Palm House moved to original site, changes for downtown Round Rock begin

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Almost 50 years after it was moved to downtown Round Rock, the historic Palm House was moved back to its original site as the city plans for a new project with the former public library.

The city is planning a $19.5 million project that will add a paseo, or walkway, from Liberty avenue to Main street, and renovate the Griffith building. The building will feature a two-story arts and culture gallery and the Chamber of Commerce will move into the second-floor of the building.

PHOTOS: Historic Round Rock home moved to new location

A rendering of what the paseo will look like in downtown Round Rock (Photo Courtesy: City of Round Rock).
A rendering of what the paseo will look like in downtown Round Rock (Photo Courtesy: City of Round Rock).

The Chamber of Commerce was operating out of the Palm House, but the house needed to be removed to make room for the paseo. The house was returned to its original place at Old Settlers Park, right across the street from Dell Diamond.

The cost of moving the house is coming out of the hotel and occupancy tax fund, while the cost of the project will come from sales tax revenue and cash the city has on hand from its general self finance construction fund, according to a city spokesperson.

It’s not the first time the city has moved a historic building. In 2018, the city moved the Old Stagecoach Inn because it was in the way of the RM 620 expansion project.

“We’re always looking to see if something needs to be moved to make room for strategic planning,” Sara Bustilloz, a spokesperson with the city of Round Rock, said.

What’s the significance of the Palm House?

The Palm family was one of the first Swedish immigrants to move into Central Texas. Anna Palm and her six children settled a few miles northeast of the current downtown in the mid-1850s. In 1873, one of Anna’s sons, Andrew, built the Palm House where he raised his eight children.

Anna Palm in the latter years of her life (Photo Courtesy: Elroy Haverlah).
Anna Palm in the latter years of her life (Photo Courtesy: Elroy Haverlah).

The Palm family played a key role in developing the young city.

“They were instrumental in getting other Swedish immigrants to move to this area of central Texas,” Elroy Haverlah, the former pastor of the Palm Valley Lutheran Church, explained. Haverlah is the author of Anna’s Journey, a story about the Palm family and other Swedish immigrants.

Their impact can still be seen today. Many people will drive along U.S. 79 every day. That road is also known as Palm Valley road. Also, the vast amounts of land the Palm family owned they eventually donated to the the Palm Valley Lutheran Church. The church sold the land to the city and the Old Settlers Association, which in turn created Old Settlers Park.

“They were good stewards of their land, so today we got hundreds and thousands of people who come out here and enjoy the park,” Haverlah said.

Haverlah believes the Palm House was moved to downtown Round Rock in 1976 so it could be more visible to residents. The house is being placed in almost the exact same spot as it originally was. Haverlah says it will serve as a good reminder to the people who helped grow the town.

“So when I see that house I’m reminded of those people. Not just Anna and her family, but all the pioneers who had to endure a lot of hardships,” Haverlah explained.

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