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Welcome to our website! We're on a mission to save Austin's historic Norwood House, a 1922 Arts & Crafts treasure on the shores of Lady Bird Lake in Austin, TX. This special bungalow has been under threat for years, but it has recently been stabilized. It's now READY to be restored and repurposed to serve the people in a taxpayer-friendly way. You're in the right place to find out all about the house and how you can help.

Thanks for visiting, and please be in touch!

Our Mission

The Mission of the Norwood Park Foundation is to restore the Norwood House to its historic exterior appearance, rehabilitate the surrounding historic grounds and gardens, and repurpose the property to serve the people of Austin as a premier, nonprofit and self-sustaining rental venue and community meeting space.

Our Purpose

Located on City parkland, Austin's historic Norwood House is a public park asset, with a stunning view that could command substantial rental revenue for the taxpayers if the house was operating. But with lack of vision in past decades, and municipal budgets strained, the investment required to position Norwood to earn its own keep has not been put forth.

The nonprofit Norwood Park Foundation was formed because there is no money in the budget of the city's Parks & Recreation Department - now or in the foreseeable future - to restore and maintain this remarkable but long-neglected property. Since the will to save Norwood has been strongly established, and since the needs of the deteriorated house have been urgent, we have joined with the City of Austin in a public/private partnership to:

  1. restore the house and grounds,
  2. operate the property in a revenue-generating, self-sustaining fashion, and
  3. ensure its future protection.

In this way, we will save the Norwood House and its beautiful site while modeling a citizen-initiated, volunteer-based civic project that promotes an even greater mission to preserve our town's original, special places. The end result: a natural and cultural treasure..returned to the people of Austin, at minimal cost to the taxpayer.

Contact

Norwood Park Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 5682
Austin TX 78763-5682

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2015/7/3 5:39:09

July, 2015 - Hey folks, check out the new photo album we’ve posted to the site - basically “Phase 1 in 24 shots” and a lot of fun to look at. You’ll get a sense of the adventure we’ve had with the Norwood House over the past 15 months or so. To view, click on the Images tab, above, and choose Phase 1 Stabilization from the list. Click on the first (or any) photo to start the album. /// The house is sitting tight and looking spiffy with a 2nd coat of paint to protect it during this interim period. We’ve just received the project estimate! - big news - and will hunker down to vet that and arrive at a fundraising figure. Stay tuned. 

2015/6/11 21:39:19

June, 2015 - The once-over with primer is done and we have a new western White House: the Norwood bungalow! Phase 1 is now officially done (see the previous entry for details of all that was entailed..years of work). We are ecstatic about this, proud of our accomplishment, and thankful for your support. We’re also keenly aware that as challenging as Phase 1 was, we’ve got an even bigger challenge ahead: raising money from the community to finish the job. We are working with a professional right now to estimate the entire project. Then we can get going on fundraising. In the meantime we’re doing things like applying for grants and addressing all kinds of issues that went on the back burner while we were finishing Phase 1. No rest for the weary with the Norwood project - not ’til this fantastic public park asset is restored and returned to the people. Together, we can do this!

2015/5/21 2:28:28

 Week of 5/18/15 - Great news - the roof is finished and Phase 1 is done! An enormous accomplishment that began in earnest about a year ago and has been fervently sought for oh, about 30 years now by so many good folks in this town who care about Norwood. What this means is the Norwood House is now stabilized on an awesome new foundation, fully dried-in, environmentally remediated, and will no longer deteriorate. There is, still, the matter of a quick once-over with primer on the exterior, but that’s easily done when all the rain lets up (and nobody around here is complaining about rain!).

Also accomplished in tandem with Phase 1 has been special care of the trees at the site, thanks to a generous grant from the SRCC (South River City Citizens). The historic view has been restored (it’s amazing!), dead & invasive trees are gone, and a couple of our most vulnerable heritage oaks have had the benefit of air spading & fertilization. In the late summer we will continue this work with general pruning of all the heritage oaks, which is badly needed and something we’re really looking forward to.

Painting aside, the construction work is over and now we hunker down for limited Phase 2 design work and, most importantly, fundraising! We can’t finish this job without your support. Please watch for announcements of the terrific plans we’re developing, and join us as we build the community chest and bring this incredible public park asset online.

Ding dong Phase 1 is gone - congrats to us!

2015/4/10 4:47:20

April 2015 - Spring continues to rock at Norwood. We’ve got a carpet of bluebonnets in the west meadow. The mountain laurels, pomegranates, lantana and other native species are blooming and filling the air with fragrance. We just removed a couple of spoils piles that were harming the heritage trees and were a blight on the grounds. With the tree work that was recently done, the tract is looking fabulous.

Inside the house, the new subfloor is finished! The exterior walls are being strengthened, and hey, we have a humble set of wooden steps in front of the construction door (this place hasn’t had steps in a VERY long time). The house is permanently fastened to the brand-new foundation, never to move again. And now the crew is starting on stabilization of the roof. Soon the rotten rafters will be replaced or sistered, new roof decking will be installed, and a temporary rolled roof will keep everything snug & dry until the permanent tile roof is installed at the end of Phase 2.

It bears repeating: the Norwood bungalow is happy again! The TLC this historic home deserves is finally happening in earnest. And while work at the house goes on, the board is finalizing schematic plans for the overall site with our architectural teams. This will lead to cost-estimating so that we can move forward with fundraising. The plans are fantastic - but they won’t be realized until we raise the money to finish the job.

Bye bye, winter of our discontent. Here’s to the last weeks of Phase 1 activity, and to success where we really need it: in financial support from the community. 

2015/3/31 5:56:44

Week of 3/30/15 - Spring is really rocking at Norwood. The flora is out of this world with all the recent rain, and the fauna recently included a wild turkey! Just traipsing along the cliff, la-tee-dah. Right next to I-35. Cool. But what’s going on inside the Norwood House is even better. The new & sistered floor joists are all done. The new subfloor is being laid now and probably will be done before the week is out. And “plumb & level” work starts soon. Torquing those old walls into “as straight as possible” while keeping them upright and in place on the new foundation stem wall? Not for the faint of heart. That’s historic preservation! As soon as positioning is optimal the walls will be locked in place to the foundation, and that, too, will be behind us - for good.

The Norwood bungalow is happy. The TLC this historic home deserves is finally happening. And while work at the house goes on, the board is finalizing schematic plans for the overall site with our architectural teams. This will lead to cost-estimating so that we can move forward with fundraising. The plans are fantastic - but they won’t be realized until we raise the money to finish the job.

Bye bye, winter. Here’s to the last weeks of Phase 1 activity, and to success where we really need it: in financial support from the community. 

2015/3/16 13:14:29

 Week of 3/16/15 - What a great week for the project! With the foundation work behind us, not only did the carpenters get right inside and start stabilizing the wood structure of the house, but the weather cleared nicely for tree work as well. We were able to finish Part I of our Tree Plan and the results are spectacular. We’ve known all these years that removal of the dead & invasive trees and underbrush would reveal a nice view behind the house, but wow - it’s just breathtaking! It will be wonderful to share this view with all of Austin once we get the house into operations. We’re also better able to see other historic site elements like the old brick garden walls, which is tremendously helpful to our landscape designers.

James and the crew have removed all the interior bracing that was installed to keep the house sturdy for the moves back & forth. They’ve removed all the salvageable oak flooring and the old subfloor, and will be tweaking the structure to make it as plumb & level as possible over the next few days. Then it’s on to shoring up (and in some cases, sistering) the joists. Full steam ahead!

2015/3/9 1:09:28

 Week of 3/09/15 - We have another huge milestone to announce: the new foundation is finished! The Norwood house was lowered off its last jack on Saturday the 7th, just in time to beat another round of showers. Kudos to the crew for pulling this one off. For new visitors, this is truly something to celebrate, as improvements to the foundation required moving the house to the side, demolition of old footings, drilling of about fifteen new piers to bedrock, constructing a new grade beam, then a stem wall, and finally - moving the house back and lowering it into place. A Herculean task! Now we can move on to the more “fun” aspects of stabilization, improvements that will make a real difference in the bungalow’s appearance. Keep an eye out as our ugly duckling starts turning back into a classic 1922 Arts & Crafts swan.

2015/2/21 20:37:48

Friday, February 20, 2015 - NEWSFLASH: the stem wall is done! Whoo hoo, this is another great milestone for the project. The concrete pour was completed late on a beautiful afternoon at the Norwood site. What a happy moment for those of us who were there to witness. Next up: lowering the bungalow onto the wall. This is a tricky process all on its own; it will take place when the structural engineers declare the stem wall properly cured, and requires many steps for the house movers. We’ll keep you apprised.

In the meantime, our Project Mgr. is advancing our tree plans, which will beautify the site and improve the health of our fantastic heritage oaks. We’re also hosting an It’s My Park Day event at Norwood on March 7: volunteers are needed to help paint a first coat of primer on the bungalow’s exterior. For info. on IMPDay and how to register, please go to the Austin Parks Foundation website at: austinparks.org 

2015/2/17 15:22:11

Week of 2/16/15 - We’re in a bit of a lull right now while we wait for our foundation crew to return to the Norwood site and build the stem wall. That’s the reality of construction in Austin, TX - it’s called “get in line.” Patience is called for. The house is in place, hovering over the grade beam, awaiting the moment it can be lowered onto this final foundation structure. What a day that will be! In the meantime, our Project Mgr. is advancing our tree plans, which will beautify the site and improve the health of our fantastic heritage oaks. We’re also hosting an It’s My Park Day event at Norwood on March 7: volunteers are needed to help paint a first coat of primer on the bungalow’s exterior. For info. on IMPDay and how to register, please go to the Austin Parks Foundation website at: austinparks.org 

2015/2/2 23:30:33

 Week of 2/2/15 - Drumroll again…and another NEWSFLASH: the house is back in place! Yep, impending rain motivated our movers to hustle the schedule and get our dear Norwood House back on top of the hill. Over the last week, the grade beam was backfilled with soil, the pad leveled and raked, and all was readied. James even covered the entire pad to keep it dry during weekend drizzle. We were all surprised to get word that the move was a “go” a day early, but hey, no looking a gift horse in the mouth. The mini-journey back was full of stop & go, wiggling the entire beamed contraption back & forth on giant dolly wheels as the structure was correctly pivoted into exact lineup with the new grade beam. My understanding is that after the big rig pulled away, there might be slippery Dove soap, cables, a bobcat & a large group of burly men to tweak the positioning, but we’ll get the full scoop later.

The great news is that February 2nd of 2015 will stand as Norcliff’s last & final day of ever being an orphan. It’s back where it belongs, in its correct, original historical location. No more journeys for this bungalow - ever!

2015/1/20 4:11:13

 Week of 1/19/15 - NEWSFLASH - Houston, we have a grade beam! More exciting progress to report at the Norwood site. The grade beam was formed over the past week, the concrete partially poured on the 16th, and as of the end of day (1/19), it’s all done! Workers will be tearing down the wood forms and preparing for the arrival of fill dirt to tuck back into all those crevices. We’ll be moving the house back into place over the new grade beam before you know it.

In the meantime, we’ve been busy bees, meeting with a host of fine professionals who are donating time in areas like event planning, museum services and project development. This will aid us as we continue our work on the architecture and our preliminary Phase II plan. One thing’s for sure: there is never a dull or lazy moment with Norwood. Thanks to all our givers who are helping us make it happen!

2015/1/12 5:21:57

Week of 1/12/15 - What a difference a week makes! Much to my surprise, neither the holidays nor the cold, wet weather slowed our great progress. And what a sight it was at Norwood over the past week with not one but three huge rigs on the Norwood pad at once, drilling new piers to bedrock and filling them immediately with rebar & concrete. The work confirmed that we are spot on in our relocation considerations; we’ve actually encountered the original footings as we’ve drilled the new piers. The house will return to the exact same spot it was originally, back in harmony with the lines of the formal garden - and on a vastly improved foundation.

The new piers are ready for the coming week’s mission, which is formation and pouring of the concrete grade beam. And final arrangements are being made for the tree work to take place later in the month. So far so good in 2015. 

2015/1/5 17:08:25

Week of 1/5/15 - Oh my, writing that “15” in the date is sobering - we’ve been at this for quite awhile! But it’s also a reminder of what a momentous year 2015 is going to be for the Norwood House. The current work at the site has gone very well; the immense pile of busted-up concrete footings is hauled away and the fill dirt is in place. We are just about ready for drilling! The new month of the new year will bring a brand-new foundation for the bungalow, and one that will last for the next hundred years. Happy New Year to all the friends of Norwood - may we gain many more in the coming months! 

2014/12/27 19:26:42

Weeks of 12/22 & 12/29/14 - Happy Holidays to all. The recent, brief lull at the Norwood site is resolved, but the work underway now is going to take longer than we thought. My goodness there’s a lot of sub-grade concrete nobody knew about! Long walls of old footings, none of which we can utilize as we transition to assembly usage. Right now it’s all about jackhammers, bobcats and dump trucks as this structure is removed; the only interesting part is seeing the outline of the old basement come into view. This extra work is not the kind of Christmas present we wanted, but then there are always surprises around the corner with Norwood. The best antidote to such challenges? Imagining what the house will look like a year from now. That brings a smile! 

2014/12/14 4:58:33

 Week of 12/15/14 - We’re in a short holding period right now, thanks to more old concrete remaining under the house than we expected. Waiting for the arrival of heavy equipment this week that will break up and remove these old footings, then the drilling of the new piers can begin.

In the meantime, our Project Mgr. is moving the tree plan forward. This is multi-faceted and very exciting. Soon we will see what the Norwoods saw a hundred years ago - a clear view from the cliff to the meandering Colorado River and the cityscape beyond. Can’t wait for that! The tree plan also entails getting our many heritage oak trees analyzed, pruned and into an ongoing treatment plan for their optimal health. They will look fabulous with a bit of a haircut. Thank you Austin Heritage Tree Foundation for assisting us here.

A special shout out, as well, to our friends at Eastside Lumber, who have joined the long list of local folks who help to support the Norwood Project. Thank you, Eastside!

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