Symphony Square

1101 Red River St Austinundefined

Austin History Center
Written By Austin History Center

The Austin History Center's mission is to procure, preserve, present and provide the historical records that make up Austin's unique story.

Symphony Square is a unique Austin attraction: a cluster of four historic limestone buildings around a 350-seat outdoor amphitheater not far from the Capitol. The buildings are currently the headquarters of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and the amphitheater hosts a variety of events and performances. 

The unusual triangular building, which houses the symphony’s box office and facilities office, was built in 1871 by Jeremiah Waller. Waller, who was born a slave, served as one of Texas's first African American legislators and was an early leader of the Texas Republican Party. Waller was a carpenter by trade and built the house for his family, which included seven kids, after he left the Legislature. 

The Michael Doyle House, which is now home to the Women’s Symphony League of Austin, is a surviving example of the one-story stone cottages common in 19th century Austin. The New Orleans Club Mercantile building, once a popular nightclub, is now an event venue. The Hardeman House, which houses restaurants, was moved here from its original location in East Austin.

The Austin Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1911 and was entirely comprised of volunteers. In 1948, they became the first symphony in the world to host a drive-in concert.

Cover photo: aprilnamy via Instagram.

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