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Five Sites to School You on Austin

Posted on: August 24th, 2010 by Julia Rocchi

 

Maybe it's all the shiny backpacks dotting the landscape, or the scent of new crayon boxes in the air, but we at Preservation Nation are in a serious back-to-school mood. If you're feeling the same urge to return to Mrs. Miller's third-grade classroom -- yet have such minor things like "adulthood" and "a job" standing in your way -- don't worry, we've got you covered.

As we head toward the National Preservation Conference in October, we've put together a lesson plan on Austin that takes you from the bird's-eye development view down to the street level (literally). The goal: to give you some Texas-sized context on why this city matters as a living, breathing example of preservation in action.

Let's get started!

  1. Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan. All cities change with time, but Austin is growing by leaps and bounds, having doubled its population every 20 to 25 years since 1839. The Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan now involves all Austinites, old and new, in an important discussion about the city's future: How will an estimated influx of 750,000 people over the next 30 years impact a city known for its distinct sense of place? Read the evolving plan to see where they're heading.
  2. Weird City: Sense of Place and Creative Resistance in Austin, Texas by Joshua Long. What started as Long's doctoral thesis is now a book about the struggle to “keep Austin weird” while also maintaining a thriving economy. Bring this book along on your Labor Day vacation to delve into Austin's delicate balancing act between growth and tradition.
  3. Austinist. We know most of our readers don't live in Austin, but if you follow Austinist, you can pretend you do. This weekday news and culture website shares all the latest events, exhibits, shows, specials, and other happenings from our favorite quirky city.
  4. Exploring Historic Austin. Revisit our preservation-centric Google Map to not only see the National Preservation Conference sites and field sessions, but also to understand just how much history fills the Austin landscape.
  5. CNN Video: Arts Center Re-uses to Rebuild. Zero in on one prime example of preservation in action -- how the Palmer Auditorium saved millions of dollars by re-using the building's existing materials and transforming itself into a state-of-the-art performing arts center.

Ok, your turn -- what other websites, books, people, or plans do you know of that can help turn visitors into in-the-know Austinites ahead of the National Preservation Conference?

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.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.

Beat the Heat at Austin's Frigid Frog

Posted on: August 5th, 2010 by Julia Rocchi 1 Comment

 

We've reached epic levels of humidity here at our DC HQ, but that's nothing compared to Austin's broiling summer temps. In fact, when Jason traveled to Austin to film this next video, he was already melting on the asphalt ... and that was only in May.

Luckily, Austonians know that the simplest of summer treats -- the humble snow cone -- is the most powerful tool in restoring a healthy balance. Enter SoCo vendor The Frigid Frog, which relies on local customers, its trusty trailer, and exotic flavors like 'Tiger's Blood' to keep Austin cool.

Cue mouth-watering goodness ...

Though the National Preservation Conference isn't until October (when it promises to be cooler), now's the time to reserve your hot spot! Register here.

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.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.

Field Trip to Bastrop! Who Wants BBQ?

Posted on: August 3rd, 2010 by Julia Rocchi

 

It might be hard to believe, but people occasionally do leave Austin. And when they do, downtown Bastrop is one destination that's worth the effort.

In this video, Jason leaves the bright moonlights behind and day-trips to this historic small town to chat with Susan Wendel (president of the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce) and work the lunch line at Billy's Pit BBQ with owner Billy Reed.

Oh, and there's a giraffe. With boots on. Check it out.

Bastrop is a field session at the 2010 National Preservation Conference. Join us there and in Austin by registering now.

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.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.

You and I and Moonlight in … Austin?

Posted on: July 29th, 2010 by Julia Rocchi 2 Comments

 

Austin's weird, but is it alien-weird? It sure seems that way if you look at the city at night, thanks to 17 historic moonlight towers.

I can hear your question now: What the heck is a moonlight tower? For the answer, let's turn to our trusty tour guide Jason, who shows and tells you the background of these only-in-Austin structures in this video.

Two days left to register for the National Preservation Conference at the early bird prices! Come join us and be illuminated.

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.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.

So Close Yet So Far Out: A Visit to the Austin Motel

Posted on: July 27th, 2010 by Julia Rocchi

 

Consider the iconic Austin Motel sign a beacon in the dark, lighting the way for anyone intrepid enough to cross the river and explore South Congress.

Its catchy tagline ("So Close Yet So Far Out") and kitschy decor are only part of the story, though. From its earliest days as a San Antonio Highway stop to its current status as a classic Austin image, the Austin Motel has witnessed and participated in a neighborhood's dynamic evolution -- and lived to tell the tale.

Here, owner Dottye Dean and manager Michelle McCormick share that story with Jason:

Meet Dottye, Michelle, and the rest of the Austin Motel staff when you join us in Austin for the National Preservation Conference this October. The early bird deadline is only three days away -- register today!

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.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.