8 Black Historical Landmarks in Austin

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

Image via East End Cultural District

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

Connelly–Yerwood House

307 E. 6th St, Austin, TX 78701 || MetroBus Route 6

Image via Wikipedia

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

Limerick-Frazier House

810 East 13th St, Austin, TX 78701 || MetroBus Route 6

Image via Larry D. Moore

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

Image via Texas Time Travel

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.

Learn more about the historic Teachers State Association Building and the current House of Elegance

Rosewood Park

2300 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 2

Video via Austin Parks Foundation

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

Carver Museum

1165 Angelina St, Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 2

Image via City of Austin

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

Victory Grill

1104 E 11th St. Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 2

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Learn more about Victory Grill and the venue’s history

Huston-Tillotson University

900 Chicon St, Austin, TX 78702 || MetroBus Route 4 and 322

Image via Earth Day Austin

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

New COVID-19 Safety Regulations for Transit

On Friday January 29, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a mandate requiring face masks be worn on all forms of public transit and in transit facilities.

Effective February 1, CapMetro customers are to wear face masks while on transit vehicles and when at our facilities. The face masks must cover your nose and mouth and attach around the ears.

While CapMetro has required face coverings since April 2020, we have updated our guidelines to reflect the federal regulations. For this reason, bandanas and other single-ply fabric coverings do not meet this new requirement and will be prohibited.

At this time, Austin is still under Stage 5 restrictions and we ask that you limit travel to essential trips. Stay up-to-date on CapMetro’s COVID-19 response and guidelines here.

Let’s Talk Business

If you’re a business owner, you might want to listen to this one.

The construction of Project Connect’s program of projects is going to bring thousands of jobs to the Austin area, and transit projects like these also bring big opportunities for your business to work with CapMetro.

Accelerate is an opportunity for local businesses to be prepared when CapMetro projects go public. In this live chat, Capital Metro President and CEO Randy Clarke will talk about the economic opportunities that come with investments in transit and how local businesses can earn contracts to work with CapMetro on these projects.

No matter what your business may be, whether you have a product or service you think is perfect for the agency, want to place advertisements on our vehicles or at our stations or, really, anything you can think of, CapMetro provides so many different ways to work with businesses and we’re happy to collaborate with you!

Transit keeps the entire region moving. Help us continue our progress with businesses like yours.

Accelerate — Thursday, February 11 from 2 to 3 p.m.

Celebrate the Holidays 2020 with Cap-tivities Issue #6

What better way to spend the holidays than by checking in with our CapMetro Cap-tivities friends! This month, Armie, Batthew, Saurio and more are helping us celebrate a number of wintertime holidays and find out what makes them special.

Issue 6 includes festive word games, coloring pages, mazes and more to get you in the holiday spirit and teach you about these seasonal celebrations:

  • Diwali
  • Bodhi Day
  • Hanukkah
  • Las Posadas
  • Christmas
  • Yule
  • Kwanzaa

Download Cap-tivities Issue 6 and get started on the holiday fun!

Be sure to use #captivities and tag CapMetro on social media to share in the fun!

Facebook: Capital Metro

Twitter: @CapMetroATX

Instagram: @CapMetroATX

All of us at CapMetro wish you and your family a very merry season, however you choose to celebrate! And don’t forget to check back in the new year for even more fun activities and another Cap-tivities friend.

9th Annual Stuff the Bus Donation Drive

After a particularly challenging year, Capital Metro, Whole Foods Market and the Central Texas Food Bank are teaming up to make the season bright for our Central Texas neighbors in need. The ninth annual “Stuff the Bus” is going virtual this year, allowing you to make a contribution to help families across our region with just the click of a button.

Stuff the Bus donations are accepted from Thursday, December 10 to Thursday, December 24.

All donations will go to the Central Texas Food Bank, which distributed over 64 million pounds of food to Central Texans in Fiscal Year 2020. Just $5 helps feed a family of four for over three days. The food bank has seen an increased need for food in the Central Texas community. Just in October 2020, the food bank served approximately 113,776 households, which translates to nearly 6.1 million pounds of food. Over 13,500 of those households served used the food bank’s services for the first time.

“As always, our mission at Capital Metro is to give back to the community,” said Capital Metro President & CEO Randy Clarke. “Especially this year, we are thankful to partner with the Central Texas Food Bank and Whole Foods Market during the holidays in order to serve our community members who need our help the most.”

Head over to our website to make a donation online or purchase an item from the Stuff the Bus Amazon wishlist. To donate in person, visit one of the participating Whole Foods locations and look for registers with a “Feed4More” label.

Thank you for making the season brighter for our neighbors in need!

7 Gifts Under $20 from the CapMetro Transit Store

Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for your transit-loving friend, family member or coworker? Need a little help finding enough gifts to fill eight nights of Hanukkah? Consider the CapMetro Transit Store our very own Santa’s workshop, filled with transit-themed gifts — all under $20! We got a few of our elves (read: marketing staff) to round up their favorite gift ideas for you to choose from. Happy gifting!

1. Wrapping Paper – $9

Not necessarily a gift itself (unless your recipient is a big collector!), our CapMetro-themed wrapping paper is the perfect finishing touch for all your present-giving needs.

2. Bike Seat Covers – $3.99

These CapMetro bike seat covers are perfect for the bike lover in your life! They can use it on their personal bike or for extra care when riding MetroBike.

3. Sunglasses – $3.99

2021 is looking so bright, you’re gonna need a pair of cool sunnies to take you into the next year! We may be biased, but we’re big fans of these color-blocked, reflective CapMetro sunglasses.

4. Canvas Backpack – $8.99

Reusable bags aren’t just the way of the future — they’re the most sustainable (and cool, let’s be honest), option always! This canvas backpack is ideal for grocery trips via transit or bike, making it a great gift for your loved one on-the-go.

5. Socks – $15

Socks are a stocking staple and this super fun Vacay Mode pair goes great with all the sweatpants everyone is rocking this holiday season, don’t you think?

6. Cap-tivities Activity Book Issues 1-3 – $1.50 each

Need a gift for the kiddos in your life? We’ve got the first 3 issues of our Cap-tivities activity book available in print at the Transit Store! (P.S. You can also download all of our digital issues here.)

7. T-Shirts – $10-$15

Who doesn’t love a new t-shirt? The Transit Store carries some of our favorite tees from past CapMetro initiatives + celebrations, any of which make great gifts for Austin-loving friends.

All of these gifts and more can be found at the CapMetro Transit Store, located at 209 W. 9th St. Austin, TX 78701.

New Explore Downtown Austin Bike Route

Looking for a safe and fun activity for the family this holiday season? Explore Downtown Austin is a new bike route created by our friends at Smart Trips Austin. The route highlights iconic sights as well as high-comfort segments of Austin’s all-ages and abilities bicycle network, making it perfect for the whole family.

Explore Downtown Austin by Bike

Your ride begins at the Mexican American Cultural Center before cruising along Lady Bird Lake on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail. Follow the route for Smart Trip’s favorite place to cross the lake as you head north along Shoal Creek Trail past the Austin Public Library and over to snap a photo at the Texas Capitol. Ride with ease on the new Congress Avenue protected bike lanes as you turn south to the Downtown Metro Station. Complete your ride at Rainey Street, where you can enjoy a treat from a selection of Austin’s most delicious food trucks.

Sign up for the Smart Trips Transportation Resource Guide to access a free bus or train pass for getting Downtown and a free MetroBike pass to ride the route in style on a new electric MetroBike! For this route and other DIY maps please visit SmartTripsAustin.org.

CapMetro Fare Initiatives Expand Equity in Austin

This month, Capital Metro launched two fare initiatives aimed at making transit even more accessible and easy to use. The first allows customers to add cash-to-mobile at participating retailers around Austin while the second is testing capping fares for low-income users. Our goal with these new features is that our services are equitable in both use and cost and to ensure that people who can least afford public transportation fares are not paying the most.

Cash to App

The CapMetro App now allows users to add cash for future fares at one of over 200 participating retailers including a number of 7-11, Dollar General, Family Dollar and CVS locations. This initiative helps to better serve customers who do not have a credit card, or would rather not use one, to purchase their tickets in the app by loading cash to a mobile wallet at a retail store without a fee. More retail stores may be added to the program over time.

Fare Capping

CapMetro believes that transit is an equity tool and this program aligns with that mission. The fare-capping program, which is currently in the testing stage running for six months from October through April, aims to help customers not pay more than $2.50 per day for Local Service (or $7 for Commuter) and makes riding with CapMetro simpler and more affordable in the long run!

Are you currently enrolled in Medicaid, CHIP, TANF or MAP? Sign up to join our pilot program and receive a free 31-day pass.

Stay up-to-date on CapMetro news by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and be sure to download the CapMetro App to take advantage of all our convenient features.