Can this architecturally significant church be saved from demolition?

A developer wants to tear down a 1953 modern church on Kiest near Polk and rezone it for retail and office, which could include fast food or a shopping center.

The proposal first was listed on a City Plan Commission agenda in December, but since then, the church’s owner has met with Preservation Dallas and others who want to save the church, which was built in 1953 and designed by architect George Dahl.

Dahl designed many iconic Dallas buildings, including the Titche-Goettinger, Neiman Marcus and Dallas Morning News buildings Downtown, the Cotton Bowl, Esplanade of State and Tower Building at Fair Park and the Owen Art Center at SMU.

The Church of the Master, which sits on 1.2 acres at 1010 W. Kiest, housed a school and daycare for many years until recently. Its original congregation moved out in 1983 after years of declining membership, but a son of two founding members, David Klempin, is leading efforts to save it from the wrecking ball.

Klempin, who still lives in the Kiest area and is founder of the Friends of Oak Cliff Parks, has been working with the property’s owner to find financial help, including historic tax credits.

The owner gave preservationists, including members of Preservation Dallas and the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, a tour of the church last week, and he told them he’s willing to keep the main sanctuary but that he would need financial help to do it.

The proposal is on the plan commission’s Feb. 18 agenda.

By |2016-02-04T14:07:39-05:00February 4th, 2016|News|4 Comments

About the Author:

Rachel Stone is the Oak Cliff editor. Email or follow                                     


  1. KeepOurFreedoms March 31, 2016 at 9:06 AM

    I grew up in that church. What is going to happen to it?

  2. […] 1953 modern church on Kiest near Polk, designed by architect George Dahl, was demolished […]

  3. Sonja Romanowski February 6, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    The glass square blocks that are placed into the sanctuary brick wall was a wonderful Dahl architectural touch, I think–brings in the light but not the heat, makes interesting patterns, constantly slowly moving inside, over, under, by the congregation assembled, and would give fidgety kids something to focus on when the sermon feels too long! And reminds me of the Alhambra in Spain, wonderfully peppered with light patterns! The light becomes a major part of the decoration, always there, a wonderful, beautiful, perpetual economy. Other Islamic buildings throughout the world also utilize that piercing of light into rooms to beautiful, practical effect!

  4. Manuel H. Gonzalez February 5, 2016 at 12:44 AM

    What if we change the denomination as an ecumenical chapel so every year we can celebrate there the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. All denominations can help fix it up. I even think Jewish and budista can help.

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