11/24

Keep an eye out for these historic buildings on the Thunder Cloud Subs Turkey Trot!

The Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot is the best way Austinites can stuff their faces all day with a clear conscious. The five-mile run that takes place on Thanksgiving morning begins downtown and heads up Lavaca, west on 15th and heads back south right before MoPac finishing on the 1st Street Bridge.

For most runners, the Turkey Trot isn't so much a chance to "PR" as it is catch up with some family in town at a leisurely pace and take in the sights of Austin on foot.  If you haven't signed up yet, you can do so here

And for those of you planning to participate, we wanted to give you heads up to some of the historic sites you'll see along the five-mile route. 

The Royal Arch Masonic Lodge 

Royal Arch Masonic Lodge Austin

The first building you'll see is the Royal Arch Masonic Lodge (311 7th St & Lavaca), on the corner of 7th and Lavaca, and was built in 1926. It's a Beaux Arts style of architecture, which was prominent in the U.S. between 1880-1920. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Bartholemew-Robinson building

Bartholemew-Robinson building

Just before you hit the end of the Lavaca section of the route, you'll see an unusual building on your righthand side whose main feature are three towers. Known as the Bartholomew-Robinson building, it dates back to the late 19th century. Three victorian turrets were added to this stone building in 1887, and it's a rare example of French Second Empire architecture in Austin. This building has served many purposes throughout the years - car museum, oyster restaurant, bar, plumber's shop and much more. Today's owner, the home of the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association, can be credited from saving it from demolition when they purchased it in 1995. TOMA also rebuilt the towers and the original interior limestone walls were exposed.  

Notable buildings on 15th St. 

As you turn left onto 15th street, there are a few notable buildings. St. Martin's Lutheran Church was completed in 1960 and received AIA Austin's 25 Year Award in 2007. This large and stunning piece of mid-century architecture is one of our most important landmarks from the era.

On your left at 15th & West, before you begin a steep downhill, you'll see one more landmark, the Daniel H. Caswell House. It's tough to believe that when was built in 1900, it was on the extreme northwest side of town. It features numerous Late Victorian architectural influences, including the Colonial Revival and Chateauesque styles, with a corner turret and rusticated stonework.

This is Recorded Texas Historic Landmark is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Caswell House

Turkey Trotters will have their hands full with the ups and downs of 15th street and Enfield road as it passes over Lamar, Shoal Creek, and between Clarksville and Old Enfield neighhorhoods. Clarksville was founded as a Freedmen's Town in 1871, one of several such African American communities which thrived throughout Austin in the years following the Civil War. In stark contrast, some of the city's most opulent estates stand to just to the north and were developed in the 1920s and 1930s. Both neighborhoods tell distinct stories about the city's past and need exploring to understand our present.

Seaholm Power Plant

Seaholm Power Plant Austin

The home stretch is a jog on Cesar Chavez along Lady Bird Lake heading back east towards the First St. Bridge. Before arriving at the finish line, take a look to your left, where you'll see Seaholm Power Plant, one of the top restoration projects of the year. Seaholm was built in the 1950s but its last days of generating power for the city was in 1989. Since the mid-1990s, it's sat defunct without much purpose, and has been considered for demolition more than once. But the Art Deco power station, which re-opened in early 2015, was turned into the centerpiece of a brand new revitalized pocket of downtown. The $130 million development, designed by STG Design and Clayton & Little Architects, was the recipient of a 2015 Preservation Merit Award.

We give thanks to all the property owners who have managed to preserve these wonderful pieces of our city, and hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Post by Brandon Tucker