Background and Site History
In 1922, local developer Ollie O. Norwood and his wife, Calie Norwood built a small bungalow on the bluffs above the south bank of the Colorado River just west of the area where Interstate 35 now crosses Lady Bird Lake. The Norwood House occupied a 3-acre estate that included a rose garden, a greenhouse, a decorative fountain, a gazebo/teahouse, and the first geothermal-fed swimming pool in Austin.
The City of Austin purchased the Norwood Estate, including the house in 1985. The City recognized the historic significance of the house and has been designated a City of Austin historic landmark.
The Norwood House circa the 1920s, classic Arts & Crafts bungalow in the California Craftsman style. Photo credit: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library C01463a
In 2013 the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department agreed with the Norwood Park Foundation for the stabilization and rehabilitation of the house and grounds to support programming of the space for community meetings and events for potential revenue for the maintenance and operations of the site. In 2015, the Norwood Park Foundation completed the removal of hazardous materials from the house, adjusted the siting of the house to its original placement, and stabilized the structure. Since then the Foundation has been working on conceptual plans for the rehabilitation and improvements to the park to support the proposed programming.
Photo credit: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library PICH 06754a
The Norwood Park Foundation received a site development permit in August of 2021. Due to escalating construction costs, the project is currently on hold.
Funding and Resources
The funding for the current phase of the Norwood Estate Rehabilitation is made possible through the 2018 General Obligation Bond Package and Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funding to support projects and initiatives that meet allowable uses as defined under Chapter 351 of the Texas Tax Code. HOT revenue is an essential tool for the promotion of tourism and supports the growth of the tourism, convention, and hotel industry. PARD is an important partner in this effort as public parks, museums, and cultural centers are among the top tourist attractions in the City.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or HistoricAustinParks@austintexas.gov