Spectacular Historical Photos of Austin, Texas from the 1950s that Will Take you back in Time

The 1950s were a time of economic prosperity for much of the United States, and Austin was no exception. World War II had just concluded, and the economy was shifting from war production to consumer goods and services. Austin saw an influx of businesses and started gaining recognition as a hub for innovation and technology. Companies like IBM and Texas Instruments began setting up shop, providing a significant boost to local employment.

The 1950s also saw substantial changes in Austin’s landscape. Suburbs started to emerge as more people moved to the city, fueled by economic opportunities and a growing university. Areas like Allandale and Crestview began to develop, offering single-family homes that catered to the baby boom generation.

Racial Segregation and Civil Rights

While economic developments painted an optimistic picture, the situation was far from perfect. Like much of the South, Austin was grappling with racial segregation and the early rumblings of the Civil Rights Movement. Schools, restaurants, and other public places were segregated. However, as the decade progressed, Austin became a focal point for peaceful protests and marches, mirroring the national quest for racial equality.

The Birth of a Music Scene

Austin started to gain its reputation as a music city in the 1950s. Venues began offering platforms for different genres, ranging from country to jazz and blues. The Broken Spoke, one of Austin’s most iconic dance halls, opened its doors in 1964 but had its roots in the burgeoning music scene of the 1950s.

The University of Texas: An Intellectual Hub

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) played a significant role in shaping the city’s culture and economy. Established well before the 1950s, UT Austin became a catalyst for change and growth during this era. The student population swelled, attracting young minds from all over the country. Moreover, the university became a hotbed for research and innovation, dovetailing nicely with Austin’s burgeoning tech industry.

Politics and Governance

In the realm of politics, Austin’s role as the state capital of Texas became more pronounced. The 1950s saw increased state investment in infrastructure, much of which was directed towards the capital city. Government buildings were modernized, and public services expanded to accommodate the growing population.

Transportation Advancements

The 1950s marked significant advancements in Austin’s transportation system. The construction of new highways, like Interstate 35, facilitated easier movement within the city and connected Austin to other major Texas cities. Public transportation also saw improvements, although cars remained the preferred mode of transport for most residents.

#1 Seaholm Exterior City Power Plant in Austin, Texas, 1951

#4 Construction Underway at Old House Adjacent to Commodore Perry Hotel, 1950

#6 Congress Ave and the State Theater in Austin, Texas, 1950

#7 Exterior of Congress Avenue Baptist Church Education Building, 1951

#8 Near-Complete Construction of Stands at Disch Field, 1950

#9 Construction Fencing at the University of Texas at Austin, 1951

#10 Brackenridge Hospital Addition Under Construction, 1955

#12 Night View of Continental Bus Center, 1001 Congress Avenue, 1952

#13 Ranch Road 2222 en Route to Home Sites, Features Early 7-Eleven, 1957

#14 Cows Approaching L. F. Rader Holstein Dairy, 1953

#15 Crestview Minimax Food Mart and Parking Lot, 1956

#18 Exterior of Cuneo’s Quality Baking Company, 1956

#20 Debris on Street from Waco Tornado in Austin, Texas, 1953

#22 Street Scene at Cameron Road and Cloverleaf in Delwood, 1959

#23 Partially-Demolished Buildings After Waco Tornado, 1953

#24 Deteriorating House at 1203 Chicon Street in Austin, Texas, 1956

#25 Exterior of Dormitories at Huston – Tillotson College, 1956

#30 Aerial View of Calhoun Hall and Texas State Capitol, 1955

#35 Commodore Perry Hotel Exterior with Parked Cars and People, 1959

#42 Brick Church with Tower and Adjacent Building, 1950

#45 Hillcrest Baptist Church Exterior with Sign, 1954

#48 Swearingen Brothers Edsel Dealership Exterior, 1957

#49 Texas Employees Insurance Association Building, 1955

#50 Andy Anderson Insurance Building with Signs, 1955

#53 Harris Memorial Baptist Church with Stained Glass, 1954

#54 Land Office Building with Adjacent Savings Office, 1954

#55 Factory Outlet Ladies Shoe Store at 608 Congress, 1956

#56 Syd Meyers’ Factory Outlet Shoe Co. Exterior, 1956

#57 Building Housing Farmers Insurance and Austin Savings, 1952

#59 First Baptist Church in Taylor, Texas with Tree, 1950

#62 Gethsemane Lutheran Church on Congress Avenue, 1950

#73 H.E.B Food Store at Allandale Village with Workers, 1950

#74 Hail-Damaged Residence on Herman Heep Ranch, 1957.

#75 1950s Ranch-Style Harry McKee Home in Rollingwood, 1959.

#76 Hemphill Bookstore at 25th and Guadalupe, Austin, Texas, 1951.

#78 Exterior View of Hillcrest Farms with Trucks, 1957.

#79 Interior of Hillcrest Farms with Dairy Equipment, 1957.

#80 Hillcrest Farms Dairy Trucks in Austin, Texas, 1951.

#83 Hoffmann Paint & Wallpaper Co. at 5429 Burnet Rd, 1955.

#84 Holy Cross Hospital with Man Watering Yard, 1950.

#85 New Holy Cross Hospital Under Construction, 1950.

#87 Road Front of Howard’s Montopolis Nursery at 719 Shady Lane, 1951.

#88 Exterior of Beard Hall at Huston-Tillotson College, 1950.

#89 Final Preparations for Gov Allan Shivers’ Inauguration at Capitol, 1953.

#90 Final Preparations for Gov Allan Shivers’ Inauguration, Recruitment Poster, 1953.

#91 Ingram Equipment Company and Capitol Machine Works Building, 1956.

#92 Interior of Paggi House Featuring Furnishings and Decor, 1957.

#95 Construction of International Life Insurance Building at 9th and Brazos, 1951.

#96 Construction Site View at 800 Block of Brazos, 1951.

#97 Construction Site View from 100 Block of W. 8th St, 1951.

#98 Construction Site View from E. 10th and Brazos, 1951.

#99 Building Under Construction at 900 Block of Brazos, 1951.

#100 Construction Site View from 100 Block of W. 8th St, 1951.

#101 Intersection of Airport Blvd and E. 12th St from Roadside, 1951.

#102 Intersection of Airport Blvd and E. 12th St, Looking West, 1951.

#103 Lone Star Paper Company Building at 404 Paul St., 1951.

#104 Lutheran Student Center at 2200 San Antonio Street, 1957.

#105 Lutheran Student Union House at W. 22nd St and San Antonio, 1957.

#106 New Magnolia Mobilgas Service Station at 2901 Cherrywood Rd, 1955.

#109 El Matamoros, Home of the “Crispy Tacos,” 1957.

#111 Men Building Platform for Gov Allan Shivers’ Inauguration, 1953.

#112 Milky Way Dairies Executives Outside Building, 1951.

#113 Mobilgas Station at Airport & Gunter, Wide Exterior, 1956.

#114 Mobilgas Station at Airport Blvd & Gunter, 1956.

#115 B.F. Goodrich Sign at 100 Congress Avenue, 1956.

#117 Nash Rambler Storefront on Congress Avenue, 1958.

#118 National Electrical Contractors’ Association Central Texas Chapter Office, 1952.

#120 Negro Masonic Temple at 1017 E. 11th Street, 1955.

#121 The New Orleans Club Featuring Ernie Mae Miller at the Piano, 1950.

#122 Exterior of New Steck Building Near Shoal Creek Blvd, 1958.

#123 North Austin Fire Station #16 at 7000 Reese Lane, 1957.

#124 Construction of North Loop Shopping Center, 1958.

#125 Opening Day at North Loop Plaza Parking Lot, 1958.

#126 Norwood Tower and Capital National Bank Building, 1952.

#127 Historic Home at Trinity and 7th Street, Austin, 1951.

#128 Pleasant Hill Old School Building at Onion Creek, 1950.

#132 Goad Motor Company Parking Lot Filled with Cars, 1954.

#133 Fireplace Installation at 2413 Pemberton Place, 1955.

#134 Joe’s Quick Car Wash with Men Washing a Car, 1954.

#135 2-J Hamburgers Outlet with Cars and Customers, 1954.

#138 University of Texas Physics Building Exterior, 1959.

#140 Jack Stableford Pontiac Dealership at 1020 Lamar Blvd, 1950.

#141 Powell Property at Intersection of Brodie Ln. and Oakdale Dr., 1958.

#142 Red Ball Transfer and Moving Truck and Building, 1951.

#143 Red Ball Transfer Storage at 606 San Jacinto, 1951.

#144 Wide Shot of Gulf Gas Station at Remington Rand Shaver Division, 1956.

#145 Rhoades Truck Lines, Portrait of Rhoades Transfer & Storage Co. Truck, 1951.

#146 Ribbon Cutting, Street Scene During Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, 1950.

#147 Rio House Apartments, Interior View of Living and Dining Areas With Ornate Wallpaper, 1959.

#148 Rio House Apartments, Exterior View and Swimming Pool, 1959.

#149 Rio House Apartments, Second Floor Balcony View, 1959.

#150 Rio House Apartments, View From Southwest Corner With University Tower in Background, 1959.

#151 Rio House Apartments, Three-Story Building and Swimming Pool, 1959.

#152 Rosedale Baptist Church, Exterior at 1300 W. 44th St., 1951.

#153 Round Rock Motor Company, Exterior With Cars and Sinclair Gasoline Sign, 1952.

#154 Rural Barrack Buildings, Exterior Showing Empty Property, 1950.

#155 Sam’s Grocery, Exterior Owned by Sam R Wood at 4805 Burnet Rd., 1957.

#156 Samuel Huston College, Building on Campus, 1950.

#157 Scofield Ranch Sign, Advertisement With 2 Men and 2 Cattle, 1958.

#158 Seaholm Power Plant, Unfinished Surroundings and Parked Cars, 1951.

#159 Shanks-Meyers Furniture Company, Exterior at 1105 Lamar, 1950.

#160 Shopping Center With HEB, Allandale Village, Empty Parking Lot and People on Roof, 1950.

#161 University of Texas, Construction Workers on Building Framework, 1954.

#162 Simmons Motor Company, Mechanics Work Area in Garage, 1956.

#163 Sinclair Gasoline Station, Allendale Village Shopping Center in Background, 1950.

#164 Sinclair Stations, Exterior at 801 E. 1st St. With 3 Men and Parked Cars, 1955.

#165 So-Lo Dept. Store, Exterior Managed by Maynard J Wizig at 501 E 6th St., 1956.

#166 South Austin Baptist Church, Exterior View, 1957.

#167 South Austin Christian Church, Exterior View, 1950.

#168 South Lamar Building, Shops Including Davis Cleaners and Virginia Grill, 1958.

#169 Southern Pacific Engine 893, Black and White Negative Photograph, 1952.

#170 Southern Union Gas Company, Employee Group Photo at Warehouse, 1951.

#171 Exterior View of Southwestern Bell Building on a Corner Lot, 1951.

#172 Construction in Progress at Southwestern Bell Building, 1950.

#173 Renovations at Southwestern Bell Main Building, 1951.

#174 Exterior View of St. David’s Hospital on 606 W. 17th Street, 1950.

#177 St. David’s Hospital Opening Day Packed with Cars and People, 1955.

#178 St. Louis Catholic Church with Stained Glass Cross, 1955.

#179 Construction at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, 1950.

#180 Rhoades Transfer & Storage Equipment and Staff, 1950.

#181 Stanley Theater in Luling, Texas Showing Gene Autry Movies, 1950.

#182 Statue of Liberty on Texas Capitol Grounds, 1952.

#183 Exterior of The Steck Building at 205 W. 9th, 1950.

#184 Guadalupe Street View from 16th St. and San Antonio St., 1951.

#186 Another City Street Scene near KTBC and US Cafe, 1950.

#187 Northward View of San Antonio Street from 16th St., 1951.

#188 Southward View of San Antonio Street from 16th St., 1951.

#190 East Avenue Baptist Church Street View, Austin, 1953.

#191 Street View of Gage Furniture Company, Austin, 1953.

#193 Street Scene at 7th and Trinity with Driskill Hotel, 1958.

#194 Swearingen Armstrong Ford V-8 Dealership, Austin, 1951.

#195 Swearingen Brothers Edsel Dealership and Suber-McAngus Motors, 1957.

#196 Northeast Corner of Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 1950.

#197 Texas Book Store and University Co-Op on Guadalupe Street, 1951.

#198 Texas Bus Lines at University of Texas Campus, 1956.

#199 Exterior View of Housing Units at Texas School for the Deaf, 1957.

#200 Housing Units and Grounds at Texas School for the Deaf, 1957.

#201 Construction Outside Texas Union on the West Mall, 1959.

#202 Exterior View of Tillotson College Buildings on a Hill, 1950.

#203 Totem Pole at Texas Military Forces Museum, Camp Mabry, 1950.

#204 Exterior of Toy Palace Toy Store with Capitol Building in Background, 1956.

#206 Train Approaching on Tracks in Countryside, 1954.

#207 Train Wreck at Lampasas with Crane in Background, 1950.

#208 Transmix Cement Company Trucks by Congress Avenue Bridge, 1951.

#209 Side View of Travis County Courthouse with Gas Light, 1959.

#210 Travis County Courthouse Entrance with Gas Lights, 1959.

#211 Trench-Digging Machinery in Action on a Field, 1951.

#212 View from Inside Dugout Trench with Trench-Digging Machinery, 1951.

#213 Exterior of Trinity Lutheran Church and School, 1951.

#214 Metal TV Tower in the Hills of West Austin, 1952.

#215 Yellow Cab Company Cabs Near Duke’s Garage, 1959.

#216 Texas Restaurant Association State Office Building, 1958.

#217 Exterior of United States Courthouse in Austin, 1955.

#219 Exterior of University Baptist Church Main Chapel, 1958.

#220 Installation of Floodlights at UT Memorial Stadium, 1956.

#221 Night View of Lit UT Austin Tower on 21st Street, 1957.

#222 Southward View of UT Austin Tower on South Mall, 1958.

#223 Exterior of Van C. Kelly Lumber Company Building, 1951.

#224 Exterior of Veteran’s Administration Building, 1955.

#225 Exterior of Veterans of Foreign Wars Headquarters in Texas, 1956.

#228 Exterior of 2-J Hamburger Store with Cars Parked, 1954.

#229 Exterior of Villa Capri Restaurant and Parking Lot, 1959.

#230 Wonderland Kiddy Park with Scale Model Train, 1955.

#232 Exterior of Zale Jewelers Store in Austin, 1956.

#233 Exterior of Zilker Elementary School and Grounds, 1950.

#234 Exterior of Villa Capri Hotel Sign and Building, 1959.

#235 Exterior of Zale’s, Vogue Shoes, and Baker’s Shoes Stores, 1959.

#236 War Memorial with “I Shall Never Surrender or Retreat” Inscription, 1955.

#237 Exterior of Wesley Chapel Methodist Church, 1950.

#238 Exterior of Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1951.

#239 Wilkerson Built Home with Woman in Driveway, 1956.

#240 Rustic Home of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Deitzer, 1951.

#241 Cars Parked in Front of the State Capitol in Austin.

#242 Shettles Memorial Methodist Church, Corner of 40th & Speedway With Woman Across Street, 1950.

#243 Exterior of Texas Memorial Museum in Austin, 1951.

#244 Shoal Crest Baptist Church, Exterior View, 1951.

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Written by Kevin Clark

Kevin Clark is a historian and writer who is passionate about sharing the stories and significance behind historical photos. He loves to explore hidden histories and cultural contexts behind the images, providing a unique insight into the past.

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