PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity October 2023 Houston

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LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN HISTORIC PRESERVATION AWARD HOUSTON PAPERCITY DESIGN AWARDS P aperCity presented its 2023 Lifetime A c h i e v e m e n t i n Historic Preservation Aw a r d t o S a l l e Werner-Vaughn, an artist who has dedicated half her life to a singular cause. This is her story. On January 26, 2022, Werner-Vaughn's four decades of preservation of an enclave of historic cottages on Blossom Street near the Rice Military neighborhood was designated by the City of Houston as the Brunner-Harmonium Historic District. This unique historic district, which Werner-Vaughn saved, is comprised of three facing blocks totaling six structures in the Folk Victorian, Queen Anne, and early-20th-century vernacular styles. These charming cottages are situated in yards and gardens that double as wildlife habitats, with expansive mature trees and luxuriant foliage. Guided by an artist's vision, these restored cottages have been turned, over a 35-year period, into something beyond the sum of their modest frame exteriors. More than preserved buildings, the once humble cottages have been transformed into captivating, immersive environments for a collection of antiques, art, and antiquities. Their interiors include Werner-Vaughn's own museum-collected paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculpture, and photography. Wood-framed, of simple design, the houses also tell a tale of another time: They represent a small part of what remains of an 1888-incorporated town called Brunner, located just north of Memorial Drive and east of North Shepherd Drive, on Blossom Street. This hamlet had its own post office, German school, public school, and Baptist college. In 1913, the 500 or so citizens of Brunner voted to be annexed into the City of Houston. Since these surviving blocks feature such an exquisite harmony of nature with history, Salle added the word Harmonium to the name of the Brunner district. Now this area is mostly townhomes, commercial businesses, and apartments, so it is especially important that these blocks have been preserved — they are among the last remaining sentinels from this lost chapter of Houston's history. Presenting the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award in Historic Preservation to Salle Werner-Vaughn was Minnette Boesel, immediate past chair of the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission, former director of the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs, current board president of Heritage Society Houston, and co-founder of the Astrodome Conservancy. Salle Werner-Vaughn LISA PETROLE

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