection that included a Cecil Beaton illustration, Edward Curtis gravures, and paintings by famed Dallas Nine artists Alexandre Hogue and Jerry Bywaters. The halls and bedrooms are lined with posters of Morton's Broadway productions and sketches of costume designs, along with framed missives from the White House, received after he designed former President Lyndon B. Johnson's televised Salute to Congress in 1965. In the barn, Morton stored dozens of kerosene lanterns that had been used to light the house for a decade after the family went bankrupt in 1939. Following Morton's death in April 2022, Myra Walker spent months sorting through more than 3,000 of his sketches, which are now headed to the Circus World Museum in Wisconsin and the Texas Rose Festival Museum in Tyler. As Morton wished, most of the contents of the house, including his prized antique circus elephant figurines, were sold at an estate sale last fall. The family house and land have been put up for sale. Morton's health declined after he retired, but his mind stayed sharp. 90

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