The States­man’s many homes

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - INSIGHT - By Michael Barnes mbarnes@states­man.com Con­tact Michael Barnes at 512-445-3970 or mbarnes@states­man.com. Twit­ter: @outand­about

This is Part 1 of a two-part col­umn on this news­pa­per’s many homes.

Ben Sar­gent, po­lit­i­cal car­toon­ist, printer and his­tory ad­vo­cate, asks: “Has any­one ever listed all the var­i­ous places from which the States­man has been pub­lished in its nearly 150 years?”

“My cu­rios­ity was prompted while look­ing at a 1900 San­born (fire in­sur­ance) map of down­town Austin, and I no­ticed that in that year, ap­par­ently the pa­per was oc­cu­py­ing the Mil­lett Opera House,” writes Sar­gent, who is re­tired from the Amer­i­can-States­man. “There is even a lit­tle struc­ture out back ... la­beled ‘type foundry.’”

The Mil­lett Opera House, built as a theater in 1878 at 110 E. Ninth St., has played many roles. It now serves as home for the Austin Club.

“Any­way, I know of the fa­mous up­stairs-from-the-sa­loon lo­ca­tion at 10th and Congress, the won­der­ful ‘old build­ing’ at Seventh and Colorado (shame­fully razed by the Univer­sity of Texas), and of course the Guadalupe Street and the River­side Drive build­ings,” Sar­gent writes, “but there ap­pear to have been some un­known num­ber of other venues.”

I did a spot check among the Austin City Direc­to­ries at the Austin His­tory Cen­ter and found a lot of lo­ca­tions. Ap­par­ently, print­ing presses were very light and prac­ti­cally

mounted on wheels around the time the tri-weekly Demo­cratic States­man was founded in 1871. It was listed at Congress Av­enue be­tween Hick­ory (Eighth) and Ash (Ninth) streets in the 187273 direc­tory.

It had moved to the north­east cor­ner of Congress and Ash by 1877-1878. The direc­tory lists three other daily pa­pers, in­clud­ing the Texas Stern (Ger­man). In 18871888, the States­man (no longer Demo­cratic), was at 126 W. Pe­can (Sixth) St. and trun­dled over to 122 W. Sixth by 1891-92.

We’ll cover the 20th and 21st cen­turies next week.

CON­TRIB­UTED

This de­tail from a 1900 San­born fire in­sur­ance map shows the Austin States­man print­ing plant in the old Mil­lett Opera House.

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