HISTORIC HOMEOWNER SPOTLIGHT: PART IV
Every week leading up to our 2017 Historic Homes Tour we’ll feature a Q&A with one of our wonderful featured homeowners about why they love their neighborhood, and how they’ve kept their historic home authentic. Enjoy! And purchase your event tickets HERE.
Millbrook, also known at the Roy-Hardin House, has fascinated generations of Austinites. Barely visible from the street, the five-building gristmill-turned-homestead overlooks a secluded limestone bluff and ravine. Its picturesque blend of industrial architecture with high-style architectural remnants is unlike anything else in the city.
Photo by Melanie Martinez.
MILLBROOK: NANCY WHITWORTH, OWNER
When did you move into your home?
What do you love most about your home? About your neighborhood?
I like the peacefulness of the property; the eclecticism of the neighborhood and its proximity to downtown.
Any notable historic features?
Architectural salvage from the Driskill Hotel, an East Austin church, the city electric company, an Abner Cook house, others. A weathervane from Millbrook, NY gave the property its name and rests on top of the carriage house.
Any interesting stories about families that previously lived there?
Only that the house had a colorful past. It has 4 outbuildings which were homes to friends, relatives and tenants of Earnest Hardin. He also raised collie dogs and doves on the property, leaving a dove house made of an oil drum, 3 wagon wheels and a beautiful steeple. He planted a field of narcissus and many amaryllis bulbs, all of which are still blooming.
Have you renovated or added onto your home in recent years?
We have renovated but not made any additions to the property. Our largest effort was put into landscaping in such a way as to make the 5 buildings relate in some way to each other. We also extended a dry stacked rock wall on the east end of the property to contain 2 Mediterranean donkeys.
People talk a lot about preserving Austin’s character, but so often our historic neighborhoods are demolished piece by piece without comment. Why did you choose to invest in your historic home instead of demolishing it for a larger house, or moving into a new neighborhood elsewhere?
You cannot purchase for any price the beauty and character of an older building. My husband Will Spong and I appreciated that and fell under Millbrook’s spell when we saw her for the first time.
Buy your tickets today to experience the serenity, and the utter beauty, of this incredible Austin landmark! (Besides, these little guys are waiting to say 'hello!').