Historic Preservation

Austin
7:43 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

This Downtown Austin Bridge Could Be Named A National Landmark

Ted Lee Eubanks http://www.tedleeeubanksphotography.com

An easy-to-miss bridge on W. Sixth Street could be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The West Sixth Street Bridge sits over Shoal Creek, between West Avenue and Wood Street (near Hut's Hamburgers). It was built by hand in 1887. 

"It doesn't look like much when you go over it, and people use it all the time." says Joanna Wolaver, executive director of the Shoal Creek Conservancy. "But if you take a minute to walk down the dirt path to the Shoal Creek trail, it's just gorgeous." 

Last Saturday, the Texas Historical Commission approved an application to recommend nomination of the bridge to the National Register of Historic Places. The U.S. Parks Service will have the final say and could decide by the fall. 

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Austin
5:10 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Grants Would Help Revamp Austin Landmarks

The State Theatre would use a city-funded grant to renovate its iconic sign.
Andrew Weber for KUT News

The Historical Landmark Commission of Austin meets tonight to decide the future of four grants to preserve historical landmarks.

And every project may not get their slice of the $126,000 that’s been requested this year.

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Texas
5:53 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Preserving Texas: What's Saved, What's in Danger

Views of the Texas Capitol are on the "saved" list.
Erik Reyna/KUT News

Preservation Texas is out with its 10th annual list of the state’s most endangered places.

The list looks back on the past 10 years: six places that have been saved, three that are lost and three others that Preservation Texas says are in danger of being lost.

Among those saved were views of the Texas Capitol.

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Texas
5:35 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Photos: William Travis' 'Victory or Death' Letter Returns to Alamo

Travis signed his famous letter with "Victory or Death" in 1836
Tyler Pratt, KUT News

 

In 1836, William Barret Travis famously wrote “Victory or Death” in his appeal for more troops during the Battle of The Alamo. 177 years later, the iconic letter is returning to the Alamo for a brief exhibit later this month.

Currently, the letter is safely held at Austin’s Texas State Archives and Library Building, away from the harmful UV rays that have deteriorated its condition. 

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Austin
8:35 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Local Tax Exemptions at Center of New Lawsuit

An historic home on San Gabriel Street in Austin.
KUT News

Three Austinites are suing the City of Austin, Travis County, the Austin Independent School District and Central Health for allowing tax breaks on what the plaintiffs refer to as “allegedly” historic properties.

The plaintiffs are Dominic Chavez, Mike Levy and and Ed Wendler Jr. The three men claim that giving a tax break without proving a need is against the Texas tax code. And, they say, the policy unfairly benefits the wealthy—diverting $4 million of local tax revenue.

They also claim that the City of Austin’s method for historic designation is arbitrary and does little to actually ensure historic preservation:

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Austin
2:42 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Texas Courthouses Among the U.S.' Top 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Sue Butler Carter of the Karnes County Historical Society and Chair of the Karnes County Historical Commission Truett Lee Hunt (center) reveal what their county courthouse will look like after renovation.
Emily Zendt for KUT News

Texas courthouses are named on a list of the “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” in the U.S., released by The National Trust for Historic Preservation this morning.

Texas has 244 historic courthouses in the state – that’s the largest collection of county courthouses in the country. About 63 of them have been fully restored, including central Texas’ Williamson and Lee County courthouses, but more than 70 are still in need of serious repairs.

Texas courthouses on the whole were first placed on the list in 1998; the following year, the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program was created by Governor George W. Bush. Since its inception, the program has awarded nearly $247 million to 83 counties for the preservation of their courthouses.

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Austin
2:44 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Crowdsourced Site Encourages Discovery of Historic Austin

The "Hurt House" at 2201 San Gabriel is one historic landmark featured on the historical survey wiki.
Photo by Filipa Rodriguez for KUT News

A recently-launched website allows anyone to add information about historic Austin landmarks to an online map, augmented with historical data, architectural descriptions and more.

The Austin Historical Survey Wiki works like a Wikipedia page. Anyone can sign up and add information to the site, which is then filtered by a moderator.

But here, users add pin points to a map, creating a compilation of information, pictures and data about Austin’s historic sites from professional and architectural historians.

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Texas
4:44 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Movable Jail One of Texas' 'Most Endangered' Landmarks

Clockwise, from left: San Marcos' Movable Jail, the Ritz Theater in Corpus Christi, and the William Pfluger House in Pflugerville

A movable jail cell that was originally constructed for the Hays County Jail is being called one of Texas’ most endangered historic places.

So says Preservation Texas, a private, non-profit historical society, announcing its 2012 list of Texas’ most endangered places at an annual summit at the Texas Capitol.

 The jail cell was built in the style of a log cabin. Preservation Texas notes:

The jail cell remained in use until 1925 as Kyle’s city jail and, later, was moved to the Texana Village at Aquarena Springs. Due to lack of funding, the jail cell along with other buildings and artifacts were removed from the Village.  At the eleventh hour, the jail cell was saved and moved to its current location in San Marcos.

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Education
12:53 pm
Mon May 9, 2011

Austin ISD Board To Mull Historic Tax Exemptions Tonight

This map shows the location of historic landmarks in Austin. The school board is getting ready to decide whether to reinstate a program that gives tax breaks to the owners of those properties.
Image courtesy Austin ISD

Until last summer, if you lived in a home that was deemed to be a historical landmark, you could get a big break on your school property tax bill. That came to an end in August 2010, when the Austin ISD school board decided to suspend those exemptions in the face of a looming fiscal crisis. Tonight, the board is scheduled to talk about whether to reinstate the program.

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Austin
4:38 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Will Austin's Missing Moontowers Return?

A moontower at 8th and Rio Grande Streets. Two moontowers downtown were removed for high rise developments, but have yet to be returned.
Image courtesy Matthew Rutledge

Two historically significant moonlight towers, or moontowers, were removed to make way for the development of two downtown high-rise buildings, but both structures were completed months and neither moontower has been returned to its original location.

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