Our Voices of the Violet Crown community/history project was inspired by working alongside neighbors to raise funds for the mosaic Wall of Welcome in Austin.
In early 2003, a small group of us neighbors created the Violet Crown Festival and nonprofit Violet Crown Community Works to help with the fund raising. My husband, Rob, and I were festival volunteers from 2003 to 2010; I served on the VCCW board from 2003 to 2007.
Like many other neighbors, Rob and I made a tile for the wall representing where we live (right), and Rob made one for Little Deli, a popular local restaurant. (See it here.)
Those of us who founded VCCW were inspired by the people and beginnings of Brentwood and Crestview—reflected in the nonprofit’s bylaws: “Through its projects, VCCW seeks to build and support a strong sense of community and history among neighborhood residents.”
Rob and I created community and history exhibits featured at VCCW events from 2003 to 2010 and in 2012. Voices of the Violet Crown also includes three films, a history booklet, feature articles, and this website—all of which incorporate excerpts from oral history interviews we conducted with our neighbors. (More about our project here.)
Just as our exhibits included history and neighborhood news and resources, our website includes all of that, too, reflecting our belief that community is a continuum of past, present, and future.
And, just as neighbors have enhanced where we live by working together on the mosaic wall, tree plantings, and many other projects over the years, our website’s stories and images reflect our belief that being a good neighbor is a creative process.
January 2013 marks two of them for us: we started our project 10 years ago, and we launched our website a year and a half ago. Below we share other neighborhood milestones coming up this year (many with links to more info).
60 YEARS AGO (1953): Herb Prellop and a business partner purchased Minimax in Crestview Shopping Center. Today, it’s co-owned and managed by Herb’s son Ronnie. (See the store’s Wall of Welcome tile, left.) • Crestview Baptist Church, Crestview Methodist Church, and Episcopal Church of the Resurrection were established. (Our neighborhood history exhibit, featured at past Violet Crown Festivals, will be displayed at Crestview Methodist’s 60th anniversary celebration in 2013.) • The Brentwood Recreation Club helped build the outdoor stage at Brentwood Elementary. It is used today for live music, theatre, and other community events. • Jay Hodgson, an early Austin TV personality known as “Uncle Jay,” moved to 6913 Reese Lane in Crestview.
50 YEARS AGO (1963): Burkhart’s Motor Dining opened on Burnet Road. In 1971, it became the Top Notch and continues to be popular today.
40 YEARS AGO (1973): The Chief Drive-in, on the southeast corner of Lamar and Koenig since 1946, was torn down to build Commerce Park. (See the Chief’s Wall of Welcome mosaic, created by Jean Graham, right.)
20 YEARS AGO (1993): Lucretia and Jonathan Doyer opened a food trailer at Crestview Shopping Center. Their business later became the Little Deli, today owned by Tony Villani. • Richard Linklater’s film Dazed and Confused premiered. Several scenes were filmed here—in Crestview at Top Notch on Burnet Road, and in Brentwood at the Violet Crown Shopping Center and Centennial Liquors on the corner of Lamar and Brentwood.
10 YEARS AGO (May 17, 2003): The first Violet Crown Festival was held, after a small group of Brentwood and Crestview neighbors were inspired to help raise funds for the mosaic Wall of Welcome.
1.5 YEARS AGO (July 5, 2011): We launched the Voices of the Violet Crown website. See how it all began here.
TODAY: We wish you a happy, healthy, and neighborly new year!
The title of this blog post is from Jayber Crow: A Novel, by Wendell Berry, a visionary writer, farmer, and activist who is one of the inspirations for our project. More about Berry here, toward the bottom of the page.
Thanks, as always, for visiting our website and for sharing your stories with us!
—Susan & Rob Burneson, Crestview neighbors since 1985