Wooldridge Park bandstand to see repairs before grand re-opening

Posted by on Jun 14, 2013 in Austin, Current Projects, Journal

Yesterday I met with good people from Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Friends of Wooldridge Park, Austin Parks Foundation, and a local contractor to discuss the historic bandstand that is the focal point of this historic park.  It is one of four original parks designated by the first mayor of Austin, Edwin Waller, in his 1839 city plan, and is bounded by 9th, 10th, Guadalupe and San Antonio Streets, filling the block between the historic Travis County Courthouse and the Austin History Center. Its namesake is Austin Mayor A. P. Wooldridge, who cleaned up the square and commissioned the construction of the arbor/bandstand in the center of the square in 1909.  The structure was designed by architect Charles H. Page in the neo-classical style, and rests in a sunken terrain that acts as a natural amphitheater.   Wooldridge Park has been the site of political rallies, weddings, concerts, and many other types of celebrations for more than 100 years.  It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and is designated a State Archeological Landmark and Austin Landmark.  The Downtown Austin Plan, approved in 2011, sets goals to preserve the historic and landscape character, improve accessibility, usability and safety, and promote redevelopment and active uses of surrounding area.  The park is within one of 30 Capitol view corridors.  It has always been important to me as an essential part of Austin history, and a beautiful space that is within walking distance from my house.

After several trees died in the drought two years ago, PARD and the Friends of Wooldridge Park have been working tirelessly to restore the landscape of the park, and it looks better than I can ever remember seeing it.  A few more improvements are set to be complete at the park prior to the grand reopening scheduled for mid-September, including some electrical work, the creation of a service pad at the northwest corner of the site, and repairs to the bandstand.  Volz O’Connell Hutson will be helping out by providing pro bono consultation services regarding best practices for historic interpretation, painting, wood repair, new carpentry, and lighting.

Many people and organizations have shown their support for Wooldridge Park, including the City of Austin, Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, Austin Parks Foundation, Downtown Austin Alliance, Austin History Center, Preservation Austin, Texas Gas Service and AT&T. If you would like to support the work at Wooldridge Square Park through the Austin Parks Foundation, please click here  and check your donation to go Wooldridge Square Park.  Thank you!

The bandstand on a sunny morning in June, 2013

The bandstand on a sunny morning in June, 2013