Austin is rich with African American history and is home to a many of Texas’ Black historical landmarks featured in the National Register of Historic Places. The effects of segregation have been evident in Austin for decades, making the preservation of these historical sites that much more important. From community centers to notable homes and Austin’s own historically Black university, here are eight Black historic landmarks in Austin along the MetroBus line where you can honor these treasured locations.
Southgate Lewis House
1501 East 12th St, Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 6
Southgate Lewis House is located on East 12th Street, in the heart of one of Austin’s historically Black neighborhoods. The Gothic Revival style home was built in 1888 by local bookbinder and printer John Southgate. In 1986 it was sold to the W.H. Passon Historical Society for its headquarters, which now houses the Jacob Fontaine Religious Museum.
Learn more about the Southgate Lewis House
307 E. 6th St, Austin, TX 78701 || MetroBus Route 6
The Connelly-Yerwood House was owned by Black physician Dr. Charles Yerwood in 1925 before his daughter, Dr. Connie Yerwood Conner, took ownership of the residence. She painted the house pink and aqua to honor her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, which happens to be the oldest Greek-letter society established by African American women. Like her father, Dr. Conner had a career in healthcare, working for the Texas Department of Health and eventually becoming Chief of the Bureau of Personal Health Services.
Learn more about the Connelly-Yerwood House
810 East 13th St, Austin, TX 78701 || MetroBus Route 6
The Limerick-Frazier House has served as a haven for immigrants and African Americans in Austin since 1867. The home was built by immigrant Joseph Limerick and purchased by John Frazier, whose father was formerly enslaved. After John’s passing, his widow, Laura Allman Frazier, lodged Black students and travelers at the home who were not allowed to stay in white hotels. Now the home has become a popular cultural center hosting a number of culinary events, including a competition during the Black Arts Movement’s BAM! Festival.
Learn more about the Limerick-Frazier House
House of Elegance (Formerly Colored Teachers State Association of Texas Building)
1191 Navasota St, Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 6
The building at 1191 Navasota Street has been an important community hub for Black Austinites since the 1950s. Designed by John Saunders Chase, the first African American to attend the university’s School of Architecture, the building was purchased by the University of Texas to operate the Colored Teachers State Association of Texas. The association was integral in many advancements in equity for Black teachers in Texas. Since the mid-Sixties, however, the building became a lively neighborhood center as the House of Elegance, a full-service salon owned by Ella Mae Pease.
2300 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 2
Opened in the summer of 1930, Rosewood Park became a central location for Austin’s Black community. The park has held Juneteenth celebrations since its very first year and the traditional festivities still continue today. The park also features the original Henry G. Madison Log Cabin, which was built in the 1800s by Austin’s first African American City Council member and later moved to the park in his honor.
Learn more about Rosewood Park
1165 Angelina St, Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 2
The George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center provides an exhibition of African American culture and preserved historical materials. According to the Carver Museum website, the museum features “[a] 36,000 square-foot facility that includes four galleries, a conference room, classroom, darkroom, dance studio, 134-seat theatre, and archival space.” Though currently closed due to COVID-19, you can “visit” Carver Museum from home here.
Learn more about Carver Museum
1104 E 11th St. Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 2
Victory Grill has been an iconic African American music and food institution in Austin since 1945. The historic nightclub was on the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” a collection of venues across the United States showcasing Black entertainers including musicians, comedians and other performers. Still rocking today, Victory Grill is one of the few remaining venues from the original circuit. Visit on Mondays for Blues at the Grill and midweek for New Era Wednesdays.
900 Chicon St, Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 4 and 322
Historically Black private college Huston-Tillotson University dates back to 1875, housing a variety of formal educational institutes focused on Black students. The university as we now know it has existed since 1952 when Samuel Huston College and Tillotson College, both located on the same campus, combined through a merger. With “In union, strength,” as its motto, the merged institution “became the sole provider of higher education for African-Americans in Central Texas until the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which launched the period of desegregation,” according to Huston-Tillotson’s website. The university continues to honor its heritage as a place for Black students to learn, commune and thrive.
Learn more about Huston-Tillotson University