The historic Norwood Home, one of Austin’s most visible and longest neglected landmarks, is earmarked for a $250,000 matching-funds grant from the Austin Parks Foundation, the Foundation announced Wednesday. If the project receives an equal amount in matching donations from private citizens, businesses, and/or other parties, the funds will be granted to the Norwood Park Foundation for the restoration and repurposing of the 1920s house.
The Arts & Crafts bungalow overlooks Lady Bird Lake from the northwest corner of East Riverside Drive and I-35 and has impressive views of the singular view of the river and downtown Austin. Designed by Hugo Franz Kuehne, a founder of the UT School of Architecture, and built in 1922. it was originally on five pastoral acres of what was then the new Travis Heights neighborhood. The property included the main residence, formal and vegetable gardens, a large gazebo overlooking the river, a split-level greenhouse, a spring-fed swimming pool with plumbed bathhouses, tennis courts, a large pecan orchard, and two separate bungalows for in-laws. It is now adjacent to the Norwood dog park.
While the Norwood Estate has been subject to much anguish, argument, and inaction on the part of the city, its neighborhood, and other citizens for decades, in 2017 it was recognized with a state historical marker. The nonprofit Norwood Park Foundation, now managing and fundraising for the rehabilitation of and the house, is working in a public/private partnership with the city to restore the house and grounds with goal of operating the property in a revenue-generating, self-sustaining fashion and ensuring its future protection.
Phase 1 of the project, now completed, included environmental remediation, structural stabilization, rehabilitation of the site’s heritage oaks, and schematic design. The project is now in the permitting process, and the group is focused on raising the funds needed to complete Phase 2—the bulk of planned construction and renovation. of the property. If the Austin Parks Foundation grant is fully matched, according to a its press release, the project should be “shovel-ready.”