We were inspired to create Voices of the Violet Crown as we worked alongside neighbors to raise funds for the mosaic Wall of Welcome in Austin, beginning in 2003. VVC aims to foster understanding and participation, beginning right where we live, by showing how history and community are interwoven. We created and have sustained VVC independently, and we are grateful for all our special friends throughout the project.
- Our blog began in 2011 with the post Meet the Starmaker: Bill Williamson of Crestview. Our website also includes features, films, photos, and community resources (right sidebar) and more information about our project (top menu).
- Our community/history exhibits have been featured at the Violet Crown Festival, 2003-2010 and 2012; Wall of Welcome dedication, 2008; Crestview Neighborhood Association Ice Cream Social, 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2016; and Crestview Methodist 60th anniversary, 2013. A corporate sponsor of the Violet Crown Festival described the exhibits as “the centerpiece of the event.”
- Our oral histories since 2003 have featured neighbors ages 6 through 90. Our website and films include video clips, quotes, stills, and transcripts. We donated copies of interview DVDs and transcripts and our films to the Austin History Center.
In 2003, a small group of us in Brentwood and Crestview created the Violet Crown Festival and the nonprofit Violet Crown Community Works to support neighborhood enhancement projects, beginning with the mosaic Wall of Welcome on Woodrow Avenue in Austin. Rob and I volunteered at the festival until 2010; I served on the VCCW board until 2007. (This website reflects my personal experiences and research. What I share here may not represent the views of other neighbors or groups such as VCCW today.—Susan)
Another inspiration for Voices of the Violet Crown is visionary writer, farmer, and activist Wendell Berry. We feature his words in the right sidebar and in the title of this blog post, “History Overflows Time,” from his novel Jayber Crow.
And, we continue to be inspired by our neighbors, through their words—and all the ways they make a difference, right where we live.
A community is the heart and soul of a city.
—Hedrich Michaelsen, Crestview
The most important thing about being a good neighbor is to be aware of the way we feed one another, the way we celebrate with one another, the way we help one another grow—thinking about neighbor as family.
—Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, Brentwood
Somebody before us planted these trees, and it’s up to us to do the same, so there will be trees here for the next generation.
—Emily Wilson, Friends of Brentwood Park
Thanks, as always, for visiting our website! We’ve added a few neighborhood highlights of the past 10 years, below, many with links to more info.
—Susan & Rob Burneson, Crestview neighbors since 1985
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DECADE MAKES!
2006 • April 22: Jean Graham began installing the mosaic Wall of Welcome at Crestview Shopping Center. • November 10: Brentwood Elementary held its tenth annual Veterans Day celebration, at which students wearing America-themed hats created a living version of the 1812 American flag. Photos of it were featured in the Austin American-Statesman.
2007 • The population center of Austin was Northcross Mall at Anderson Lane and Burnet Road. • February 10: More than 2500 people encircled the mall in a friendly yet emphatic protest against a large WalMart being planned there. • April 21: Groundbreaking began for the new North Village Library on Steck Avenue; previously it was in Crestview at Burnet and Anderson. • May 31: Responsible Growth for Northcross received a Liveable City Vision Award and was recognized by the Austin Chronicle as the “Feistiest Neighborhood Rebellion” (see February 10, above). • November: Sustainable Neighborhoods of North Central Austin was established to support sustainable and neighborhood-friendly development in the area.
2008 • Late March: The Wall of Welcome was completed and dedicated in a community-wide celebration. The neighborhood film A Community Mosaic premiered at the event. • May 10: The original Frisco Shop, 5819 Burnet Road, closed to prepare for its move a few blocks north. Frisco is the last of four Nighthawk restaurants in Austin. In April 1959, Nighthawk founder Harry Akins became the first white restaurateur in Austin to serve blacks in his restaurants. Frisco has been in Brentwood since 1953.
2009 • Crestview successfully met the City of Austin Green Neighbor Challenge to become a Certified Green Neighborhood. • Friends of Brentwood Park, Brentwood and Crestview neighbors dedicated to keeping the park maintained and to continuing its development as a community resource, was established.
2010 • September 12: Faith Lutheran Church celebrated its 60th anniversary. • October 3: Sustainable Neighborhoods of North Central Austin held its first of 11 tree plantings; by November 2014, volunteers had planted 170 trees. • November 6: Friends of Brentwood Park planted 115 trees in the park.
2011 • July 5: The Voices of the Violet Crown project launched its website.
2012 • A Fine Arts Academy was established at Lamar Middle School. • January: The Food is Free Project, a community building and gardening movement, was established in Brentwood. • May 4: The new Brentwood Park pavilion, a project of Friends of Brentwood Park, was completed. It was dedicated the next day at the Violet Crown Festival.
2013 • May 4: The tenth spring Violet Crown Festival was held in Brentwood Park. (There was no spring festival in 2008, the year the Wall of Welcome dedication was held.) • Mid-July: The new Friends of Brentwood Park walking trail was completed. • October 28: The 1951 McKown House at 1501 Richcreek Road was not approved for historic zoning by the City of Austin Historic Landmark Commission, making way for demolition and new construction by its new owner. • November: Crestview United Methodist Church celebrated its 60th anniversary. • Crestview Baptist, Crestview Minimax IGA, Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, and McCallum High School also celebrated 60th anniversaries in 2013.
2014 • April: Brentwood and Crestview neighbors contributed photos, maps, and history to the City of Austin Community Character in a Box. • September 24: Marjorie Daugherty visited 1405 Justin Lane and confirmed it was the original farmhouse of her grandparents, Frank and Julia Richcreek. Their farm began to be developed as Crestview in 1947, when the house was moved from its original location northwest of Justin and North Lamar. It had been built in the early 1930s. • December 21: Family, friends, and neighbors attended a memorial service at the Brentwood Park pavilion for neighbors Billie and Sidney Shelton, who died December 15. • December 21-25: The 21st annual Luminarias, along Arroyo Seco in Brentwood and Crestview, were dedicated in memory of the Sheltons.
2015 • Katherine (Kathy) Williams-Carter retired after more than 30 years as principal of Brentwood Elementary. • March: McCallum High School was named the top National Grammy Signature School for 2015. • July 9: Crestview Methodist Church held a special healing service for individuals, the community, and the earth. • July 19: The Crestview Neighborhood Association held its longtime annual Ice Cream Social at Crestview Shopping Center. • August 26: Home Lumber closed its doors after 78 years in business at 5705 Burnet Road in Brentwood. (Read more about it here.) • September 27 and October 11: Faith Lutheran Church celebrated its 65th anniversary.