Vote to save historic home in West Campus postponed

Jameson Pitts

Deep in West Campus, uncertainty continues to surround a simple 1920s bungalow as property owners and officials preapre to decide its fate.

During a meeting last Thursday, The Austin City Council postponed the decision to save the house of champion UT track coach Clyde Littlefield from demolition.

The house — not to be confused with the Littlefield Home on UT’s campus — is situated on Shoal Cliff Court behind the Regents West apartment community on 26th Street.

The Austin Historic Landmark Commission reviewed the owner’s demolition permit and recommended the house instead be preserved under landmark status — a dispute that requires a supermajority vote in city council to resolve.

Steve Sadowsky, Austin historic preservation officer, said he has requested a postponement because not all council members were present, making it even more difficult to reach the required number of votes.

“The current owner of the Littlefield house has filed a valid petition against the zoning change, so they’re saying, ‘We don’t want this designated as a historic landmark,’” Sadowsky said. “If [the City Council] does not have a supermajority, there would be nothing stopping the demolition.”

Didi Sanchez, a radio-television-film junior, lives in student housing across the street from the Littlefield house. He said important landmarks should be preserved, but he thinks Littlefield’s house is out of place.

“To have these kinds of landmarks in West Campus just seems a little awkward,” Sanchez said. “They probably shouldn’t demolish it, but they should try to clean it up a little bit.”

The landmark commission approved a plan to relocate the Dabney-Horne House, which is already designated a historic landmark in West Campus, to a site adjacent to the Littlefield house at a meeting Sept. 28.

“I recommended that the commission approve this application to move the house because I think that this would preserve the Dabney-Horne House in a more residential context, which it had for many years when West Campus was still very much residential,” Sadowsky said.

David Kanne, representing the owners of the Dabney-Horne House, said he is in talks with the owners of the Littlefield House, but the outcome is uncertain.

“There are a lot of moving pieces,” Kanne said. “To say anything would be hard, because we don’t know enough about the process with the city.”

Kanne and Sadowsky are working together, but the plan rests on many involved parties and officials.

The City Council will meet Thursday at 10 a.m. and will discuss the Littlefield house.