October 16, 2021

Preservation Austin releases free virtual homes tour of Austin’s only Black designated historic district

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For its homes tour this year, Preservation Austin spotlighted the Rogers-Washington-Holy Cross Historic District, Austin’s newest, and only Black, designated historic district.

Now, the video tour is offered free on Preservation Austin’s Youtube channel: youtube.com/user/preservationaustin/videos

Narrated by Austin actor Marc Pouhé, Preservation Austin’s virtual homes tour “Rogers-Washington-Holy Cross: Black Heritage, Living History” features seven post-war and mid-century modern homes.

In 1950s — when Austin was still segregated — Black families who broke barriers in education, the military, science, civil service, and business built homes in the East Austin neighborhood, creating their own midcentury community.

Related: ‘Common ground: The story of Austin’s newest, and only Black, historic district’

As a companion to the 50-minute tour video, there’s also a self-guided tour, featuring other homes within Rogers-Washington-Holy Cross as well as important East Austin sites. Download the tour info here.


David Chapel John Chase
David Chapel Missionary Baptist built in 1958 is one of two East Austin churches designed by John S. Chase.

One such site is the 1958 David Chapel, a masterwork of architect John S. Chase, the African American to graduate from the University of Texas School of Architecture and theirst Black licensed architect in Texas.

Another is the Teachers State Association of Texas built in 1952, one of Chase’s first buildings. It later became the House of Elegance beauty salon, a longtime community fixture. In 2018, UT purchased it to the Community Engagement Center of its Division for Diversity and Community Engagement.

House of Elegance
At 1191 Navasota Street, the 1952 building designed by John S. Chase was originally the Teachers State Association of Texas


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