Accessibility Navigation

Jump to:

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.


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


End of menu. Jump to Accessibility Menu

Main Content


1. If the house is on public parkland, why isn't the City doing this work?

With the public clamoring for reduced taxes, it's getting harder and harder for cities and states across the country to maintain their parks - Austin included. PARD simply has no funding to do preservation work or maintain staff for new or restored facilities like Norwood, and this park never rose to the top of the long needs list for bond funding in the past because its precise historic & cultural value was not well understood by the City. Because the house was in imminent danger of collapse, and because there was demonstrated, longstanding will to save it, NPF mobilized to negotiate an agreement in 2012 to first stabilize the house, then implement the full project over multiple years to get this important work done in a creative public/private partnership with the City.

2. The house is really deteriorated. Why is it worth restoring in the first place?

This is an unusually elegant 1922 California Craftsman bungalow, with exquisite features, in a spectacular setting that represents an Arts & Crafts ideal - a very rare thing. As the original, iconic element of Norwood Park - a prominent gateway to historic Travis Heights - the home was the centerpiece of an important cultural site for the city. And even though it's still an ugly duckling for now, the house is no longer so deteriorated! Our early donors have made it possible for NPF to accomplish the very significant work of Phase 1 already, plus we have recently finished the seminal Phase 2 preparation work of Site Development Permitting AND 100% Construction Documents! We're shovel ready, and the house is ready to transform and wow people again!

Beyond the improved condition of the house is the fact that it possesses a view of the city that is quite simply astonishing, allowing it to generate considerable revenue for the taxpayers to maintain the facility and the beautiful surrounding parkland.

3. I've heard of Zilker Clubhouse - is your project similar?

Yes, in some ways it is. The Clubhouse, like Norwood, is an historic Arts & Crafts era structure on public parkland that is operated as a rental venue. Both structures overlook Lady Bird Lake - the Clubhouse is located to the west, near Mopac, and Norwood is to the east, near I-35. The difference is that the Clubhouse is very rustic and is not air-conditioned, though it does have a fantastic terrace and view. Norwood will be a more refined, air-conditioned, newly-redone facility, with multiple rental spaces and its own terrace and knockout view. The Clubhouse is so popular you have to book a year in advance using a lottery system. We have a feeling Norwood will be just as much in demand!

4. What's the scope of the project in a nutshell?

This is exciting! We'll:

  • restore the house and repurpose it by completely opening up the interior

  • add a rear terrace and new connecting outdoor spaces to supplement the rehabilitated historic gardens

  • rebuild the historic "teahouse" gazebo, and also - as part of a future phase - a new, functional space that honors the former greenhouse

  • build modest accessory structures that complete the geometry of the vision while helping the entire property function as well as possible

  • improve ingress and egress at Norwood, provide new parking, and make required street infrastructure improvements along Riverside Dr. & Edgecliff Terrace.

5. How will the house and grounds be used? Who will operate it?

NPF will operate the house as a premier rental venue and community meeting space, with plans for open/museum hours so the public always has an opportunity to see the property. Notably, NPF is not a traditional concessionaire; all revenues over expenses will be retained by our nonprofit organization, solely for the benefit of the Norwood House and Norwood Park. The beauty of this plan is that because the location and the view are so desirable, the entire operation will be 100% self-sustaining.

6. How did NPF come to be the restoring entity?

The Norwood Park Foundation is the evolution of many decades of Austinites who've fought to protect the house from demolition and retain the park for the people. Before NPF there was the Norwood Posse, and before that was the Women's Chamber of Commerce, and before that was the SRCC (South River City Citizens) and just regular folks in Austin who recognized how important this little house was. NPF formed as PARD was finishing its Feasibility Study for Norwood Park in 2011; we worked with the City in a public process to take on this daunting task in a way that conforms to PARD's general plan for Norwood while being minimally dependent on the taxpayer.

7. What about the swimming pool?

We're frequently asked about the old pool because it was a fantastic amenity back in the day. Because of liability and lack of funding, the City filled in the pool with dirt many years ago. As part of a future phase to beautify and naturalize the overall tract, there is expectation that PARD may honor the spirit of the pool with some type of water feature or other special amenity, and connect the upper and lower areas. But for now, NPF has no jurisdiction in this area of Norwood Park.

8. Are my donations tax deductible? How is my money being used?

Yes, all donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. NPF is a Texas 501(c)3 nonprofit. Your money will go directly toward rehabilitation of this public park asset and its permanent protection and programming; this is the sole purpose for and project of the Norwood Park Foundation.

9. How long is the work going to take?

The actual restoration and construction won't take long, less than a year! But most if not all of the funds needed for Phase 2 Construction must be raised before we can start. Because of very restrictive policies about accessing the municipal funds that NPF secured with its advocacy over the past many years, we have recently reduced the scope of Phase 2, and will match the work to the available funding so that we can begin as soon as possible. Some parts of the project can wait, but the house needs our help now!

Phase 2 will include the restoration of the Norwood House exterior, the parking lot, and the significant infrastructure work along Edgecliff Terrace and Riverside Drive that the City requires us to do. We expect to break ground sometime in spring 2021. The goal is operations by or during 2022, the 100-yr. anniversary of the house!

10. What about parking? I don't see much available right now.

NPF will be constructing a nicely landscaped parking lot inside park boundaries, directly across the street (Edgecliff Terrace) from the house, where a tennis court was once located on the estate. This lot will provide most of what is needed for events that will be limited to 150. We anticipate the use of ride-sharing resources and shuttle systems as well. The parking lot will be available for general park visitors when the house is not being rented.

11. What will happen with the dog park that's at Norwood now?

NPF has no jurisdiction over the area of the dog park, which was not an original part of the estate. The Preferred Alternative for Norwood Park, adopted in 2011 by the PARD Board, calls for the current OLA (off-leash area) to be reduced in size to a section in the southeast part of the overall Norwood tract, so that PARD can restore most of the lower section to natural parkland for neighbors' use. A buffer between the Norwood House venue and dog park user groups will be in place by the time operation of the house begins, but ultimately, the people of Austin will decide what happens with all of the acreage of the Norwood tract.

12. What can I do to help?

1- please make a donation! Because we recently achieved shovel-ready status, the best way to help for now is to make a gift. No amount is too small, and we need donations from throughout the community demonstrating public support to keep this a NONPROFIT project. Other ways to help, which we value:

2- email the Mayor and your City Council member with a single link (and copy us) and tell them you care about Norwood and want to see it finished! This is very helpful to the project - every voice helps. ... stin-city-council-members

3- we are eager to hear people's stories about Norwood in former years; if you have memories of the house or the park, let us know!

4- email us and just let us know you're a supporter. There is no obligation; when/if we need your advocacy we will have your contact.

5- email us if you can volunteer expertise that will help us now, or if you'd like to be on the volunteer list when the house is operating in future.

Together, we are doing this! And with your help we'll get it done SOON. Please join with us to bring the Norwood House back, and by doing so: Keep Austin Original!

End of page contents. Jump to Accessibility Menu

Ancilliary Content