Farewell Casa Magni

I just finished watching a couple of video events tonight and it was just plain luck that they were broadcast one right after the other. One was the first presidential candidate debate at Hofstra University in New York. It definitely had the “Let’s get ready to rumble” hype ahead of it. You can decide if Clinton or Trump won. I thought it was pretty lively. You could choose a stronger word than “lively” I guess. Stormy? It went from 8-9:30 PM and moderator Lester Holt had his hands full.

Definitely not like the other video, which was the live broadcast of the Austin Historic Landmark Commission meeting about whether or not to demolish Casa Magni, the home of my former undergraduate college teacher, Dr. Jenny Lind Porter. It came on at 10 PM, a much quieter affair and over in 20 minutes. It was the third such meeting since late June. There was calm agreement to release the permit to demolish the house. It was a welcome counterpoint to the tense and sometimes barely contained hostility of the presidential debate.

There was no opposition from the Old Enfield Homeowner’s Association (HOA). In fact, the President of the HOA herself supported demolition. There was no evidence that the celebrated Austin architect, Hugo Franz Kuehne, designed the house at 1715 Summit View Place. Several speakers spoke in support of demolition and praised the applicant’s plan to build a “mimic” of the style of Dr. Porter’s house.

Somebody mentioned that Dr. Porter has had a guardian since late 2015. Another mentioned respectfully that she had been appointed Poet Laureate of Texas in 1964 by then Governor John Connally.

There was no one there who opposed demolition. What probably helped was that the applicant and owner of the house plans to obtain a restrictive covenant ensuring that the new construction will never be turned into an apartment house.

The presidential debate made me clench my jaw. The meeting about Porter’s house was marked by a tone of respect, helped me unwind and let go. That’s what it felt like…a letting go. May it be that something of her spirit burns in me.

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Comments

  1. Jennifer Marsh says:

    This is the project designer for 1715 Summit View. We plan to honor Dr Porter and would love to engage you and those who knew her best to get it right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer, Thank you so much for your message and the plan to honor Dr. Porter. More later, I’m trying to get my work done here in the hospital this evening and get home.

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    • Hi Jennifer. I would be thrilled to have a role in honoring Dr. Porter. In fact, I’m honored that you would even consider asking me. Of course, she has many local dear friends to whom I defer because they have known her for decades.

      In comparison, I knew her for only a couple of years when I was an undergraduate at what was then Huston-Tillotson College in Austin. She made a big impression on me then, but it wasn’t until many years later that I realized what she taught me about being a teacher, which I try to remember on my busiest days in my role as a general hospital psychiatrist.

      You can contact me for now by my office e-mail found at https://www.medicine.uiowa.edu/dept_primary_apr.aspx?appointment=Psychiatry

      I’ll be on vacation for a few weeks starting the first of October and will have only intermittent access to email. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

      You know, it’s funny. Every time I think my meandering journey finding Jenny Lind Porter is ended…some new fork in the road appears.

      Thanks again.

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