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Beloved Steve Sadowsky, long-time city of Austin Historic lead preservation officer passes away

 Per Facebook post announcement of  Robert Sadowsky, 1.12.2022

"My older brother Steve passed away this morning. He was a kind, intelligent, hard working man that would do anything for his family and friends. I will miss his sense of humor and laughter. Forever in my heart, brother . . ."

"Steve Sadowsky died January 12, 2022. He loved serving as the City of Austin's Historic Preservation Officer, his career beginning in July 2000. Steve's greatest pleasures, however, were his family and his friends, enjoying all that Austin has to offer in live music, natural beauty, and good camaraderie. He always wanted to do good for the community, do right by his friends, and was truly grateful for the opportunity to serve the city he loved. You could find him regularly at the Continental Club, Antone's, the Skylark Lounge, the Electric Lounge, and the Liberty Lunch, and many other venues where Austin's live music thrived. Steve never turned down an invitation to spend time with the people he enjoyed, and maintained long lasting friendships with so many great people in the places he lived, including Wichita, Kansas and Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Do not be sad in his passing. He lived a wonderful, rich life, full of joy and love for the people with whom he surrounded himself, and for whom he would do anything. No funeral services are planned, as he believed strongly that we never say goodbye, we say "au revoir," - until we see each other again, if not in person, then in our hearts."

On a personal note, I George Vance McGee fondly remember Steve Sadowsky for his honesty, accessibility, humor and real-ness as the Head of the City of Austin, Texas Historic Preservation office. Steve was always willing to shoot you straight in regards to his sentiments and the city of Austin's positions. Steve could not control and was often in difference of opinion to the various neighborhood committees. It was a joy to watch Steve work and present @ Downtown ATX City Hall in front of the Historic Council.  Steve would often explain the different property histories and real estate lore of Central Austin, Texas, in addition to the people behind the history. God Bless Steve! I recently in late 2021 called him on his cell 2x to ask about an AD Stenger Home in Barton Hills and Steve had mentioned his "health wasn't so good" the past couple of phone conversations. 

Steve Sadowsky also liked to have fun out-n-about in Austin, Texas with a disarming non work, genuine human smile.  Steve could be spotted yearly at Eeyore's Birthday @ Pease Park. Steve was also a known attending fan of Skylark Lounge in East Austin.

As of today, 1.12.2022 as a local Austinite, I will make it my mission to ensure the City of Austin finds and discovers a manner to properly honor this charming, wisdom carrying, welcoming, tall-man with a velvety voice, that would've been perfect for radio. I personally think a Central Austin street, should permanently be named, "Sadowsky Way" or "Steve Sadowsky Blvd," or "Sadowsky Cove", "Sadowsky Place." Something.....Let's make it happen!

---Sincerely, Austin local, and TX Real Estate Broker and fan of Steve's earnestness and love of history, George Vance McGee 

Below are some recent photos in early 2020, of Steve happily attending, the book release of my 3rd and most recent Modern History Book, " The Nation We Live In; a collection of essays and short stories." @ BookPeople Store, West 6th and Lamar Blvd.

Austin Silent
Broker Associate

There's more, Here's a YOU-TUBE on Steve's 2021 Preservation Merit Lifetime Achievement Award. click below

"Good  guy Steve. He turned his job into a dignified position. He documented the stories and contributions of past Austinites with the same care, appreciation, and respect whatever their lot in life. All while under fire from all sides and during a manic re-development Boom in Austin, Texas.

I liked him a lot and especially enjoyed catching him at the Austin History Center downtown, where I could corner him for a moment back by the directories. He had some patience for that which was lost on me. I personally would have probably hated people after only a few years, at his high economic profile job and position.

I think even though he had a requisite skepticism about me being a builder sitting  on HLC hearing demolition cases, I registered a warmth about him regardless. I like the City of Austin Historic preservation board meetings that would often run beyond 12 midnight. I enjoyed Steve's presentations and the following committee, general public discussions. I got a lot out of it. I do love Austin's History.

I didn't know Steve outside of the work at the city of Austin, but I do recall hearing he was a fixture a Eeyore's Birthday in Pease Park, and about various sightings at music in the ATX. This only added to his mystique for me. " D.W.

"Loved Steve, an Austin Texas Treasure, he will be sorely missed."
Dave Van Hueven

"He was a great man, Rest easy my friend,"
 Jeff Mills

"Omg, that is so sad! We know him so well

yes it is sad news. I wrote all of the City of Austin Council Members today, asking for a COA street or memorial, or statue or park to be named after the honorable, hard working and smiling Steve Sadowsky.

he did so much for Austin" Michelle Lohr

Austin Monitor Article, " A Win for Austin Preservations, at historic San Jacinto Warehouse. Downtown ATX. Click here for the article

"I'd converse and catch up with Steve Sadowsky often in or outside of Oil Can Harry's Bar Downtown in the 4th street LGBT district. Some people don't enjoy talking about their work-life day jobs, during off-work, fun, cocktail times. But Steve didn't mind at all. I could always ask Steve for the straight business scoop, if I saw him out and about. I miss that treasured man." Bill Mills, Austin Fine Properties Realtor

Good afternoon Mr. McGee,


Thank you for the email acknowledging Steve Sadowsky as a wonderful man, City of Austin employee, and genuine champion who protected Austin’s wonderful historic homes, properties, and structures.  Austin was extremely fortunate to have his dedication over his vast career spanning more than two decades.  Prior to joining CM Pool’s office, I previously worked in CM Tovo’s office.  Like you, CM Tovo and our office had great appreciation and admiration for Steve.  CM Tovo and our office worked closely with Preservation Austin and Steve’s peers within the City to present him with the attached Distinguished Service Award.  The Distinguished Service Award was presented at the December, 20, 2021, special called meeting.  Steve was able to join the meeting remotely to receive this award and had an opportunity to say a few words.  If you would like to view (at the 1 minute, 48 seconds mark):  Dec 20, 2021 Special City Council - Austin, TX (


Prior to CM Tovo leaving office, Steve’s colleagues reached out and requested the Austin History Center be renamed in honor of Betty Baker and Steve Sadowsky, two long-serving employees within the Preservation Office.  Director Weeks agreed it would be a wonderful place to honor their work and legacies.  On November, 3, 2022, CM Tovo brought forward a resolution to rename the Austin History Center’s Reading Room to "The Betty Baker and Steve Sadowsky Reading Room," and installing a commemorative plaque in their honor, Resolution 20221103-119


Upon the passing of resolution 20221103-119, CM Tovo worked with the Austin History Center to schedule a dedication ceremony for the commemorative plaque.  The dedication ceremony occurred on January 29, 2023.  Former CM Tovo attended to assist in the presentation and dedication of the renaming of the Reading Room.  CM Pool also attended this event to honor Betty Baker and Steve Sadowsky. The commemorative plaque was installed in April 2023. 


I hope you are able to visit the Austin History Center to see the plaque honoring Steve.


A couple articles regarding the renaming:

Council to honor historic preservationists Sadowsky, Baker - Austin MonitorAustin Monitor

AHC Honors Baker, Sadowsky (

document.cfm (




Nici Huff

Scheduling, Constituent Services, and Policy Advisor

City of Austin | Office of Leslie Pool – District 7



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