Historic Structures in Municipal Parks
Throughout Texas, municipal-owned parks provide a setting for both active and passive recreation and an oasis of green in an increasingly populous state. Often situated near bodies of water or on former agricultural properties, park-usage often follows a long period of private uses which resulted in the construction of houses, outbuildings, barns and other structures. Yet these historic resources are often overlooked. Deferred maintenance and demolition by neglect are the result of difficult budget choices made by city governments with a well-meaning desire to keep parks open and functional for daily use.
The answer to this problem may have been found through the remarkable efforts of the Norwood Park Foundation in Austin, which was formed to save the historic early-20th century Arts & Crafts bungalow known as the Norwood House and its former garden landscape. Located on a bluff above Town Lake with a spectacular view of the city skyline, it is being saved through the efforts of dedicated community volunteers. They formed a non-profit organization which is partnering with the City of Austin by raising private funds and developing programming that will create a sustainable source of funding to ensure the long-term preservation of the site. The work of the Norwood Park Foundation highlights the remarkable progress that can be made when historic resources in city-owned parks are valued as community assets, and proves that historic preservation is possible in city parks through partnerships with dedicated citizens.