Neighborhood Character

The East Cesar Chavez neighborhood is diverse and dynamic, with a colorful history stretching back to the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.  As one of Austin’s first neighborhoods, a unique character developed over many years, incorporating social and cultural influences from African American, Hispanic and European-American residents.  This character can still be found throughout the streets of East Cesar Chavez and is manifested through historic heritage, cultural landmarks and current social customs.

As the neighborhood evolves, it is crucial to protect, preserve and promote existing neighborhood character as a means for responsible change.  Neighborhood Character can be maintained on many levels, consisting of both the intangible and the tangible.  Intangible, or non-physical manifestations of character, can be found through memory, oral histories, social traditions and many artistic expressions. These things are often passed down through social and familial connections. Tangible expressions of neighborhood character are often manifested in cultural expressions of space such as architecture, parks, streets and general land-use.

Here are some of the ways Historic Preservation is helping maintain character in the East Cesar Chavez neighborhood:

Land Preservation

Preservation and conservation of open space, park land, gardens, designed landscapes and trails:

Above: Festival Beach Community Garden: Two acres of land located at the corner of Waller and Clermont Streets. More information:


Historic District

A Group of buildings, properties or sites that with historic and/or architectural significance. Historic districts can be on the national or local level.

Above: Willow-Spence Streets National Historic District.  Listed 1985.
Periods of Significance: 1900 – 1924; 1875-1899; 1925-1949.
Architectural Styles Present: Gothic Revival, Craftsman Bungalow, Mission Revival, Spanish Revival. More information:


Street Scape and Building Facade Preservation

Preservation of the appearance, function and views of a historic-age street, road or path. Building Facades, building scale, sidewalk conditions and setbacks play key roles.


Above: The ca. 1960 building facade of Lyon Real Estate, LLC. located on East 2nd Street. More information:


Above: Heywood Hotel preserves the front facade of a craftsman bungalow while adding on new modernist additions in the back. This leaves the streetscape intact, preserving views, walkways and scale. More information:


Historical Markers

National, state or local designation of historic significance. Significance  can be determined by association with important events or people along with architectural design.

Above: The State of Texas Historical Marker for the Sing Family Home.

More information:


Preservation through Use

Continuity of use, function and maintenance over time.

Above: The Comal Food Store, in use since it was constructed in the 1880s.



Repairs and additions (when needed) that maintain the historic character and materials of historic buildings.

Above: Private home restored with sympathetic materials and paint choices.



Significant changes in use and function that maintain portions of historic buildings.

Above: Big Red Sun Garden Design Exterior and Interior. The building originally functioned as a grocery store. More information:


Objects, Landmarks, and Viewsheds

Protection of small features, view corridors and landmarks that define and give historic character to a place.

Heritage Trees

Protection of historic, landmark, legacy or specimen trees on both private and public land.

Above: Heritage Tree located in the center of Festival Beach Community Garden.

More information about City of Austin tree protection requirements and programs:


More Information and Resources

See the Preservation Assistance page for more guidance on preserving properties, and for important City of Austin Resources for Preservation-Oriented Issues.