We were inspired to create Voices of the Violet Crown as we worked alongside neighbors to raise funds for the Wall of Welcome in Austin, Texas. 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, grateful for all our partners throughout the project.
- Our blog began in 2011 with the post Meet the Starmaker. Our website also includes features, films, and community resources (right sidebar) and more information about our project (top menu).
- Our community/history exhibits have been displayed at local events, including the Violet Crown Festival, since 2003. A festival corporate sponsor called the exhibits “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, images, and transcripts from many of the interviews.
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. Rob and I no longer participate in either, although we volunteered at the festival until 2010, and I served on the VCCW board until 2007. Like many other neighbors, we created a mosaic for the Wall of Welcome (right), and Rob created one for the popular local restaurant Little Deli on Woodrow Avenue in Austin.
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 some new milestones for 2015, below, many with links to more info.
5 YEARS AGO/2010 • February 25: The Violet Crown TAG (Together Against Graffiti) Team formed a Yahoo group, to share information and help eliminate graffiti from our neighborhood • September 12: Faith Lutheran Church celebrated its 60th anniversary. • October 3: Sustainable Neighborhoods of North Central Austin held the first of 11 tree plantings; by November 2014, volunteers planted and have maintained 170 trees • October 31: The first Trail of Frights, a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood event for local Halloween fans and trick-or-treaters, was held in the Brentwood/Crestview area. • November 6: Friends of Brentwood Park planted 115 trees, one of the group’s ongoing projects to enhance and maintain our local public greenspace. (View our film about the event here.)
10 YEARS AGO/2005 • December 31: Brentwood and Crestview neighbors participated in the First Night Austin Grand Procession, wearing handmade violet crowns and following a 10-foot-long Domino the Pig puppet created by artist and Brentwood neighbor Jean Graham.
20 YEARS AGO/1995 • May: Longtime Morrow Avenue neighbors Neb and Helen Parson moved back to their home state of Arkansas from Crestview. (Read Neb and Helen—and Ernest Tubb.)
50 YEARS AGO/1965 • Ronnie and the West Winds—featuring Ronnie Prellop of Crestview Minimax IGA—performed at IBEW Hall on South Congress in Austin.
70 YEARS AGO/1945 • After World War II, more and more young families moved to Brentwood and Crestview, and the landscape began to change from mostly farmland and wide open spaces to neat rows of well-kept homes. (View our film A Community Mosaic for more about that time.)
75 YEARS AGO/1940 • Eddie Joseph opened Joseph’s Drive-in, later called North Austin Drive-in, the first in Austin and one of four that once were in our area. It was on the southwest corner of Justin and Lamar and south of the Frank Richcreek farm which began to be developed as the Crestview neighborhood in 1947.
170 YEARS AGO/1845 • Texas became one of the United States, after being an independent republic for nine years.
175 YEARS AGO/1840 • Travis County was created from Bastrop County, one of the original Texas counties established in 1836.
OVER 1000 YEARS AGO/ABOUT 500 B. C. • The Greek poet Theognis is among the earliest writers to describe Athens, Greece, as the City of the Violet Crown. By the 1890s, Texas writers William Cowper Brann and O. Henry had begun to use the term to describe Austin. (More about the phrase “violet crown.”)
—Susan & Rob Burneson, Crestview neighbors since 1985