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 Great old pics, Austin Texas

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Posts: 8235
Join date: 2010-06-23
Age: 40
Location: Round Rock Texas

PostSubject: Great old pics, Austin Texas   Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:45 pm

Ok this is way-way-WAY off topic but thought you folks might like to see it. I thought this was a really cool post! A couple of the guys in my local car club put this together. It's pics from the past of my adopted hometown, Austin Texas. Some neat cars, and for someone like me that moved here in 1994, it's WILD to see the way things were. I love old pics anyway. Thought you might too!

Here is the post:

If I may, allow me to make this post of fond Austin memories-


Most of us think of it as it is today, a modern large city.

Well I thought I'd show some pics of the way it was!

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 629 —
1860 3,494 +455.5%
1870 4,428 +26.7%
1880 11,013 +148.7%
1890 14,575 +32.3%
1900 22,258 +52.7%
1910 29,860 +34.2%
1920 34,876 +16.8%
1930 53,120 +52.3%
1940 87,930 +65.5%
1950 132,459 +50.6%
1960 186,545 +40.8%
1970 251,808 +35.0%
1980 345,496 +37.2%

1990 472,020 +36.6%
2000 656,562 +39.1%
2010 790,390 +20.4%
2011 820,611 +3.8% (is actually 1.7 million in the metro area)

There are lots of historical pictures out there, of the highways, houses, businesses, Congress, etc:

Me when I was 3 years old with my trusty Texaco tanker, at our old house on Towerview Ct, off Manor & Airport, Christmas 1965 (edge of town then).
Oh, also remember those Keds shoes, that eventually came with racing stripe stickers? -

We just moved into our new house on Briarcliff in the Summer of 1966-

My first fond car memories were going to the local Texaco gas station and gassing up with my Dad. Gas was probably around .19 cents, and glass sodas were .5 cents.
Full service station, meant they would spend 20 minutes gassing, checking oil, tires, coolant, brake fluid, washing your windows, you name it. While they did this,
we could buy a bottle of soda and stand around BS'ing with the owner, and never had a car in line behind us waiting. Next to that, he also owned a parts house (in the background),
where the older kids (16-20's) worked, so they could get discounted parts. They would always give me a couple of cool stickers.
I don't have any old pics of it, but this is it currently-

My first job was at the corner Exxon station, when I was 13. I think I started at $1.65 an hour.

Another fond place in childhood was Hancock Center. It's still there, but hardly the same. It was an awesome shopping center with a center courtyard of fountains and well shaped hedges.
It had a shoe store that also had a kids sized glass door, and an antique fire truck to play on. Here is an old pic of the Sears. There are virtually no other pics of the center sadly.-

This was the layout of the center. The black spaces were other stores not named for some reason. The shoe store was next to Sears-

Wyatts Cafeteria there was the first experience with crinkle cut fries. There was a Murphys drug store, with an old soda fountain in the back to get root beer floats.
Across the street was a Burger Chef.

Also across I-35 was the original Academy Surplus-
No direct pics of it either, but you can see the sign here, over the upper deck construction, and part of the front of the store. It was mostly military type surplus-

Also an aerial shot, looking North from 38 1/2 & I-35, showing the Academy on the right side, as well as Hancock/Sears on the left.
(Also on the lower right is Delwood Plaza, the first shopping center with "Air-Conditioned" sidewalk. Kiddie City toy store was there, as well as Moms beauty shop,
and one of the grocery stores now replaced by Fiesta. (The open area towards the upper right is Robert Mueller Airport)
If you look closely, you can also see the railroad track that actually crosses I-35 by the Academy. How insane was that?-

One of my oldest memories of food places has to be the Stallion. It was on N. Lamar, roughly where the Dans is now, just South of Keonig/DPS.
Nasty place, but awesome burgers. Mini-jukebox at every booth.

Holiday House seems to have no photos of the buildings either. I wish I had known growing up, I would have taken some. I can remember them well though.
The one on Barton Springs was tropical, with the building appearing to sit on water, with ducks in a front pond. The interior had a waterfall and jungle scene on one side of the restaurant,
full of colorful parrots and stuff. Outside on the far side of the "lagoon" was Charlie the Alligator, about an 8 foot live alligator. (Boy, you would never see that today!)
The one on Airport & 53rd had huge ship anchors and chains outside, and all nautical inside, with huge salt water aquariums on each end wall. There were others on Burnet Rd, Ben White,
and a final lame one in a shopping center on Exposition, that was forced out by some vegetarian hippie wannabe woman. They were the best burgers ever.

Then there was 2-J's on Lamar and about 41st, now an EZ's (?). They had awesome cheap burgers, and a KFC next door-

Then there was the Dairy Queen, kind of by my neighborhood, on Manor Rd (now in the hood)-

There was also Shakeys Pizza at Cameron & 290, TouLouse Waffle House on MLK, El Matts-original at 35 & 5th, several places similar to Furrs/Lubys I can't remember,
as well as single owned dives like a Burger Queen, Tastee Freez, Sandys, and of course Top Notch.

Night Hawk, one at 290 & 35, one on Burnet Rd, now Frisco, and one on S. Congress-

Then there was "talking to the clown (Jack in the Box)-

We could go on forever with food places, so I will go on.

How about the new HEB at Burnet and Keonig in February 1950 during their Grand Opening, looking NW (yes before my time, but cool)-

And heres a shot of the 7-11 opposite of that, on same intersection, 7-11 is still there, note the sign stating "New Home Sites Available" and look at the background-WOW-

183 & MOPAC 1966, looking towards Burnet Rd from the Arboretum area-

Oh, while i'm at the pics, remember these?-

(Sorry, I get side-tracked) ;D

Dad used to always take me out to the Longhorn Speedway/Austin Speed-O-Rama at 183 & 812 on Friday nights. I had a cousin that raced, and we new several of the other names out there.
Ricci Ware, Glen Schwabe, Waldo Harper, Dean Hanes, the guy in a little yellow rotary Mazda called the HummmmDinger. The entire exhaust would glow red by end of race.
This is all that's left of the track. They used to have "8" races, demolition derby, normal stock and super stock races, etc.-

How about the Austin Aqua Fest (1962-1998?)
If you don't know about it, Google it. There is too much to explain, but it was one of the childhood highlights. I remember going to the bank every year and Dad would buy us a Skipper Pin.
This would get you a discounted entry fee. Car shows, parades, music, drag boat races on the river downtown at 35, road races at the auditorium, lots of cool stuff.
Here is a shot of my collection of pins. Got any?-

The Aqua Fest was also the precursor that spawned ACL, SXSW, and other similar music events. Each night was a different theme of music; rock, country, tejano, polka, oldies, etc.
It was definitely Austin. By the way, "Keep Austin Weird" began in the mid to late 90's by Californians trying to make it more like home. Austin was always different,
but aside from Leslie, it was never weird. More like "Dazed & Confused" as I remember it. Wink

Anyway, I have been working on this post for a couple hours. I will throw in some random pics to help you along. Please feel free to add to this with your pics and memories.
Just please avoid the TXDOT and other oldie pics, unless they pertain to your memories.


Anyone remember the tornado that went through Robert Mueller Airport in 1980? This is at Berkman and 51st in the swimming pool parking lot-

Here are some pics of my Dad and his cars in 1957-

This was him in front of a rental cabin at Bull Creek (currently where the County Line and the fire station are on 2222 just before 360)-

Here is my Mom & Dad on top of Mt. Bonnell, the gravel road to the right is Scenic Drive-

How about Drive In movies? Not many pics existing of these either-
Chief Drive in, Keonig and Lamar (now the shopping center South of DPS-

Burnet Drive In, the sign is still there, but it's now a storage facility, on Burnet just North of Keonig a 1/2 mile or so-

Showtown was my most frequented. It was on top of the hill on Cameron Rd, between 183 and Rutherford. No pics anywhere and nothing left.
We used to pile into a car or two and go see all the scary B movies like Chainsaw Massacre, and then go out in the country
and dare each other to get out of the car once we parked at a creepy location.

The Last Picture Show Drive In, this is still functioning in Gatesville, WNW of Ft. Hood. Open on the weekends or maybe just Saturday nights. But it's still open.

Seems there was a couple more, but I can't remember them now. I know there was an X rated one out South, off Burleson Rd,
that showed hotel level porn, but I never went there. Obviously it didn't last long.

How about Putt-Putt and amusement parks-
There have been many. Let's start with the existing one-
Peter Pan Putt-Putt on Barton Springs.
I don't think they have changed a thing since I was like 3.-

Putt-Putt on Burnet Rd. Now closed. Used to take my daughter there on weekend nights when she was younger.-

Kiddie Acres, currently on McNeil just West of MOPAC, but I could swear it was somewhere else when I was a kid.-

I barely remember another one somewhere on Burnet Road, and possibly another out South.

Let's go further back. Remember the giant slides we used to have? You would slide down them on burlap bags. They were several stories high, and were wavy as you came down.
There was one on the North edge of Capital Plaza by Montgomery Wards, where a car lot is now. I know there was another one on Ben White. It was like this, but in 60's style-

On the corner of 290 & 35, near Highland Mall/Greyhound Bus station, there was a "Terra-Trak" dirt track where you could rent and ride the 6 wheel track buggies. -

One of my most frequented stomping grounds growing up was Capital Plaza. Sadly I don't seem to find any pics of it either, at least not old ones. It had everything.
The first McDonalds in Austin (that I know of), Wards, TG&Y drug store, Bealls, Newberrys 5&10, possibly also had a Wyatts cafeteria at one point, a cinema (where in our teen years,
we would sneak in and saw the first Star Wars like 42 times), an HEB, and many other stores I am forgetting. It also had my Dads bank, which has changed names and owners a dozen times,
and is still there in the center now as Chase. My first ban, First Federal S&L on the Cameron Rd side.

I did find this cool NPC sign from the mid to late 50's i'm guessing, when homes were being built. Our house there was built in 57-58.-

Just to knock this out of the way, and because it is really cool if you haven't seen them, these are some of the highway construction pics from the 50's through the 70's.
The website is TexasFreeway.com
Enjoy, in no particular order--

I-35 looking South from Airport (the men are at the RR track crossing previously discussed)-

This is I-35 looking South, believed to be the 38 1/2 bridge by Hancock-

This is East Avenue, prior to becoming I-35, at about 5th St looking South. The overpass in the distance is Ceasar Chavez
(then 1st St, also the original El Matts can be seen on the right edge)-

I particularly love these next two. Can someone older than me confirm where this is? It is labeled 81 & 290,
but all the highway signs would have to be pointing East. 81 should become 35. But this doesn't look like 35, or Lamar.
Could it be Burnet Rd? It's not Ben White.
I used to think it was 290 & 35 looking East, but the signs are wrong.

This one is 35 & 290E in 1959, looking SE. The far right would become Capital Plaza, the very center intersection is Reinli, where the Night Hawk was.
The upper left is where I grew up, but our street is about 3 blocks off the picture. The rest filled with apartments, motels, and crap!-

This is one you will never experience, even at 4:00AM. This is 35 near Riverside looking North. This would be considered busy traffic. Notice, no walls, guardrails, trash,
or any buildings obscuring the view of the Capitol and the UT tower.-

Inner Space caverns was discovered by the highway department while drilling for core depths to build I-35. They needed 25 feet thick, but kept losing their bit to open air.
They drilled a 24" hole and rode down on the bit to see what was up. This is what they found. Can you imagine?-

Here is the historical marker with some info. (The Laubachs owned everything West of 35, mainly all the rock quarries, and still do)-

Here is the location where the 360 (Penneybacker) bridge is built. We used to go there from 2222 and park at the cliff edge and party and do fireworks off that ledge.-

and today:

Here is old Ben White circa 1977. I remember the Taco Bell and Brake Check, ooooh and Pizza Inn.-

This is 183 looking East towards 35 from Lamar in 1977. All of 183 was ground level with intersections.
The new part was only completed out from Spicewood Springs on maybe 10-15 years ago at most.-

This is 183 at Ohlen, looking towards Burnet Rd. Target would be on right.-

183 at Braker going North in 1993. McD's is still on the left. (anyone remember the old rock quarry on the right? Used to be a party spot)-


BTW, thought this was cool. This is East Avenue, before I-35 took it over. The building at upper center is the old Brackenridge Hospital.
Looking South, you can see St Edwards out in the distance on the hill. This is around 1950-52.
I-35 was constructed in segments from 1952-56.

I think this is my favorite picture. 1st & Congress around Christmas 1960.
Look at the old Falcon wagon under the bay, the gas pump on the outer edge of the bay.
The clean view with the lack of large buildings.

I can't say that I remember the Goodyear being there. But I do barely remember going with my Dad to the P.K. Williams Rambler dealership. I think it was like 3rd & Congress, on the West side.
He was always a Rambler man (amongst his other vehicles), and
I remember getting one of those model type giveaway cars. I must have been about 3.
It was always a big deal to go out to the Zilker tree and DRIVE under it, maybe stopping to get out and get hot chocolate by the fire. This was before the trail of lights, although
I remember driving through that too. Then we would drive up Congress towards the Capitol, with the lights strung across Congress. The Capitol tree was always inside in the rotunda center.

I also remember the bus station being at 3rd & congress? I know it was apparently at 9th or 10th & Congress at some point, but I remember it at 3rd.

Superior Dairies at 1st & 35 (where IHOP is now roughly)

(I also remember a neighbor still getting bottled milk deliveries every morning around 5:00AM, well into the 70's. That was my signal that I better get my butt in the house)

How about the fond sensory memory of the elementary field trip to Butter Krust Bakery on Airport near Highland Mall-
(late at night, if the wind was in the right direction, we could smell the bread all the way at our house, while sitting outside between midnight and ???

Sadly this is the only picture that exists!!!

How many knew it was originally at 3rd & Lamar? Yes this would be where the RR overpass is now, by the Amtrak station.
This building is now condos (of course) and Lamar was tunneled under the track.

OK, here's a "show your age" test. How many remember this show?

How about the Zilker Train? (not the current green one, the actual old one)

And our favorite part when we were kids.... the tunnel!

Here are some other cool random pics I have come across
(these are all pretty much from the Neal Douglass collection. A man who had the foresight to take thousands of photos in the 40's & 50's)-

Pipeline valve, 1949 Congress-

B.F. Goodrich 5th & Congress 1956

A beautiful shot of 1968 Austin, looking North. Palmer Auditorium is the round building, and the Coliseum is on the left.

1938 flood downtown, taken from the fire tower looking West.
The street is eventually Ceasar Chavez (1st St.)

Airport and East Ave. (I-35 being built) 1950. The large open field on the right will become Hancock Center.

Here's another of the Allendale HEB at Burnet & Keonig, 1954, from The Frisco parking lot.

Bank of Austin 1957, Congress & Oltorf-

Bowl-O-Rama 1957, South Lamar-

Capitol Chevy, 200 blk. E. 5th (one block East of Congress) 1948-

This is the Capitol Memorial Park cemetery on 35 near Wells Branch-1948. (talk about turning profit on real estate!) -

Checker Grocery Store in Delwood shopping center (where Fiesta is now) -

Anyone remember Kiddie Land (1950), or where it was?-

Safety? in 1950? Bah! We used to stand up in the center of the seat, or lay up on the shelf in the back window.-

Here's a few more- Way before our time, but cool pics.

1935 flood. Congress bridge looking South.

From the other side looking North-

This is Congress Ave 1875. This is the old wood Capitol before it burned and the current granite one was built in 1888 or so.-

Crestview Minimax on Woodrow, 1956-

A construction model of the Robert Mueller Airport- (can you find the flaw in the model?)

Guadalupe (The Drag) at the University Co-op 1927-

The Treaty Oak in all its glory 1928-

Post more if you have them!
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Join date: 2013-10-15

PostSubject: Pictures of Old Austin   Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:57 am

This is incredible! I love the photos and saw them making the rounds on Facebook. Would love to feature some of these pictures in a story on KVUE - let me know what you think: Jessica Vess 512-533-2278
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PostSubject: Re: Great old pics, Austin Texas   Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:51 pm

Holy crap, that's alot of pics even for Mike! Thanks buddy, will forward to my in-laws to enjoy (for the rest of you, they live 10 minutes from Mike)
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PostSubject: Re: Great old pics, Austin Texas   Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:53 pm

Very nice! I want to visit someday...I was so close a couple months ago.

Hey, what was the flaw in the airport model? TSA wasn't strip searching? (but seriously...what?)
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PostSubject: Re: Great old pics, Austin Texas   Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 pm

Great old pictures but if you were 3 in 1965 you should be about 51 years old.I probably read your post wrong,been thru your pictures twice and love those great old cars and all that dirt cheap gas.
Those were gas prices we will never see again.
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PostSubject: Re: Great old pics, Austin Texas   Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:43 am

Good stuff! Not sure why you are confused about the pic at 290 & 81. The view is exactly where you originally thought and as it states on the pic. There is nothing wrong with the directions on the signs. They should not all point east. Turn left on 81 (now I-35) to go north towards Dallas & Taylor. Go straight ahead on 290 towards Houston. Thanks for the memories.
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PostSubject: Re: Great old pics, Austin Texas   Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:46 pm

Great pics Mike. It always amazed me how often if floods down there.
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PostSubject: Re: Great old pics, Austin Texas   Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:55 pm

I grew up in Austin, was born and raised here, wouldn't live any where's else, despite the traffic..
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Great old pics, Austin Texas

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