“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Downtown Austin in Travis County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Norwood Tower

Norwood Tower Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith Peterson, September 30, 2007
1. Norwood Tower Marker

This building was once the tallest structure in Austin’s downtown area other than the State Capitol. Dwarfed by other structures by the late 20th century, the Norwood Tower remains unique in its design and elaborate detailing.

In 1925, Ollie O. Norwood (1887-1961) bought this site and hired the firm of Giesecke and Harris to design an office building. Bertram E. Giesecke (1892-1950) was the son of F.E. Giesecke, an architect, engineer, and educator known for his experiments with reinforcing concrete. Bertram met August Watkins “Watt” Harris (1893-1968) in architecture school, and the men designed many buildings throughout Texas. The Gothic Revival tower, built of pre-cast concrete, features elaborate detailing, including a rose window, tracery, finials, gargoyles and a band of quatrefoils.

Norwood Tower opened in 1929, early tenants included Renfro Drugstore and numerous medical professionals, as well as long-standing area companies, such as Gracy Title Co., Elgin-Butler Brick and Brown & Root. Following two terms as Texas Governor, Dan Moody operated his law firm in the building. The top two floors of
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the 16-story edifice provided space for residential living. The private office of longtime maintenance engineer Clarence O. Williams provided downtown restroom access to many African Americans during Austin’s years of segregation.

Throughout the building’s history, various owners have maintained the landmark, renovated in the 1980s. The LBJ Holding Company purchased the property in 1997, and the architectural gem continues as an important link to Austin’s early business history.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2006
Erected 2006 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13620.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1925.
Location. 30° 16.159′ N, 97° 44.595′ W. Marker is in Austin, Texas, in Travis County. It is in Downtown Austin. Marker is on West 7th Street west of Colorado Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 114 W 7th Street, Austin TX 78701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Angelina Eberly Statue (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Openheimer-Montgomery Building (about 300 feet away); Paramount Theatre (about 400 feet away); O. Henry Hall
Norwood Tower and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith Peterson, September 30, 2007
2. Norwood Tower and Marker
(about 400 feet away); Offices Of The War Department And The Adjutant General (about 400 feet away); Texas and the Civil War State Military Board (about 400 feet away); First Capitol in Austin (about 400 feet away); Stephen F. Austin Hotel (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Austin.
Also see . . .  Norwood Tower. (Submitted on December 19, 2009, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 1, 2023. It was originally submitted on December 19, 2009, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas. This page has been viewed 1,142 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 19, 2009, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 29, 2023