Last Sunday, April 7, 2013, was an overcast day, but I was tired of being in the house. I needed to get out and walk around with my camera. I needed to go somewhere where a gray sky wouldn’t affect me and my photography too negatively. I decided to go somewhere that I seldom go – downtown Austin. During my 25 minute drive to get downtown, I noticed that the overcast sky was beginning to break up into a partly cloudy sky.
I was travelling light. I brought only my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, with the Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens, and my X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. No camera bag, no tripod, not even a spare battery or a hat.
I drove up and down Congress Avenue, and even at 2:45 PM on a Sunday afternoon, there are no parking spaces available. I ended up parking three blocks east of Congress Avenue, on Trinity Street between and East 8th and East 9th Streets.
I thought that I would head towards the Texas State Capitol Building, which is located at 11th and Congress. As I walked west on East 10th Street, just west of San Jacinto Blvd., I noticed this building with reflections of both a Catholic Church and the Texas State Capitol building.
At the corner of Brazos St. and East 10th, I just looked up at the Texas Department of Transportation building and took this simple photo.
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I was pleased to see that the overcast sky had pretty much dissipated into the partially cloudy sky.
This next photo was taken while standing in the center of the crosswalk on Congress Avenue at 10th St.
I really didn’t have a plan, other than to just walk south on Congress all the way to 1st or 2nd Street and then come back up Congress Avenue on the other side of the road.
There are many, many building along Congress Avenue that have been designated as historical landmarks. It makes for a very interesting mixture of old buildings and modern buildings.
Just south of 7th Street, on the west side of Congress Avenue is this interesting statue of Angelina Eberly.
The plaque at the base of this statue tells this fascinating story: “In 1842 Texas was an independent nation, and Austin was its capital. Sam Houston, the president of the Republic of Texas, regarded Austin as a vulnerable and unsuitable location for the seat of the government and waged an unsuccessful campaign to have it moved to his namesake city (Houston). As a last resort, the President sent a military detachment to Austin to remove the government archives. When an innkeeper named Angelina Eberly discovered the men loading their wagons, she rushed to the corner of what is now Sixth and Congress and fired the town cannon, blowing a hole in the Land Office building and rousing the populace. The citizens chased down Houston’s men, recovered the archives, and gave them to Mrs. Eberly for safekeeping. This statue honors a bold woman whose vigilance and short temper preserved Austin as the capital of Texas. It was presented to the citizens of Austin on September 26, 2004, by Capital Area Statues, Inc.”
There’s no doubt where I took this next photo from. 🙂
I’ve seen Kirk Tuck show this same photo on his blog before, so I thought I’d just put my blatant copy here on my blog….
Looking southeast, one sees the Frost Bank Tower, which is located between 4th and 5th Streets, on the east side of Congress Avenue.
At 422 Congress Avenue is Shiner’s Saloon. I’ve never been there, but I like their sign our front!
We are now down to 3rd Street.
Just north of 2nd Street sits The Austonian, which is a residential building. A t 683 feet (208 m) tall with 56 floors, this is the tallest building in Austin.
At the base of the Austonian, is the little coffee shop Caffé Medici.
I thought that I would get myself a cup of coffee and do stake out a place for some relaxed people watching, but as I poked my head inside, I was surprised at how small, and crowded this place was. I guess it must be very good, because there were at least 15 people in line there to get coffee at 3:30 PM on a Sunday afternoon. Someday I’d like to give it a try, though.
So I crossed Congress at 2nd Street, and took a few photos of one of the Austin GuitarTown guitars, named Twinkle Twinkle Lonestar.
Back in 2007, there were 32 of these guitars scattered around Austin for public display before being auctioned off to help a charity. Dad and I located all of them, and photographed them wherever they happened to be located. You can see them all here. It’s hard to believe that was 6 years ago…
Just north of 2nd Street, there is huge construction site, with three very large cranes. This is future site of the 1000 room J.W. Marriot Hotel.
As I passed that construction site, here’s an interesting view of both old and new buildings in downtown Austin.
Out front of the Frost Bank Tower, sits one of my favorite Austin GuitarTown guitars, named Vibrancy. I guess just like colorful things, and this one uses it very creatively!
A couple blocks north, I turned east on the semi-famous East 6th Street. The photos that I took there will be the subject of my next blog post.
So, the day started out being what I considered pretty crappy for going out and making photographs, but it certainly didn’t turn out that way. It just goes to show you that sometimes you just need to get out there, and make the best of what you’re dealt.
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6 thoughts on “Walk on Congress Avenue”
If I get to Austin I will ask you to take me to the Shiner’s Saloon LOL. That sigh is great.
That Joseph’s Shop – do you know what is in there? That’s a place I would stop at if I landed in front of it.
Libby, no I don’t know what’s in there. It might be a Jazz nightclub. Maybe Kirk knows, as this is right across the street from the Caffe Medici that he always goes to.
This is sad – looks like a piece of art history is threatened
Business art like this is part of our heritage
Yes, that is sad, Libby. Thank you for providing the link!
Now I’m glad that I at least got a photo of it, and it will remain on my web site for a long time. I suppose that nobody that searches for it will end up seeing it here at my web site, unless I add these few keywords: Joseph’s Hat Shop in Austin, TX.
Austin has changed a LOT in the 41 years that I have lived here, and stuff like this has become an all too common of an occurrence. I think that us Austinites have just become desensitized to it. That doesn’t mean that we don’t miss, or remember the old stuff that made Austin “Austin”. I still remember the old Armadillo World Headquarters, and listening to Paul Ray and the Cobras out at the old Soap Creek Saloon….
That reminds me there are a couple of old lunch stops here that may not be long for this world because of urban encroachment. Have to get down there and grab some snaps.
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