Category Archives: Community

“Sherman, Set the WABAC Machine!,” Part 1

In the 1960s, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, cartoon characters on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, traveled back in time to visit famous historical events through Mr. Peabody’s WABAC (“wayback”) machine. This week’s blog is an intro to our local WABAC trip, beginning next time. We include excerpts from our history exhibit and booklet, with new info, too. You might have seen the history exhibit at the Violet Crown Festival (2003-2010), Crestview United Methodist Church’s 60th … Read more

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A Voice of the Violet Crown

I have a friend who is fascinated with genealogy, just as I am. She has told me the story of her great-grandmother, Dr. Elizabeth Durbin Irby Crow Smith, one of the first woman physicians in Northern Louisiana. As she passed away at age 73, she said to those around her: It’s a shame for me to die and take all this knowledge with me. Few of us will gain the wisdom Elizabeth did. She was … Read more

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Fun in the Neighborhood, Part 2

Neighbors who were here beginning in the 1950s remember the freedom and friendship, going to drive-in movie theatres, and roller skating at Capitol Roll Arena. One person we interviewed, Anne Eagle Walker, worked at the rink when she was a teenager. FUN & FREE We interviewed Sylvia (Scooter) Rushing February 2008, and Wanda and Emory Muehlbrad, February 9, 2008. DVDs of their videotaped interviews are at the Austin History Center. DRIVE-INS At one time, there … Read more

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Fun in the Neighborhood, Part 1

Here we are, in the midst of Dog Days and halfway through school summer vacation—a perfect time to kick back and look at a few of the ways kids of all ages have good times here. Whether it’s today (Part 1) or more than 50 years ago (Part 2), we found it’s not all that much different. (Photo, right, courtesy of Crestview neighbor Louise Cooke.) Ryder “Red Ryder” Schwartz learned how to juggle on the sidewalk … Read more

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Moving Beyond, Part 2

Honestly, I didn’t think much about our neighborhood’s history until I had lived here more than 15 years. Then, one day I was visiting with my longtime neighbor Billie Herron in the shade of her towering magnolia tree (see 2017 update here). Billie said when she moved to Crestview in the mid-1950s she and her neighbors could see the Violet Crown Hills to the west, where Far West Boulevard is today. Looking up at her … Read more

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Moving Beyond, Part 1

Four years ago, we knew we wanted to do a website for our community/history project, Voices of the Violet Crown. When we launched it July 5, 2011, we envisioned having maybe a year’s worth of stories to share with neighbors, both near and far. Since then, we have filled up our corner of the blogosphere with posts, features, videos, photos, and community links and news. In 2003, we began our project with exhibits—history, maps, community … Read more

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Houses Sing, Part 2

Our two-part series, inspired by the Danny Schmidt song “Houses Sing,” concludes . . . Former Crestview neighbor John Carlson took great pride in the Princeton Avenue home he and his wife, Judy, had built in the mid-50s. At the time, he knew the best tradesmen in the area, since he helped maintain rental properties for Crestview developers A. B. Beddow and Ray Yates. The tradesmen promised him that the Carlsons’ home would be solidly … Read more

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Houses Sing, Part 1

The song “Houses Sing,” by Texas singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt, reminds me of the people who built the first houses here and how new neighbors have continued to regenerate them. Here are just a few of the words: There’s signs in all the yards, with a price tag and a plea. And I can see my daughter swinging, in the shade of every tree Every building tells a story, every builder holds a pen. They only … Read more

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Sense of Place, Part 2

More good stories from our neighbors who add to our sense of place here . . . WANDA AND EMORY MUEHLBRAD, whose grandparents were born in Germany, looked at each other and chuckled when we asked them to tell us their full names, during our interview with them in 2008: Wanda: My name is Wandalie Wilhelmine Hohertz Muehlbrad. Emory: I’m Emory Emil Wilhelm Muehlbrad. We come from German stock! BEN PETMECKY probably led a more … Read more

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Sense of Place, Part 1

The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines sense of place as: Those things that add up to a feeling that a community is a special place, distinct from anywhere else. We don’t know of any “thing” that contributes more to a sense of place than the people who live there and the stories they share. As Cynthia Beeman, board member of the Texas Oral History Association, has said: The value of oral history cannot be … Read more

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