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

Leave Your Car at Home and Become a Two-Timer

Two Timer LogoTraffic congestion in Central Texas is bad and getting worse. Drivers stuck in traffic on I-35 or MoPac know this only too well. In fact, Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s recently released Urban Mobility Scorecard shows that in 2014 a peak-hour trip in the Austin area took 33 percent longer than that same trip would take in less congested traffic.

Furthermore, the Austin Mobility Report, published by the Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2013, shows that traffic will worsen significantly in the coming years if people don’t shift from riding in single occupancy vehicles. The study noted that 74,000 people driving alone each day during rush hour would need to move into alternate modes of transportation in the coming years just to keep traffic flowing as it is today!

HectorThat’s why Capital Metro has launched a new initiative we hope you’ll try: leave your car at home and take transit twice a week, or in other words, become a regular “Two-Timer.” If you’re not sure how to take public transportation in Austin, no worries. We’re happy to show you just how fun and easy it can be. Three videos show how easy it is to use the CapMetro App to plan and pay for your trip, and monitor in real-time when the next bus will depart—all designed to provide new levels of flexibility and convenience. Continue reading “Leave Your Car at Home and Become a Two-Timer”

New MetroBike Shelters Opening Early 2014

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Capital Metro is building 6 new MetroBike Shelters to provide more secure overnight or daily bike parking at major access points to bus and train routes.

Like the MetroBike Shelter already open at Kramer Station, these new shelters will make it safer and more secure to use transit without the having to take a bike onto a bus or train.

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The new MetroBike Shelters are being constructed at:

  • Tech Ridge Park & Ride
  • Lakeline Station
  • Highland Station
  • MLK Jr. Station
  • Plaza Saltillo Station
  • South Congress Transit Center

For an introductory cost of only $30/year, you can purchase a MetroBike Access Card online to be mailed out within the week. Cards are valid beginning the month of purchase. This card will access any of the MetroBike Shelters around town. Daily card access extends from 5:00AM to 1:30AM.

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Protect your bike from the elements

Once inside, the cyclist locks their bike to a rack with their own bike lock. The shelter provides protection from the sun and rain, and provides a higher level of security with 24-hour camera surveillance and lighting.

A helpful repair stand with tools and air pump with gauge inside each shelter makes it easier to combine your bike and Capital Metro commute.

A MetroBike repair stand
A MetroBike repair stand

Free bike racks will remain available outside these shelters.

Flatwork at Plaza Saltillo Station
Flatwork at Plaza Saltillo Station

Construction is underway at all new locations, and the shelters will open before the summer heat returns (Opening date to be announced soon). These shelters are made possible through an FTA Livability grant with match funding provided by the City of Austin. For more info go to http://www.capmetro.org/metrobike.

Cap Metro’s Future Rapid-ly Approaching

A sneak peak at the new MetroRapid vehicle.
A sneak peak at the new MetroRapid vehicle.

It’s been said that great cities have great public transportation systems, and with the upcoming launch of MetroRapid, the booming Central Texas region will be one step closer to realizing that goal.

Capital Metro pulled back the curtain Thursday, allowing members of the media to get an up close and personal look at the new MetroRapid vehicles before they hit the streets in early 2014 (although you’ll be seeing some of the buses around town over the next few months for testing purposes).

“This is a service we’re going to be able to introduce to the community unlike any they’ve seen before in Central Texas,” Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson said. “This is such an exciting time for Capital Metro.”

Cap Metro President & CEO Linda Watson with a new MetroRapid vehicle.
Cap Metro President & CEO Linda Watson with a new MetroRapid vehicle.

Continue reading “Cap Metro’s Future Rapid-ly Approaching”

Teens, Who and Where Will You Be this Summer?

Shakespeare wrote:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

Haul Pass logo

The summer, the Haul Pass, a new fare card for youth 18 and under, gives teens (and kids) unlimited bus and rail rides all summer long, plus discounts at Go Local partner businesses.

Austin is the stage. The Haul Pass is your ticket. What role will you play?

  • The Professional
    • Heads to a summer job, an internship, or volunteer work.
    • Checks the trip planner on the computer the night before work to plan the day. Always arrives 5 to 10 minutes before the scheduled departure.
    • Scans the QR code on the bus stop or texts the cross-streets or Stop ID to Dadnab (512-981-6221) to find out the next departure time
    • Keeps on budget, uses GoLocal discounts for food and well earned entertainment after a hard day at work.
  • The Scholar
  • systemmapcoverThe Explorer
  • The Artist
  • Community Organizer
    • Stays connected. #textingwhileriding
    • Searches newspapers and blogs for calendar listings of guest speakers and author talks and uses the trip planner to figure out how to get from spot to spot.
    • Keeps up with Project Connect (regional partnership exploring high-capacity transit options in Central Texas)
    • Gets friends to carpool to a Park and Ride, then journey together via Capital Metro to Barton Springs, parks and recreation centers, the mall, the movies, etc.
    • Supports local businesses, checking Go Local for businesses near destinations.
    • Convinces a parent into to try riding transit to work for a day, and consider joining a vanpool for commute. Or takes a family outing using the bus or train, like a ride across town for lunch with a grandparent, aunt or uncle.
  • The Athlete
    • An expert on loading a bike onto onboard bikeracks on MetroBus or MetroRailKnows how to do on the spot repairs after having built 2 bikes from scratch for free at Yellow Bike Project.
    • Crosstrains throughout the summer hiking, biking, swimming, boating, jogging and mixing it up with a little frisbee and hula hooping for kicks.
    • Walks to a bus stop or rail station to get that pedometer walking mileage in. 
    • Find lots of businesses on Go Local offering discounts for fitness and wellness, like yoga classes and rock climbing.
    • Explores Town Lake, Zilker Park, Pease Park, the YMCA, Austin Parks and Recreation, and more.
    • Uses the trip planner to figure out the best routes to get to practices, games, and the gym on time.
  • The Environmentalist.

The great thing about being a teen is you can be all these things. No need to permanently decide which route to take. And with unlimited bus and rail trips, you don’t have to.

So where will your Haul Pass take you this summer?

Tweet your adventures #haulpass

Happy Girl Scout Day – March 12

Girl Scout Day celebrates the day the first Girl Scout group was created on March 12, 1912, when Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia for a local meeting. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults.

We are especially proud of our local scouts’ role in history. Did you know the Girl Scouts of Central Texas and Capital Metro created the Girl Scouts first-ever Rail Safety Patch Program?

ImageTake a lead from the Girl Scouts and educate yourself about how to be safe around railroad tracks. Check out:

Capital Metro conducts Operation Lifesaver (OL) presentations FREE OF CHARGE to schools, community and educational organizations in the Central Texas region. To schedule a presentation, please contact Mr Celso Baez at 512-389-7559.

Have a safe and happy Girl Scout Day and Women’s History Month.

City/Capital Metro Partnership to Upgrade Accessibility at Bus Stops Throughout the City

Over the next five years, many Capital Metro bus stops will be receiving accessibility makeovers, thanks to an ongoing partnership with the City of Austin Public Works Department. Through this partnership, more than 170 bus stops were upgraded last year.

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This bus stop at Burnet Rd at Rutland is just one example of hundreds of the improved usability and mobility that is coming to bus stops around the city.

Today, City Council approved an amendment to the existing interlocal agreement between the two entities that extends the partnership for the next five years.  

Pending budget availability each year, Capital Metro will reimburse the City up to $10 million over the next five years to help upgrade Capital Metro bus stops to meet the highest standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Public Works will manage the individual projects, which will be timed to coincide with other sidewalk or street work already planned whenever possible.  

“This collaboration is a great example of local tax dollars being spent wisely, with huge benefits for the community,” said City Councilman and Capital Metro Chairman Mike Martinez. “Incorporating bus stop improvements into already planned city projects just makes sense. It reduces staff time and paperwork, ultimately saving both the city and Capital Metro, time and money, while improving the walkability and accessibility of the city.”

Although all of our bus stops met the requirements of the ADA at the time they were constructed, we wanted to improve accessibility and meet the newest standards. Capital Metro launched a program in 2008 to upgrade stops with concrete landing pads, curb cuts, and in some cases, sidewalks. In 2008, two-thirds of bus stops needed some level of accessibility improvement. Today, about a third of the bus stops still need upgrades and will be addressed over the next five years. 

Capital Metro’s Taking you to the Turkey Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, Capital Metro will be partnering with H-E-B in its 23rd annual Feast of Sharing dinner on Nov. 20 from 4-8 p.m at Palmer Events Center (900 Barton Springs Road). This is an opportunity for H-E-B to give back to the community by providing residents with a delicious, free meal and festive entertainment.

For the 10th year, Capital Metro has partnered with H-E-B to provide 5,000 Day-Passes to Central Texans for a free ride to the feast. The passes include a special printed H-E-B Fest of Sharing logo and can be picked up at the service desk for free at five area stores:

– H-E-B at 2701 E. 7th St.

– H-E-B at 1000 E. 41st St.

– H-E-B at 2400 S. Congress

– H-E-B at 2508 E. Riverside

– H-E-B at 9414 N. Lamar

(NoteH-E-B began distributing passes last week, so you may want to call ahead to check availability.)

Last year, H-E-B provided about 14,000 meals and is grateful Capital Metro has extended its helping hand once again to promote the community event.

Use Capital Metro’s online Trip Planner, call the GO Line at 474-1200, or download the Austin Capital Metro app to find your best route to the Palmer Events Center. Route 30 Barton Creek, 5 Woodrow/South 5th and 100 MetroAirport have stops near the Palmer Events Center.

New App Helping Austinites On-The-Go

Capital Metro now offers a 100% FREE mobile app. It keeps your commute efficient with a Trip Planner, schedule times, service alerts and more–right at your fingertips!

Best of all, now you can purchase fares from the palm of your hand. That’s right! We’ve enabled this new feature TODAY. Now, you can take a sneak-peek of this fare purchasing feature and enjoy the full-capability of the Capital Metro app.

Use the Capital Metro app in FIVE EASY STEPS!

Step 1: Using your smartphone, easily locate the Capital Metro app by Bytemark in the App Store (http://ow.ly/eVh3u) or Google Play (http://ow.ly/eVh7a).

Look for some screen images that look like these:

Download the app for FREE!!

Step 2: Use this blue and green homescreen to navigate throughout the mobile app to reach: Schedules, Routes/Maps, Event info, Advisories and More Info.

Click the bottom row of the screen to navigate back to home, Buy Passes, Use Passes or change your profile settings.

Step 3: Buy Passes by clicking the shopping cart icon at the bottom, which will take you to this screen:

You will see the options to purchase either Local or Regional Passes. Tap the green plus circle to add the fare to your cart.

Step 4: Use Passes

When you are ready to board the bus or train and validate your fare, click the ticket icon at the bottom bar to Use Passes.

A screen like the one above will show up where you will see which passes you have available to validate. Simply tap on the pass you’d like to use and choose: “Use Selected Passes” at the bottom.

Tickets are available immediately after purchase, but once you activate your fare, the clock is ticking on the expiration date. Activate your fare just prior to boarding.

Step 5: As you are boarding, show the validate fare screen to the bus operator or train fare platform inspector. The validated screen will look like this:

The fare you have selected and amount will be shown on-screen along with the time and date of expiration. You bus operator or the fare inspector on your train may ask you to touch the screen as a security measure. Touching the screen will activate a visual change to the screen indicating a valid fare.

That’s it! Using the Capital Metro app is easy!

A few tips to keep in mind:

– The mobile app will only be available during a specific piloting phase until November 24.

– Capital Metro will not offer refunds for fares purchased via the app.

– Please call customer service for problems loading the app at (512) 474-1200 available: M-F 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– If you have more questions check out our app FAQ section.

Joining the Costume Party Downtown on Halloween?

Even though Halloween’s on a Wednesday, don’t let that be a drag. We know you’ve come to know the trusty E-Bus as your ride Downtown on the weekends, now take advantage of that tonight!

Capital Metro wants to help you reach the big party down as safely and conveniently as possible. That’s why we’re running E-Bus service on a Wednesday, which usually doesn’t happen, but we’re making an exception to help get all those Honey Boo Boo and Psy look-alikes to 6th Street.

Hours will be the same as E-Bus weekend service (8:30 p.m. until 3 a.m.). Catch a ride using routes #410 West Campus, #411 Riverside, and #412 Main Campus. Regular fares will apply. UT students ride free with valid school ID and ACC students ride with the Green Pass.

All you Halloween go-ers can also ride Capital Metro’s local service to and from the downtown area until around midnight. Night Owl service will run its usual schedule until 3 a.m.

We hope all our riders have a good time tonight. Use Capital Metro as your safe ride this Halloween!

We want to see all those elaborate costumes! Post your Halloween pictures as you ride transit today–rail, bus, E-Bus. Tweet them to @CapMetroATX or post to our Facebook wall!

If you’re just trying to go about your daily commute tonight: Capital Metro riders who plan to use the #4 Montopolis, #21 Exposition and #100 MetroAirport routes should take notice of anticipated 6th Street closure detours due to Halloween events from around 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. More detailed route and detour information can be found in the Capital Metro website ‘Service Alerts’ section.