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Michael Barnes

Getting real answers at the Real Places meet-up

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“Have you met Julian Read?”

“You should meet Julian Read.”

“Of course, you’ve talked with Julian Read. Right?”

The guests at a reception for Real Places Heritage Travel Conference, held at the classy tavern, the Townsend, all had the right idea

Read is the grand man of the preservation movement. And yes, he and I have worked together. Last year, he helped out enormously on “How to modify a classic midcentury modern home.” This year, he has provided vital support on research about famous Austin architects and about the historic Driskill Hotel.

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Kathy Pinsky, Joan Hester, Dawn Carlton at Real Places Reception, the Townsend. They weren’t attending the conference, but joined the fun.

The conference, put together in part by the Texas Historical Commission, focused on tourism and, especially, the state’s magnificent courthouses, in meetings at the AT&T Center.

During the reception, I talked with Howie Richey, who not only gives tours of Austin and the State Capitol, he serves on the Gonzales County Historical Commission, so we talked about ancient ranches and the town’s Spanish-style square there.

Alicia Downard, Angela Reed, Rowena Dasch and Lareatha Clay started to fill in the blanks about the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, the small nonprofit that does what the governmental body, with its always limited resources, can’t do.

Also chatted with various guests about the efficacy of clubs such as the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames of America operating historical sites. All were pioneers in the field of preservation and deserve rich praise for their work. Nowadays, however, some of these genealogical clubs do a better job than others.

UPDATE: In a previous version of this post, Julian Read’s name was misspelled.