Historic Landmark CommissionApril 3, 2024

15.0 - 2307 Windsor Rd 2 — original pdf

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HISTORIC LANDMARK COMMISSION DEMOLITION AND RELOCATION PERMITS APRIL 3, 2024 PR-2024-018182; GF-2024-030562 OLD WEST AUSTIN NATIONAL REGISTER HISTORIC DISTRICT 2307 WINDSOR ROAD #2 15 – 1 PROPOSAL Demolish a ca. 1950 house and outbuilding. ARCHITECTURE 2307 Windsor Road #2 is a two-story Mid-century Modern house with a flat roof, rustic stone and board-and-batten cladding, expansive fixed windows, a substantial stone chimney, and an inset carport at the one-story portion of the house. The building is set back between Windsor and East Windsor Roads, accessible only by a steeply sloped drive behind two street-frontage houses and invisible from both Windsor and East Windsor. Its stepped-down form nestles into the hillside with a two-story bank of windows facing downtown. RESEARCH The house at 2307 Windsor Road #2, originally addressed as 2300 East Windsor Road, was constructed in 1950 for Judge Trueman O’Quinn and his family. O’Quinn, an attorney, graduated from the University of Texas after reporting and editing for the Beaumont Enterprise, the Austin American, and the Daily Texan.1 While still a student, he was elected to the 42nd Texas Legislature for Jefferson County from 1931 to 1932. After a few years in private practice, O’Quinn worked as an Austin assistant city attorney and was appointed chief City Attorney in 1939, a position he held until 1950. During World War II, he worked as Staff Judge Advocate after the Allied invasion of Normandy and occupation of Germany.2 The Windsor Road house was constructed the same year O’Quinn left the City for private practice. Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, he held numerous public and political posts, including fourteen years as Travis County’s Democratic Chairman and as the official counsel for the University of Texas. He was appointed to the Third Court of Civil Appeals in 1967 and served for thirteen years.3 O’Quinn was best known for his role as a prolific collector and prominent amateur historian of William Sydney Porter, known as O. Henry. “For almost half a century he gathered first editions, photos, manuscripts, and other memorabilia. He donated the staggering collection to The O. Henry Resources at the Austin History Center in 1982, a contribution without parallel,” notes Britney Jeffrey in the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas. “Throughout his adult life, O'Quinn wrote articles and delivered speeches.”4 He was instrumental in saving two O. Henry residences from demolition, though one burned in 1956.5 The other remains as the O. Henry Museum in Brush Square. O’Quinn’s legacy in the historical record is marred by his response to two 1962 Statesman articles soliciting feedback on the City Council’s suggestion to rename Town Lake to Lake Tonkawa. In the articles, which are wrought with racist comments and dismissal of Native American cultural significance typical of the period, O’Quinn’s remarks stand out as particularly concerning. The potential impact of O’Quinn’s racist remarks was bolstered by the author’s introduction of O’Quinn as “Austin attorney and one of the area’s most enthusiastic amateur historians”6. O’Quinn publicly and emphatically demonized the Tonkawa tribe as “savages” without historical significance while presenting himself as an expert on Texas history, along with participating in the systemic erasure of Native American tribes from Texans’ collective memories.7 Thus, it is imperative to carefully view his contributions to the city and state with eyes open to the negative impacts of this overt racism. 1 Mackey, Wayne.  The Austin American (1914-1973); Austin, Tex.. 14 Mar 1948: 4. 2 Britney Jeffrey, “O'Quinn, Trueman Edgar, Sr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/oquinn-trueman-edgar-sr. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 Barnes, Michael. “Unhappy Twist: O. Henry’s Austin Honeymoon Cottage Went up in Flames.” Austin American-Statesman, June 29, 2018. https://www.statesman.com/story/news/2018/06/29/unhappy-twist-o-henrys-austin-honeymoon-cottage-went-up-in-flames/10022639007/. 6 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 23 Apr 1962: 1. 7 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 20 Apr 1962: 1. DEPARTMENT COMMENTS Due to staff error, the property at 2307 Windsor Road #2 was originally identified as a noncontributing structure upon applicant inquiry, as 2307 Windsor Road is noncontributing. The director of the Planning Department, in consultation with Law Department staff, has determined that the contributing building must be reviewed by the Historic Landmark Commission to fulfill Code requirements. 15 – 2 PROPERTY EVALUATION The property contributes to the Old West Austin National Register district. Designation Criteria—Historic Landmark 1) The building is more than 50 years old. 2) The building appears to retain moderate integrity. Some windows have been replaced and water damage appears to have caused the bowing of exterior stone. The O’Quinn family remodeled the house in 1984 per permits, but no record of the extent of the remodel was found. 3) Properties must meet two criteria for landmark designation (LDC §25-2-352). Staff has evaluated the property and determined that it may technically meet two criteria for landmark designation, but recommends that the Commission’s decision carefully weigh O’Quinn’s impacts on Austin’s history: a. Architecture. The building is constructed with mid-century Modern influences. b. Historical association. The property is associated with Judge Trueman O’ Quinn, politician, attorney, justice of the Texas Court of Appeals, and dedicated O. Henry scholar. However, the Austin Statesman documents O’Quinn’s appallingly racist portrayal of some of Austin’s first inhabitants, the Tonkawa people. This should be carefully considered when evaluating O’Quinn’s overall impact on Austin’s history. The extant O. Henry Museum and University of Texas collections, to which O’Quinn’s research and patronage contributed, currently utilize his work to provide a public good. c. Archaeology. The property was not evaluated for its potential to yield significant data concerning the human history or prehistory of the region. d. Community value. The property was not evaluated for its ability to possess a unique location, physical characteristic, or significant feature that contributes to the character, image, or cultural identity of the city, the neighborhood, or a particular demographic group. e. Landscape feature. The property does not appear to include a significant natural or designed landscape with artistic, aesthetic, cultural, or historical value to the city. STAFF RECOMMENDATION Encourage rehabilitation and adaptive reuse, but release the demolition permit upon completion of a City of Austin Documentation Package. Demolition permits in National Register Historic Districts cannot be released until the Historic Landmark Commission has reviewed plans for new construction on the site. LOCATION MAP 15 – 3 PROPERTY INFORMATION Photos Creede Fitch via Jimmy Gilmore & Co., 2023. https://creedefitch.com/austin-modern-homes/2307-windsor-rd-2 15 – 4 15 – 5 Demolition permit application, 2024 Occupancy History City Directory Research, March 2024 Original entrance from 2300 E. Windsor Road. Google Street View, 2023. 1959 Address listed as 2300 E. Windsor Rd. Trueman E. and Hazel H. O’Quinn, owners – O’Quinn, McDaniel, & Randle, attorneys at law Trueman O’Quinn, Jr. – US Marine Corps Terry O’Quinn – student 1955 Trueman E. and Hazel H. O’Quinn, owners – Hollers, O’Quinn, and Crenshaw, attorneys at law Kerry S. O’Quinn – student 1952 Trueman E. and Hazel H. O’Quinn, owners –Hollers and O’Quinn, attorneys at law Historical Information 15 – 6 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 31 Oct 1929: 7. Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 04 Apr 1941: 6. The 15 – 7 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 19 May 1943: 2. The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 09 Aug 1945: 5. The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 09 Oct 1946: 7. 15 – 8 Mackey, Wayne.  The Austin American (1914-1973); Austin, Tex.. 14 Mar 1948: 4. 15 – 9 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 02 Sep 1948: 24. Douglass, Neal. Trueman O' Quinn Buying The O. Henry Honeymoon Cottage, photograph, April 28, 1949; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth62877/m1/1/: accessed March 18, 2024), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. 15 – 10 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 29 Apr 1949: 15. The Austin American (1914-1973); Austin, Tex.. 22 July 1951: B1. 15 – 11 15 – 12 The Capitol Staff.  The Austin American (1914-1973); Austin, Tex.. 29 July 1951: A9. The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 20 Mar 1952: A6. 15 – 13 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 03 Apr 1953: A6 15 – 14 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 14 July 1954: 17. The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 22 July 1954: B13. The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 07 May 1956: 1. 15 – 15 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 23 Aug 1956: B1 Barnes, Lorraine.  The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 13 Nov 1956: 13. Weddell, Wray, Jr.  The Austin American (1914-1973); Austin, Tex.. 08 May 1960: A1. The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 20 Apr 1962: 1. 15 – 16 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 23 Apr 1962: 1. The Austin American (1914-1973); Austin, Tex.. 14 June 1964: A19. 15 – 17 The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 18 Nov 1965: A22. The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 05 Feb 1966: 15. 15 – 18 CAROL McMURTRY Staff Writer.  The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 30 Sep 1966: 1. 15 – 19 15 – 20 GLEN CASTLEBURY Staff Writer.  The Austin Statesman (1921-1973); Austin, Tex.. 09 Jan 1967: 1. 15 – 21 HARRIET HUBBARD Staff Writer.  The Austin American - Statesman (1973-1980), Evening ed.; Austin, Tex.. 07 Oct 1974: 9. 15 – 22 Texas State Historical Association: https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/oquinn-trueman-edgar-sr 15 – 23 https://www.statesman.com/story/news/2018/06/29/unhappy-twist-o-henrys-austin-honeymoon-cottage-went-up-in- flames/10022639007/