History

From the Heritage Society of Austin 2008 Merit Awards, a description of the Eponymous Garden house (McGown-Griffin House):

Austin has a number of farmhouses remaining amidst later development. The grandest of those is Woodlawn (Pease-Shivers House) in West Austin. The Wright-Giles House in Wilshire Wood and the Moore-Hancock House in Rosedale are other fine examples.

One of the best examples in East Austin is the McGown-Griffin House, a remarkable Eastlake Style-influenced house on Garden Street. Surrounded by later bungalows, the building has a real presence in the neighborhood. According to tradition, it was built as the centerpiece of a 400 acre farm. The early occupants of the house included a variety of worthy citizens - a trustee of the German School, a prominent physician and the builder of the Elisabet Nay studio. It's later history is colorful, too. Owner Doug Dyer was instrumental in the creation of Esther's Follies and his tenants Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard penned Greater Tuna.

When the current owners, actors Lorne Loganbill and Sterling Price-McKinney, acquired the property, the Victorian main block was very much intact, but the rear kitchen had burned decades earlier and was replaced by poorly built shed additions. Mechanical systems were decidedly substandard and the property was generally dilapidated.

With plans from architect (and former HSA president) Emily Little, all later additions were removed and a new kitchen and dining room, rear verandah and deck were constructed. Bathrooms and systems elsewhere were updated. As recommended by the Secretary of Interior standards, the addition was sympathetic to the original house in materials and many architectural elements, but it reads as a product of the 21st century, with a sympathetic design integrity of it's own."

-Peter Maxson

Schematic Drawing of 1202 Garden St. - 1880's Victorian Farmhouse - by Emily Little Architects

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1202 Garden St - 1880's Victorian - Pre-Renovation

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