19 August 2010

spaces: Austin Before Hurricane Ike

This is what Austin looked like before President Eisenhower and the Interstates and cars took over our lives. So serene. So human-scaled. This view of East Avenue pre-I-35 is at about 19th Street, which is now called MLK. Look at all the cute houses and nice trees lining the avenue. I can imagine strolling down the street on a balmy summer eve. Sigh.

The larger building in the center of the photo and on the west side of East Avenue is Brackenridge Hospital on 15th, which has since been replaced. Teeny weeny downtown Austin peeks into the photo in the way right corner.

I try not to romanticize the past too much, but it would be so great to never ever have built I-35, at least where it is today. In my fantasy world, all the cars disappear in one wink of a moment, drivers fall gently to the streets, and no one is hurt. The Killing Machines are gone, and we go back to living and moving through our lives humanely.

Tons of cool images like this one showing other parts of Austin roads throughout history on TexasFreeway.com.


Sarah said...

Sigh. Me too.

I Love Baby Quilts! said...

I was raised in Milwaukee and it's exactly like this still. The most major street in town, Bluemound Avenue, is lined with homes and trees. I miss it! I live in frickin' Round Rock now.

The Curious Holts said...


Lee said...

Milwaukee is a great city of boulevards...especially the one along the lake. AND they even recently tore down an interstate leading into the city, and the area is now being revitalized. Milwaukee is one of the country's best kept secrets.

Anonymous said...

I-35 just tears the city in half. Milwaukee is a great city. I lived in Madison for a couple years before moving back to east Austin. I think I would have stayed in Wisconsin had I lived in Milwaukee.

ESP said...

Look at all those trees!
Incredible how much more ugly the terrain and the infrastructure has got, I agree...a big death corridoor sigh!
Great post Lee, and great to see Austin back then.