Trendy new cafes, stylish boutiques and new housing developments belie the African-American community that once existed in east Austin. During the late 1920s, the city of Austin supported the segregation of African-American people to the east side of the city, an area bordered by Manor Road to the north, Airport Road to the east, 7th Street to the south, Springdale Road to the southeast and what is now Interstate 35 to the West. The community endured as a historically African-American community until the mid-1990s.
The area is home to several significant sites: the original Hillside Drugstore, Downs Field, George Washington Carver Library (now Museum and Cultural Center), Emancipation Park (now Rosewood Park) and the Dedrick-Hamilton House, built in the 1880s by freed slave Thomas Dedrick. The neighborhood also features impressive mid-century modern styled churches and homes designed by John Chase, the first African-American licensed to practice architecture in the state of Texas. The Victory Grill, once a renowned nightclub and restaurant, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In its heyday, it was a hot spot to catch acts like B. B. King, James Brown, Etta James, Billy Holliday, and Ike and Tina Turner. You can learn more about Austin’s African-American history at the Austin History Center.
Since the 1990s, the neighborhood demographics have changed. In the early 2000s, Capital Metro worked with the Chestnut Addition Neighborhood Association, Chestnut Neighborhood Leadership Team, Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation, the Austin History Center and the Austin Revitalization Authority to recognize the history of the community. In 2003, framed images and historical information were installed at Capital Metro’s bus stop at 12th and Chicon. Unfortunately, the mini history exhibit has faded over time.
Community input event
Capital Metro and its partners are currently working toward renewing a sense of community history by redesigning the bus stop at 12th and Chicon. Along with our project partners — Six Square, 12th Street Merchant Association, Austin Community College, Austin History Center, Austin Revitalization Authority, Huston-Tillotson University, SOULY Austin and the Urban Land Institute — we’re hosting an event to get input on what you would like to see at the stop. Colette Pierce Burnette, president of Huston-Tillotson University, will welcome participants.
Join us: Feb. 7, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Huston-Tillotson University’s Dickey-Lawless Auditorium, 900 Chicon Street – Served by Local Bus Routes 4, 21, 22 and 320.
If you can’t attend the event, you can still let us know which elements you’d like to see at the stop by taking this short survey before Feb. 21:
What would you like to see at Capital Metro’s 12th and Chicon bus stop?