The Austin Chronicle

Holiday in Town

Bed, Breakfast, and a Whole Lot More

By Erica C. Barnett, May 26, 2000, Features

The Woodburn House

4401 Ave. D, 78751
458-4335, 888/690-9763

Plenty of old homes can claim to be a part of history, but few can say they were the site of a real-life battleground. This plantation-style turn-of-the-century home on Avenue D was an early-Eighties focal point in the heated (and still ongoing) fight between Hyde Park neighborhood residents and Hyde Park Baptist Church. The historic house, which was purchased by the 11,000-member church in 1976, was located directly in the path of the church's planned expansion; the church had a demolition permit on the home and would have torn it down, its owners say, had its neighbors not fought loud and long against its destruction. Instead, the dilapidated old home was moved from its original location on the corner of 40th Street & Avenue F to its current location a few blocks away. Shortly after it was moved, the house was renovated and restored to its original glory.

The Woodburn House was purchased by its current owners, Herb and Sandra Dickson, in 1990, and converted into a five-bedroom bed & breakfast that serves visiting professors, parents, and tourists from around the U.S. and abroad. Furnished with period American antiques and Oriental carpets, the home has tall ceilings, hardwood floors, and a breezy wraparound porch, which stretches the length of the second story. The imposing wood stairway leads up past a brightly colored stained-glass window which sheds gold and orange light across the walls.

On our visit, breakfast, served in the airy first-floor dining room, was a gourmet spinach-and-potato frittata, served with fresh-squeezed juice, orange biscuits, and fresh Texas Ruby grapefruit. Best of all, however, was the graciousness of full-time innkeeper Herb Dickson, whose lively morning conversation was easily the high point of our visit.

The largest rooms at the Woodburn can accommodate three people; the third-floor Treehouse Suite includes a king-size bed and a whirlpool tub and shower for two.


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