Austin Woman’s Club
708 San Antonio St, Austin, TX 78701
The Austin Woman’s Club, designed by San Antonio architect Alfred Giles (1853-1920) in 1874, was constructed as a two-story plus basement residence known as Bellevue Place. It’s also known as the North-Evans Chateau or Chateau Bellevue. The residence was built on the bluff of Shoal Creek in a residential neighborhood west of downtown Austin.
Giles remolded the home 20 years later for a subsequent owner, Major Ira Hobart Evans (1844-1922), into a French Romanesque structure complete with crenellation and buttressed walls. Major Evans was a Civil War veteran, director of the International-Great Northern Railroad, and a co-founder of the American National Bank in Austin. In 1870, he was elected speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and was the youngest person to serve in this position. Evans worked to secure education for newly freed slaves and helped to establish and fund Tillotson College, currently known as Huston-Tillotson College.
In 1929, the Austin Woman’s Club purchased the building from the Evans estate, the same year the club was founded. The founding members, including Governor Miriam A. Ferguson, joined with other groups to secure a place for women to gather, learn and network. Since then, the Club has been integral to the civic and social life of Austin. The Club added a dining wing in 1960 and continued to maintain the original structure including the stunning interior wood finishes.
The Austin Woman’s Club building suffers from deterioration and antiquated infrastructure. The mortar in the limestone has deteriorated, allowing water to seep into the walls of the building which has compromised the structural integrity in certain areas. The building’s electrical system needs to be replaced and central air conditioning needs to be installed. Like many civic organizations, the Club’s members struggle to preserve their historic headquarters while continuing their history of serving the community.