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Moonlight Towers in Austin

Article by Curtis Reddehase

On May 3, 1895, a gala was held to celebrate my Austin debut. I evoked so much power, I was met with great awe and was actually feared. Some Austin citizens thought I might cause hens to lay eggs 24-7, corn and beans to grow too big to market, and grass and gardens to spiral out of control. According to the May 4, 1895 Austin American Statesman: Some four years ago the citizens of Austin conceived the scheme of building a dam and having their own water…Several weeks ago the water system was started, and all Austin rejoiced, and they had good cause to do so. Last night, however, was the gala event in the history of Austin’s triumph. I was an Austin triumph. Four years prior to my gala, citizens voted to spend 1.4 million dollars toward me and my extravagant modernization. I was linked to the late Granite Dam—at the time, the largest of it’s kind in the world. The Granite Dam, which was near the current Tom Miller Dam (separating then Town Lake and Lake Austin) was a tourist attraction and integral to the purpose of that May 3, 1895 celebration. Sadly, the Dam took a tumble back in 1900. I, however, am still standing. So, what am I? I was originally in 31 locations, and have dwindled down to 15. I’m mostly 150′ tall. Frankly, I’m high maintenance. I have cost our city millions of dollars to revamp. I’ve been cut down, reworked, re-invented, moved and fussed with through the years. I starred in the movie Dazed and Confused, and I suspend colorful lights at Christmastime in Zilker park while children spin into a cacaphone of laughter and joy. That part of me—the part at Zilker—was originally at 8th and Brazos. In 1993, the City of Austin invested .3 million into my makeover. I’m rumored to be a star. In 1995, I even had a 3-day birthday party—that’s how big I am. Back in the day, I was one of the biggest tourist attractions the city had to offer. Today, I’m all too often mistaken for cell phone towers. Those who know me light up when they see me, though. I was born brilliant, and that’s a fact. Austin loves me for my nostalgia. There I glow again…pardon the pun. What am I? I am the historic Moonlight Towers. I’m lit 365 days a year…and that’s no joke! According to the Daily Texan from September 23, 2005, I’ve: seen the city through presidents from Grover Cleveland to George W. Bush, through world wars and the discovery of oil in Texas, through the birth of the automobile and the end of prohibition, through the extension of voting rights to women and minorities and the end of affirmative action. I am the Moonlight Towers. I am brilliant and I am Austin. What light do you cast in your part of the community? What galas do you inspire? When you see me—the Moonlight Towers—let me be a reminder of how our collective brilliance casts a welcome, respected, and time-honored presence in the community. We were born brilliant. Let our light shine! Want to see some Moonlight Towers? The lights come on as dusk approaches and illuminate a large area. The ones in red are easily found downtown; Nueces and W. 4th, Guadalupe and W. 9th, Blanco and W. 12th, Rio Grande and W. 12th, San Antonio and W. 15th, Nueces and W. 22nd, Speedway and W. 41st, Lydia and E. 1st (Cesar Chavez), Trinity and E. 1st (Cesar Chavez), Trinity and E. 11th, Coleto and E. 13th, Chicon and E. 19th (MLK), Leona and Pennsylvania, Eastside Drive and Leland, South 1st and W. Monroe, Canterbury and W. Lynn, Zilker Park The Moonlight Towers were officially recognized as state archeological landmarks in 1970 and six years later they were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

About the Author

Our real estate company offers a great service to those in need of purchasing or sellin a home in the Austin TX area. http://www.skyrealtyaustin.com/blog/We also know the history of town, we offer plenty of information about the local areas. http://www.skyrealtyaustin.com

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