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HLC excited about rare historic discovery

Thursday, December 19, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

When D.R. Horton Homes discovered a 19th-century blockhouse at 1208 E. Howard Lane, the Historic Landmark Commission got excited. Homes of that vintage are rare in Central Texas, and this one was a serendipitous find. The structure, part of the Dessau community of German settlers, was covered by over a century of stucco and walls from homeowners who had built and modified a larger home around the original footprint. The commission commended the homebuilder’s willingness to preserve the structure and unanimously recommended a permit for partial demolition. Once the structure is uncovered, the builders will provide any necessary rehabilitation and then fence off the structure for protection. The blockhouse is located where the developer plans to put a pocket park for the subdivision. Commissioner Ben Heimsath recommended going beyond just preservation and instead activating the space. “It could be a small meeting room or a community space,” he said, warning that if the cultural resource were left vacant it could become a magnet for vandals and squatters.

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