Congress Avenue

Historically tagged as simply “The Avenue,” Congress Avenue has been the hallmark street of Austin since its inception. When Edwin Waller laid out the grid for the Republic of Texas’ new capital city in 1839, he envisioned the grand avenue that would lead straight from the site of the Capitol Building to the Colorado River. While parallel north-south streets would be named for Texas rivers (in correct geographic order), Gov.  Mirabeau B. Lamar gave Congress Avenue its singular name. 

Growth sprung up along The Avenue and continued steadily, beginning with government buildings, saloons, and shops. In 1891, electric street cars competed with cattle on the thoroughfare. With the rise of the automobile at the turn of the century, Congress Avenue soon became the first brick-paved street in Austin.  Previously sparse development south of the river increased with the construction of the concrete Congress Avenue Bridge in 1911, ultimately developing into the eclectic SoCo district, as it is known today. 
 
When the Congress Avenue Bridge was renovated in 1980, unbeknownst to the architects, the crevices along the underside of the bridge were ideal bat roosts. Now the largest urban bat colony in North America, the Congress Avenue Bats are an Austin landmark in their own right; from March to November, Austinites gather to watch 1.5 million bats fly at dusk for their evening hunt. 
 
Many historic buildings still line Congress Avenue, including the Old Bakery (1876), the Littlefield Building and the Scarborough Building (1910), Austin’s first skyscrapers, and the Paramount Theater, formerly the Majestic Theatre (1915).
Results  (14  1 from 1 pages)
W.H. Tilley Collection, no. 1 - 1910s and 1920s
Collection of clips shot in the 1910s and 1920s of the Tilley brothers and their families in and around A...
To Market, To Market, in Austin Texas
Promotional film for Austin’s KTBC network that provides an overview of the station’s television and broa...
The Ramon Galindo Collection, no. 4 - Aqua Fest 1963
Home movie footage of Austin's 1963 Aqua Festival parade
The Ramon Galindo Collection, no. 1 - Scenes of Snow in Austin, Gone to the Dog
Home movie that began as scenes of a rare snowy day in Austin hijacked by the family dog who followed the...
The Joseph Family Collection - Exploring Austin and the Texas Hill Country (1969)
Home movie footage of family trips to Austin as well as holiday celebrations in El Paso
The Joseph Family Collection - Family Vacations (1969)
Home movie footage of the Joseph family at home in El Paso as well as on vacation across the state
Texas - The Big State
Commissioned by the Santa Fe Railway Company and produced by Dudley Pictures Corporation, this film provi...
Progress Report Austin: The Legends of Austin (1961)
Episode from a 1960s television series that chronicles important figures in the founding and development ...
Progress Report Austin : The Legends of Austin 2
A look at the “legends and history of our town” in this episode of Progress Report Austin
Johnston High School Marching Band (1964)
Short clip of downtown Austin parade featuring a 1960s era Johnston High School marching band
Chancellor Adenauer Visits Vice President Johnson in Texas (1961)
Footage of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, accompanied by his daughter, on a state visit to t...
Barton Springs, Lamar Boulevard, Congress Avenue ca. 1964
A mid 1960s visit to Austin’s Barton Springs Pool, Lamar Blvd., and Congress Ave. headed north toward the...
Austin the Friendly City (1943)
1943 promotional film showcasing the perks of living in Austin
Austin Flood
Massive flooding in Austin, 1957.