You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Muny named one of nation’s ‘most endangered historic places’

The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Lions Municipal Golf Course on Wednesday to its list of America’s most endangered historic places, calling the course a “civil rights landmark” with an uncertain future.

The National Trust, a private, nonprofit organization based in Washington, also included El Paso’s Chihuahuita and El Segundo Barrio Neighborhoods on its annual list of 11 sites. The core of that city’s cultural identity is threatened with demolition of homes and small businesses, the group said.

Lions Municipal, also known as Muny, is considered one of the earliest municipal golf courses in the former Confederate states to be desegregated, if not the first. At the recommendation of the Texas Historical Commission, the National Park Service added Muny to the National Register of Historic Places in July. Situated along Lake Austin Boulevard in West Austin, Muny occupies land owned by the University of Texas and leased to the city of Austin.

A local group known as Save Muny, which has been active in efforts to preserve the course, says its research shows that two black youths walked onto the property in 1950 and began playing in brazen disregard of Jim Crow laws. City officials decided to let them play anyway. Thus, the course became integrated quietly and peacefully, well before violent confrontations that characterized desegregation of many public accommodations elsewhere in the South.

INTERACTIVE: Muny’s place in the Civil Rights Movement

“As the complex struggle for racial justice continues to take center stage across America, places like Austin’s Lions Municipal Golf Course have much to teach us about peaceful efforts towards increased human decency and respect,” Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a written statement. “But Muny cannot continue to highlight an important side of the American story unless we take action to preserve it as a resource for its community.”

The UT System Board of Regents has long contemplated leasing the 141-acre Muny for commercial and residential development, with lease payments benefiting the Austin campus. The regents voted in 2011 against renewing the city’s lease for Muny when it expires in 2019.

“Muny’s future hinges on a longer-term negotiated resolution between the city and the university,” Meeks said.

The National Trust has identified more than 250 historic sites over the years, and “only a handful” have been lost, according to its website. The group’s inclusion of Muny increases pressure on UT and its governing board to back off from plans to redevelop the property.

“The university and community must continue to discuss how to honor the civil rights history of the site while fulfilling our fiduciary obligations to the university and the state of Texas,” UT President Gregory L. Fenves said in a statement.

The land now occupied by Muny was donated to UT in 1910 by George Brackenridge, a banker and regent who sided with the Union during the Civil War. His wish that it would become the main campus was not realized, and UT has used the tract for a field laboratory and student housing while leasing out some portions for development.

“It is difficult to dismiss the educational value that prominent academics, national organizations and political leaders all see in Muny,” said Ken Tiemann, a leader of Save Muny. “I remain hopeful that President Fenves will soon agree that leveraging the educational and cultural value of Muny is following the intent of Col. Brackenridge and is clearly in the best interest of the UT brand.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

UT police investigating report of drive-by shooting

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS UT police: Drive-by shooting reported University of Texas and Austin police are on the hunt for a gunman after reports of a drive-by shooting near campus Thursday morning. The scene unfolded at an off-campus construction site near the intersection of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto streets just after 10 a.m., when a man in a white sedan...
Cancer patient gets wish to meet jewelry maker Kendra Scott
Cancer patient gets wish to meet jewelry maker Kendra Scott

It was a request Kendra Scott says she couldn’t – and wouldn’t – refuse. An 18-year-old Memphis, Tenn., girl with a form of brain cancer with no known treatment or cure was eager to meet her, so the Austin-based jewelry designer whose brand has become known worldwide put her team to work on setting up a visit. “Once I...
Senate approves bill to alleviate charter school construction costs
Senate approves bill to alleviate charter school construction costs

The Senate approved a bill that would dole out $100 million to traditional school districts and charter schools to build and maintain their facilities over the next two years. Senate Bill 457 filed by Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels was originally proposed to give facilities funding to charter schools only. Currently, charter schools, which are...
Interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley to address ‘sanctuary cities’ bill
Interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley to address ‘sanctuary cities’ bill

Austin police interim Chief Brian Manley will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday to discuss Senate Bill 4, the so-called sanctuary cities legislation heading for approval in the Texas Legislature. Manley has spoken out against the bill, saying it would damage bonds between police and the minority communities they serve. Other police chiefs...
Israeli missile launch: What is the Patriot Missile Defense System?
Israeli missile launch: What is the Patriot Missile Defense System?

The Israeli military deployed its missile defense system Thursday to intercept a drone fired from Syria, officials said. According to The Associated Press, the incident came after Syria accused Israel of attacking a military installation near Damascus International Airport early Thursday. While Israel has several defense systems, military officials...
More Stories