REMEMBERING BEN H. CARPENTER
We commemorate the life of Ben H. Carpenter, who passed away on March 3, 2006. His legacy, Las Colinas, is a tribute to the rare combination of traits that he possessed. A true pioneer, he had a keen business judgment and an abiding love of the land. This fueled his commitment to building a development of unprecedented caliber. To this day, the name “Las Colinas” evokes distinct images: a place families are proud to call home; a hub where commerce flourishes. Mr. Carpenter cultivated a unique kinship between skyscrapers and neighborhoods, land and architecture, aesthetics and function to create what is, in every sense of the word, a community.
In 1973, Mr. Carpenter unveiled the master plan for transforming his family’s ranch into a development. It was fondly named El Ranchito de Las Colinas, meaning the Little Ranch of the Hills. He envisioned a world-class development emerging from the black bottom land set in a floodplain of the Trinity River. The skeptics were many, and indeed obstacles did arise; yet, Carpenter remained undeterred, forging ahead with ingenuity and innovation. We are forever grateful to him because he breathed life into the land, and more than 45 years later, Las Colinas serves as a testament to this visionary’s foresight. His tenacious spirit propelled a long-held dream into a reality that touches our lives daily. All too often, we take our community for granted, and we forget that this labor of love not only provides an enviable quality of life but also imparts the character of an extraordinary man.
Perhaps you never met Ben Carpenter, but if you have ever glimpsed Las Colinas, you have experienced him. His imprints are everywhere. Carpenter was a man whose standards were uncompromising, and he had a deep appreciation for beauty, quality, and cohesion. Once you enter Las Colinas, it is as if you’ve crossed an invisible line that delineates new territory. The surroundings speak for themselves. Buildings and homes are unique in character, yet harmonious with the environment and each other. The same level of quality is pursued in all common areas, medians, and parks. Carpenter was also inspired by art and culture that spanned the globe, and he was a master at infusing exotic elements into the native landscape of Texas. The influence of his travels is reflected throughout the community. The idea behind the Mustangs of Las Colinas originated from Johannesburg, South Africa. The Flower Clock and canals are replications of what he encountered in Italy. Even the most enduring, distinguishing element of Las Colinas, the protection offered by deed restrictions, is an adaptation from a city he visited in the heart of Brazil’s rainforest.
Las Colinas, with its humble beginnings as a cattle ranch, has grown exponentially in size with an ever-increasing base of commercial and residential development. It is internationally recognized as a model for master-planned communities. Dignitaries from around the world still visit, hoping to capture the essence of what is Ben Carpenter’s greatest legacy.
We live, we work, and we play in a place like no other, and our lives are enriched because of it. Ben H. Carpenter, the man, will be missed, but his life will always be celebrated in these hills called Las Colinas.