Last week, Pioneer Natural Resources officers and Irving officials gathered in Las Colinas for the groundbreaking of the exploration and production company’s new headquarters.

From the hilltop site you can see the office towers in the Las Colinas Urban Center and planes landing at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Just yards from where the crowd gathered with the gold shovels and hard hats, a bit of history was lurking in the weeds and prickly pear cactus clumps.

The foundations of an old ranch house aren’t much to look at compared to fancy renderings of Pioneer’s new home office.

But those old building ruins mark the site where the entire Las Colinas development — at one time almost 12,000 acres — got its start.

Those foundations are what’s left of the Carpenter family’s old ranch house. Their Hackberry Creek Ranch overlooking the Trinity River bottoms in Irving became the heart of the Las Colinas development.

A century ago when family patriarch John W. Carpenter came to Dallas, he established the ranch northwest of Dallas on Hackberry Creek.

The horse and cattle ranch got the nickname El Ranchito de Las Colinas — or the little ranch of the hills.
After World War II, John’s son Ben began to develop the family spread, first into home subdivisions.

When plans were announced to move North Texas’ regional airport nearby, the Carpenters came up with the plans for Las Colinas — one of the first such master-planned, mixed-use projects in North Texas. It’s older than Plano’s Legacy and Fort Worth’s Alliance projects.

By the 1980s, Las Colinas was a boomtown. It’s still one of the area’s top office and apartment markets.
The Carpenters hung onto the project’s namesake ranch until 1997, when they sold the remaining 56 acres on Hidden Ridge Drive to GTE, now Verizon.

“When my wife and I got married in 1948, we moved onto the property. It was pretty lonely out there,” Carpenter told me right after the sale. “It’s been my home until this month.”

By 2019 the property will be home to 1,100 Pioneer Natural Resources workers in a new 10-story, 1.1 million-square-foot office campus that will sit where the old ranch house once stood.

Dallas developer KDC is building Pioneer’s new complex.

“I grew up here — we baled hay, we rode tractors, we painted fences,” said KDC CEO Steve Van Amburgh, who knew the Carpenter family as a boy. “This site has always been designated to be the best site in Las Colinas because it was the Carpenter homestead.”

Presented by Dallas Morning News – July 10, 2017

 

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