I grew up in a unique family; my father was a recognized ordained minister and my mother a beloved professor of philosophy.
As I was growing up, there were always discussions about truth, faith, life, what it means to be human – the big questions.
I spent my childhood immersed in the world of ideas. Being visual, I found it was easier for me to express ideas through art and images, rather than through the use of words.
I began to draw and paint, and my family encouraged me.
My training at Yale as an architect also intensified my love of painting.The renowned colorist Joseph Albers taught a color course, as alive for me today as it was a half century ago. Later with study at the New School in New York, I became aware of the ability of paintings to make statements – to celebrate what it means to be alive.
I have earned my living as an architect. Maryann and I have raised five children, who have gone on to produce thirteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
In the early 1970’s we lived in Houston, but came to Fayetteville for weekend getaways.
My love for rural architecture led me to write “Pioneer Texas Buildings”.
Maryann took the photographs for the book. We spent many weekends driving around in our old station wagon with all the children, to find and photograph old farm houses, and we got to know many of the people who built and lived in them. Soon it became clear that rural Texas was calling us, so we graduated from weekenders to fulltime residents on our farm just outside of Fayetteville, and moved the architecture firm to a mercantile building on the square.
As a family we discovered the joy of Fayetteville’s rural and small town lifestyle.
By the way, the book “Pioneer Texas Buildings” is still in print at the University of Texas Press. The current edition has a new title: Geometry in Architecture: Texas Buildings Yesterday and Today updated with additional photographs by Lisa Hardaway.
Our children, now grown, attended Fayetteville public school, while Maryann and I ran our family architecture firm (now the expanded Heimsath Architects of Austin, led by our son Ben).
It turned out we had a lot of extra space in the mercantile building, so Maryann and I decided in 1974 to open a restaurant and hotel. We had never done anything like this, but somehow we knew we could do it. Listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings and completely renovated, the Country Place Hotel was widely recognized and successful for forty-three years.
In 2017 the Country Place Hotel was transformed by its new owners, Joan and Jerry Herring, and has now re-opened as the Grand Fayette Hotel.
In addition to art, Maryann and I remain committed to the civic and cultural life of Fayetteville, Texas. There is so much here that is truly wonderful.