Preservation Matters

in the Heart of Texas

Meet Genie Cooper: As sole owner of Preservation Matters since 2004, I am focused on providing historic preservation consulting services with the highest levels of customer satisfaction. I will do everything I can to meet your expectations. My original training was in city planning, specializing in urban design (the design of spaces between buildings) and neighborhood planning (rebuilding inner-city neighborhoods using plans written with the people who lived there). But twenty years ago I began working with property owners in the historic districts of San Antonio, Texas, as a Senior Planner with the City of San Antonio's Office of Historic Preservation (OHP). I wrote the city's initial ordinance that consolidated OHP's design review authority over historic landmarks, the 25-plus historic districts, and the city's gracious downtown River Walk. In 2002, I realized a personal dream: I returned to graduate school and earned my MA in historic preservation. Leaving the City of San Antonio, I went into private practice as a consulting historic preservation planner and it's never been dull.

Now, I enjoy working face-to-face with individual historic property owners, researching and, sometimes, nominating their property to the National Register of Historic Places or "just" solving their "old building problems." (Got rising damp?) I also like to work on a team with other consultants, perhaps assessing the condition of historic properties, or serving as the local historian to the team, pinpointing locations of landmarks (or potential ones) and assessing effect of development. One of my most satisfying recent projects, while working as a consultant to Parsons, was a writing a historic structure report for the beloved 1911 Battle Hall on the UT campus in Austin. Battle Hall was designed by Cass Gilbert when he was the UT campus architect. (He is better known as the architect for the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.) Last, I enjoy working in a consulting capacity with the smaller towns around San Antonio. For five years, I was on contract as the Historic Preservation Officer for the very historic City of Castroville, Texas, and together with the city's Historic Review Board, we wrote their first-ever set of historic design guidelines for the city's 70-plus local landmarks.