See Austin Your Own Way at the National Preservation Conference

Posted on: July 2nd, 2010 by Lori Feinman 2 Comments

Join us in Austin for the 2010 National Preservation Conference!About a month ago, I spent two weeks in Austin. While there, I dropped more money in the local economy than I realized (until the credit card bills arrived), tried a broad variety of cuisine (ate the best sushi I have ever had), experienced one of the most challenging bike rides of my life, saw some incredible places, and essentially became a temporary Texan.

I wasn’t alone, either. Several colleagues joined me on my adventure, each experiencing Austin in their own way. Farin traveled to San Antonio and saw Texas’ Latino heritage up close. Pepper walked the walk downtown with architects, planners, and preservationists, and saw firsthand Austin’s pressures, challenges, and successes. And Jason returned to his home state and alma mater, where he saw his favorite town through the National Trust’s eyes (and camera lenses).

You too will have a chance to see Austin in your own way when you attend the National Preservation Conference this fall, Oct. 27-30. But before you even arrive, we plan to whet your appetite with plenty of great stories, updates, and information. For instance:

  • Explore historic Austin on our interactive Google map, which features conference hotspots, local attractions, and field session sneak peaks.

  • Learn more about our partnership with Next American City magazine.
  • Take advantage of the wide variety of continuing education credits – including AIA, USGBC, and APA – available through the conference.

  • And just wait until you actually get here. Austin is a popular destination and a crossroads for the entertainment industry. It’s host to the famous and extremely influential South By Southwest music and media festival, the Texas Book Festival, Austin City Limits Festival, Austin Film Festival and Conference, and dozens of annual gatherings both mainstream and offbeat.

    Even during the nationwide recession, Austin continually ranks in several publications as the number one metropolitan area creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth – a mark of its resilience and creativity. In addition, Austin is consistently ranked among the most affordable cities to visit; as a tourist or a conference attendee, you’ll get more bang for your buck in Austin than in almost any other city.

    Austin prides itself on its independent attitude and quirky local flavor, so, not surprisingly, the preservation movement in Austin has charted a unique course. The city was a relative latecomer to the preservation movement, adopting its first historic landmark preservation ordinance in 1974. The designation of individual landmark properties was the only viable preservation tool until a program to enact Local Historic Districts was put on the books in 2004.

    The draw of Austin’s vibrant economy and enviable quality of life has contributed to doubling its population every twenty years for the past 100 years. That pace is expected to increase, putting heavy pressure on the city’s historic resources.

    Local preservationists work to embrace the thriving Central City commercial and residential development that provides opportunity for the adaptive use of historic buildings which would otherwise languish. And through it all, they staunchly maintain that no great American city has been revitalized by sacrificing its most cherished and significant historic features.

    Overall, sustainable growth and heritage protection are co-existing in Austin, and a tremendous pride of place has emerged as the city’s preservation program grows. Come to Austin this fall and see this unique approach for yourself. And until then, keep your eye on the blog for more Austin and Conference updates!

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

    Conferences

    2 Responses

    1. KAY TAEBEL

      July 4, 2010

      AM A RECENT HP MEMBER- I LIVE IN AUSTIN- MAY I BE HELPFUL FOR CONFERENCE IN OCT HERE AS A VOLUNTEER? KAY TAEBEL,

      PS DON’T FORGET OUR FINE CULTURAL ARTS RESOURCES, ESPECIALLY THE UT DEPT OF MUSIC/ART/THEATRE ETC- GOOD WEBSITES AVAILABLE. ALSO SEVERAL SEPARATE FINE ARTS GROUPS IN MUSIC, ETC- I CAN SEND WEB SITES-KT

    2. Michael Emery

      July 6, 2010

      On this occasion I represent the W.H. Passon Historical Society, and extend an invitation to your members who are into African American heritage to give me a holla’ as you make your way into Austin this fall. The city is known for what is obvious: state government, water recreation at the lakes and streams, higher education, music and entertainment. But of course, that’s not the whole story. 52 African Americans were elected to serve in State of Texas government after the end of the Civil War, but the Jim Crow backlash (to give it just one name) eliminated all black seats from 1898 until single-member districts came into vogue and folks like Barbara Jordan were elected into statewide office in 1966. You will be able to walk from your downtown hotels to the Texas State Cemetery and visit a new cenotaph to these men. Or you can walk to the historic house which one of these men, Jeremiah Hamilton, built back in the 19th Century on Waller Creek; it’s now the headquarters of the Austin Symphony Orchestra Society. Huston-Tillotson University is an historically black school that can trace its opening back to January of 1881, making it the oldest school of higher education in the city, almost two years before UT/Austin began classes. And the Victory Grill boasts that it was the first Texas venue in the Chitlin’ Circuit to provide a gig for the national blues sensation known as B.B. King. In Austin as in everyplace, there is history wherever you look. I encourage you to look with your eyes wide open and check out some of the cultural places that the local visitors bureau chooses not to promote as well. We welcome you to *all* of Austin.