AFTER SAVING ORIGINAL FOURTH WARD STRUCTURE FROM DEMOLITION, HOUSTON FREEDMEN’S TOWN CONSERVANCY BEGINS HISTORIC RESTORATION
Thanks to a successful, months-long crowdfunding campaign through GoFundMe and other donations, The Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy (HFTC) raised the necessary funds to purchase 1609 Saulnier in December 2022, thus saving the original historic structure from demolition. The property is located in Freedmen’s Town, an important cultural touchstone in Black and Texas history. The historic restoration of the structure is now underway with an estimated completion of fall 2023. Donations and volunteers are needed to ensure the completion of the restoration. All donations are welcome and can be made at www.alliesoffreedmenstown.com. To volunteer, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After acquiring 1609 Saulnier, HFTC quickly shifted its focus to the historic restoration of this original contributing structure in the City-designated heritage district. Permits have already been secured and the process has begun of obtaining a landmark designation for the home, which is one of less than 50 contributing structures remaining in Freedmen’s Town, a 40-block area that once contained over 530 historic structures. Since 1609 Saulnier will become affordable housing for a new homeowner upon completion of the renovation, HFTC has been working with Houston Community Land Trust to facilitate that process.
With the help of Tellepsen Builders and volunteers, non-historical material was removed from 1609 Saulnier in January and work has begun on raising the home. Improvements to drainage and ventilation under the home are expected to be completed by the end of February, and the renovation process will begin in earnest in March. Planned work days will occur on most Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in the coming months. To volunteer or take a personal tour of this historic structure, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be made at www.alliesoffreedmenstown.com.
About Houston Freedmen’s Town: Located in Houston’s Fourth Ward, Freedmen’s Town is a historically Black community founded by the formerly enslaved people after the June 19, 1865, Juneteenth, announcement of Emancipation at the end of the Civil War in Texas. Despite its cultural and architectural significance, it has faced ongoing disintegration of historic character and assets. The Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which protects and preserves Freedmen’s Town for the benefit of future generations. The Conservancy supports community engagement, re-education, and heritage tourism, and is the conservator of Freedmen’s Town as the City of Houston’s first Heritage District. For more information: instagram.com/houstonfreedmenstown