Established in the 1870’s, Clarksville is one of Austin’s oldest neighborhoods. In recognition of its unique, rich history and traditional architecture, Clarksville was added to the National Register of Historic Places nearly 100 years later. The Register is the federal government’s list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that it believes are worthy of preservation.
Despite Clarksville’s place on the National Register and the ongoing efforts of area residents to preserve the neighborhood, its central Austin location and woodsy ambiance have made Clarksville an appealing place for development. And as a result, gentrification has displaced most of Clarksville’s black families; many of the neighborhood’s old homes have been demolished; and while others have been renovated and enlarged, still other homes are under threat.
Yet, Sweet Home continues to hold church services every Sunday; there is still a strong sense of place and community in Clarksville; and the CCDC’s efforts to protect Clarksville’s history and architecture and to keep the neighborhood ethnically and economically diverse continue. The organization also continues educating Clarksville residents about their neighborhood’s very special history and why its older homes should be preserved.