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Historic Preservation Officer Sadowsky has died

Thursday, January 13, 2022 by Jo Clifton

The city of Austin has lost its most passionate advocate for historic preservation. Steve Sadowsky, 64, who served as the city’s historic preservation officer for many years, died Wednesday after a long illness. Even during his illness, Sadowsky never quit advocating for historic preservation, not just for well-preserved West Austin homes but for the East Austin structures that reflected the city’s history. In addition to his graduate degree in historic preservation, Sadowsky was a lawyer before turning to history. He worked for the Texas Department of Transportation for eight years before joining the city and beginning his 21-year city career. Sadowsky could be seen whenever the Historic Landmark Commission or City Council were meeting, making the case for the preservation of structures he believed were important to the story of Austin. Council presented him with a Distinguished Service Award last month. As Council Member Kathie Tovo noted, he was a “tireless advocate for historic preservation.” Before this death, Preservation Austin honored him with a lifetime achievement award, saying, “During his time as Historic Preservation Officer, the Historic Preservation Office has been inundated with demolition permit requests and applications for historic landmark designation. Steve has faced these challenges by taking his well-researched stand with conviction, and has weathered many a storm to defend Austin’s historic fabric. He has personally prepared or reviewed hundreds of historic landmark applications, and through that process, shared and uncovered the history of Austin with us all.”

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