Beverly Sheffield, PICB 08287
I don't believe we can get too much open space. Beverly Sheffield
Beverly Sheffield's contributions to our community helped create and preserve many of Austin's green and open spaces that attract native Austinites and newcomers alike. His 40-plus year career in Austin's Parks and Recreation Department began in 1934 as a playground/activity leader and lifeguard and culminated in a 30-year stint as Director. As both employee and department director, his hand can be found in many of the park system's beloved features: the Zilker Garden Center, Austin Natural Science Center, the hike and bike trails, and the Zilker Christmas Tree. However, one of his personal favorites was the Hillside Theatre at Zilker Park, where he began a sing-song program in 1937. Today, the venue continues to be the popular home of summer musicals; it is fitting that we now know it as the Beverly S. Sheffield Hillside Theatre.
An enthusiastic and genial man, Sheffield was also active in civic affairs and was named Austin's 1978 "Most Worthy Citizen," among many other awards. But it was after he had "retired" the second time--first from the City and then as the first Director of the Austin Community Foundation--that he really revved up to his final role as beloved cheerleader to "Save Barton Creek." Sheffield believed in the magic of the springs and worked tirelessly to make sure it was protected: "It belongs to the people and it should not be destroyed under any circumstance." He spoke extensively on behalf of the springs and conducted oral history interviews with many longtime swimmers, capturing their unique experiences at the pool. Many of these are included in the 1993 book Barton Springs Eternal.
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