Congress Avenue Historic District

Austin, Travis County

Congress Avenue is one of the most important and recognizable streets in Texas. Its birth can be traced to 1839 with Edwin Waller’s plan to build Texas’ new capitol city. Congress Avenue is and has been home to many architectural jewels designed by Jacob Lamour and other noted architects, though many of these properties have been razed.

A popular tourist destination, it is seen by many who travel to Austin and who admire the impressive capitol of Texas. With few protected buildings and no guidelines for compatible new construction, changes are eroding the character, sense of scale and design of Congress Avenue. The City of Austin only recently amended its ordinance to make historic districts feasible and thus the avenue’s streetscape has no local protection. Though designated a National Register District in 1978, additional, uncontrolled changes will jeopardize its continued eligibility for the designation.