The Texas Capitol View Corridors
Austin, Travis County
2007 Most Endangered List
Originally named to the 2007 list of Texas’Most Endangered Historic Places, the view corridors are designated as saved on the 2013 list. Preservation Texas officials announced the selections on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on Preservation Day, February 20. The annual announcement is part of Preservation Day activities organized by Preservation Texas. Advocates from all over the state come to participate in informational sessions, meet with legislators at the Capitol and get an in depth look at lessons to be learned from the sites named to the list.
“The 2013 list provides a retrospective for us,” said Charlene Orr, president of Preservation Texas, Inc., a statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We decided to focus on lessons learned during the last 10 years by highlighting success stories as well as losses and threatened sites that continue to need urgent attention.” The 2013 list includes six saved sites, three threatened sites and three lost sites.
“Our six saved sites reflect the importance of collaboration between committed grassroots leadership and elected officials and city officials who realize the importance of historic preservation.” she continued. “It’s this powerful combination of resources that can make the difference in preserving a site or losing it.”
“Inclusion of lost sites is important because it illustrates some of the very real obstacles communities face in their efforts to preserve the historic resources of Texas,” said Orr. “And by including threatened sites, we hope to generate additional support that will take them to the next level in their preservation process.”
The Capitol is the heart of Austin. Completed in 1888, the red granite and limestone building is a reference point from almost any angle as you enter the downtown area. Thirty view corridors, each with secondary sightlines, converge on the Capitol from major Austin landmarks and vantage points. By law, the view must be clear on all sides, meaning that no tall buildings can block the protected Capitol sightlines. With the fast-paced growth of the city and developers eager for additional residential and commercial projects downtown, preserving the sightlines has been an ongoing process. It has been successful because of the efforts of a coalition of statewide preservations organizations, lead by Preservation Austin.
“It’s a matter of short-term gain or profit for one party at the cost of preserving the eminence of the Capitol for the people of Texas,” said Jacqui Schraad, executive director of Preservation Austin. “I’m so proud that so many people stepped forward to support the view corridors, not just in Austin, but statewide.” The views are priceless and maintaining the view corridors preserves a treasure that belongs to all Texans.