Preserving the Historic Clarksville Neighborhood
The Clarksville neighborhood has a long history dating back to the slavery days. Governor Elisha Pease’s plantation and nearby slave quarters resided in this area. In 1865 after emancipation, Pease gave land in the Clarksville area to some of his favorite former slaves and sold land to others. Small wood-frame homes were built, the Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church was created, and a tight-knit community was formed into the Clarksville neighborhood. Established by former slave Charles Clark, he envisioned the neighborhood as a community where former slaves could reunite with their families and friends, and finally lead their own lives.
Most of the original Clarksville homes are gone and most African American residents have been driven out of the neighborhood by decades of land speculation, gentrification, construction of Mopac and rising property taxes. Owner of this development, Tom Blackwell, realized the value of preserving these three remaining historic structures.
While collaborating with h+uo architects, the team came up with the concept of adding two homes on 10th and 11th Streets, fronted by the rehabilitated historic structures. These substantially-sized and complementary homes were built to the rear of the historic homes.
This project successfully balances historic preservation and new custom home development. Given the small size of the saved units, this is a process that is rarely embraced in West Austin.