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Council to honor historic preservationists Sadowsky, Baker

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 by Jo Clifton

City Council Member Kathie Tovo is sponsoring a resolution on this Thursday’s agenda to honor two people important to preserving Austin’s history. The resolution proposes naming the Austin History Center Reading Room in honor of the late Betty Baker, who led efforts to create the city’s Historic Preservation Office, and the late Steve Sadowsky, who served as the city’s historic preservation officer for 21 years. Baker was a city employee for many years before joining the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. She was able to serve on the city’s Planning Commission, which she chaired, and later became chair of the Zoning and Platting Commission. As the resolution notes, “Sadowsky led the successful effort to rename the structure at 2402 San Gabriel Street so that it became the Rev. Jacob Fontaine Gold Dollar Building, a name reflecting its roots as home of the Gold Dollar, the first African-American newspaper in Austin, founded in 1876 by Rev. Jacob Fontaine, a man who had been enslaved.” This was one of many historic buildings Sadowsky helped to preserve. If the resolution is approved, the city will install a commemorative plaque in their honor. Tovo’s co-sponsors include Mayor Steve Adler and Council members Ann Kitchen and Natasha Harper-Madison.

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