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Richard Overton’s home one step closer to becoming a museum

Thursday, October 31, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

In a unanimous 10-0 vote on Oct. 28, the Historic Landmark Commission recommended Richard Overton’s house for historic zoning. Overton, who was the oldest living World War II veteran when he passed away last year, lived in his home from 1948 until his death. Volma Overton Jr., Overton’s cousin and executor of his estate, told the commission that the late veteran’s last wish was to see his home turned into a museum. “I hope that all the stories that were told are in there,” Commissioner Witt Featherston said. Some of the stories Overton told on his porch during the later years of his life were about his time as a soldier during WWII, and his memories of his grandparents who were slaves in Tennessee. All of the commissioners were in support of pursuing historic designation for the property. Commissioner Kevin Koch said that the property speaks for itself. “I think the property is so overwhelmingly qualified I’m afraid to not do it justice (by speaking),” he said. Historic Preservation Officer Steve Sadowsky said that staffers “wholeheartedly” support the recommendation and that Overton was “a man who exemplifies the best of the African American experience in Austin.” Volma Overton agreed. “He was looked upon as the grandfather of Austin, Texas,” he said.

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