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AHC Honors Baker, Sadowsky

In honor of their years of work to preserve Austin’s cultural and architectural heritage, the main area for conducting research at the Austin History Center has a new name: the Steve Sadowsky and Betty Baker Reading Room.

A ceremony and plaque unveiling took place Jan. 29, 2023 at the AHC, following passage of an Austin City Council resolution clearing the way for the honor.

Photo of Betty Baker
Betty Baker

Speakers at the honorary naming ceremony remembered Baker, who passed away in early 2017, as the driving force behind creation of the city’s Historic Preservation Office in the 1970s, an office she led for 21 years, and the first volunteer chair of the Zoning and Platting Commission. Her efforts are widely credited for preservation of more than 400 landmark structures in Austin, including the city’s Moonlight Towers and the home of Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and Negro League all-star Willie Wells.

In 2000, Sadowsky followed in Baker’s footsteps, joining the city’s Historic Preservation Office, then spending the majority of his 21-year city career as Austin's historic preservation officer.

Photo of Steve Sadowsky
Steve Sadowsky (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Brummett)

Speakers at the naming ceremony remembered Sadowsky for being a fixture in the AHC Reading Room, where he spent many hours researching applications for historic landmark designation or finding evidence to support or derail demolition permit requests. Prior to his passing in January 2022, Preservation Austin honored Sadowsky with its Lifetime Achievement Award and the Austin City Council presented him with a Distinguished Service Award.

The honorary plaque will be mounted at the front of the Reading Room this spring.

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