The preservation of the Chateau Bellevue has remained a constant since it was first acquired by the Austin Woman's Club. Our featured projects reflect the hard work that is put into preserving this historical treasure.
Austin Woman’s Club has been able to fulfill its mission of preservation and maintenance of the historic North-Evans Chateau Bellevue (built in 1874 and remodeled in 1890s) with aid from grants. The AWC (a non-profit 501 (c) 3) is the fortunate recipient of several important grants from Visit Austin, with the guidance of the Austin Historic Landmark Commission. AWC has been able to restore the roof, windows, and other crucial elements of the building. The source of such funds originated from the hotel occupancy tax, some of which has been designated by the Texas Legislature as to be used ONLY for historic preservation. Facilities which receive these grants contribute to historic tourism in the area. Almost 3000 people have attended weddings, and more than 9,000 have been at recurring group events. About 2500 individuals have been present at special events in 2017. In the past months Austin Woman’s Club has repaired, is repairing or will repair integral portions of the building which are badly in need of preservation. The generous contribution of this program has allowed the restoration of a leaking roof, the preservation of over 51 original windows and the repair of potential hazards to the public.
A special thanks to the Austin Historic Landmark Commission and Visit Austin for recognizing the value of preserving history in our beautiful city. Additionally, the Thankful Hubbard Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution have generously supported fireplace restorations throughout the building. However, much remains to be done. Climate Control is a primary future focus but is an expensive proposition as the original thick limestone walls cannot receive contemporary ductwork and machinery. Ongoing repairs to preventive costly water intrusion and expensive mortar repairs are top priorities to maintain the integrity of the facility. Doors must be stabilized and grounds are in constant need of care and maintenance. Grants have allowed the Austin Woman’s Club to carry forth its mission. Although it is an expensive mission, it is a valuable one not only for today’s citizens, but for the citizens of tomorrow.
The Austin Woman’s Club has contracted Alamo Elevator Company to modernize our elevator. The exciting work has now begun. Much of the work is done during business hours which enables us to stay open with a normal schedule.
While working on the updating of the elevator, members and guests will be transported from the parking lot to the mansion by way of the driveway. It was just repaved for our staff to drop off guests and giving a safe entry and exit to those using wheelchairs or walkers.
In June 2018, Red River Restorations and Fine Woodworking will begin repairing the windows in Chateau Bellevue, home of the Austin Woman’s Club. Our original and oldest windows were installed in 1874, while our newest windows date from 1960. Thanks to a grant from Visit Austin, Red River Restorations will start with the repair of the 11 most damaged windows. Other less fragile windows will be repaired during the following months. The windows will be restored to their original condition.
Red River Restoration is a small, local company concerned with quality of workmanship. Historical architect, John Volz, set the scope of work for the window repair and will oversee the restoration. Window jamb and sill repairs will be done onsite. Compromised wood will be either repaired or replaced. In Red River’s shop, window sashes and stops will be placed in a steam oven to remove all paint and glazing; then sanded, primed, painted and glazed. Sashes will be repaired and then installed with some new parting bead and original inner stop where possible.
While work on the windows progresses, events at Chateau Bellevue will continue. As windows are removed and taken to the shop for restoration, replacement windows will be temporarily installed. Photos of our restoration project are posted on our website.
Severe wood rot from water damage.
Historical Architect, John Volz discusses how to remove the Gallery windows with Red River Restorations staff members. Conventional construction was not use to build and install the windows.
Windows removed form the bedrooms await transport to Red River Restoration. Plywood will be cut to cover the space where the windows have been removed.
Red River staff remove windows from the top floor bedrooms and replace them with plywood.
Red River staff remove damaged windows from the Gallery.
Plywood covers the windows on the top floor but it is not noticeable when painted.
Plywood covering the Galley windows is replaced by plexiglass until the restored windows can be installed
Plywood covers the windows removed from the Library. Fortunately our drapes cover the plywood.
The lawn will be replaced with paver bricks in order to facilitate the use of the space. This will improve accessibility during events as well as photography.
Changes in the lawn have started to take place and the images will be regularly updated to show advancements.
Laying of the Pavers for our new patio:
Photos 1-4 Before construction began
Photos 4-8 - No, we aren’t digging a swimming pool!
Photos 9-11 - The gravel layer is leveled and compacted, then the layer to keep out the grass. Final bricks waiting to be placed.
Photo 12 - Meeting with inspectors.
Photos 13-14 - Our beautiful new patio is ready for your party!
The preservation of Chateau Bellevue's fireplaces included the restoration of specific pieces as well as the replacement of the tile in every single one of them while conserving the uniqueness of each fireplace. Thankful Hubbard Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution have generously supported fireplace restorations throughout the building. The Odes to Books fireplace in the entry will be restored to its original look. It's currently painted with a glaze finish.