Preservation Austin purchases landmark modern house

The 1947 Streamline Moderne house at 3805 Red River Street
The 1947 Streamline Moderne house at 3805 Red River Street. Photo courtesy Zillow.

A prominent Austin modern architecture landmark and the site of a zoning battle will now be positioned for restoration and reuse, thanks to local Preservation Austin.

The nonprofit group announced last week that it has purchased the well-known house at 3805 Red River Street, a two-story white stucco Streamline Moderne house built in 1947.

On the busy corner of Red River and East 38 1/2 streets, the home garnered the spotlight in 2014 when it received historic landmark status against the owners’s wishes after a long public battle between property-rights advocates and preservationists.

Preservation Austin was chief among the advocates for keeping the mid-century home as is. The house was recently listed for sale for $725,000.

Lindsey Derrington, newly named executive director of Preservation Austin, said the organization paid full price for the house.

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“Our plan is to restore the building and sustain its presence on what is now a busy thoroughfare in the central-city Hancock neighborhood,” Derrington said. “We will be rehabbing the building over the course of the next few years and hope to use state historic tax credits to support the project.”

Rear view of the 1947 Streamline Moderne house at 3805 Red River Street. Photo courtesy Trulia.

 

Derrington added that plans include building a new, smaller residential unit at the rear of the large lot to help pay for the renovation costs.

The house is one of the few in Austin in the International or Streamline Moderne style, a development of Art Deco. Inspired aerodynamic design — especially that of ocean liners and trains — streamline architecture emphasized a combination of curving forms and long horizontal lines along with nautical elements such as porthole cutouts.

“We’ve actually made contact with the family who built the house in 1947 and are hoping to receive some historic photos from the late 1940s and early 1950s soon,” Derrington said. “The house retains an incredible amount of its historic fabric but these images will help us pin down some addition details about the original design.”

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