Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Lost Austin by John H. Slate

I was recently in Austin for less than 24 hours. I had a few morning hours with which to visit an old haunt or two, but it was raining, so I went to a new haunt instead, Book People, an independent book store. Before I got my cookie and hot chocolate, I looked around at books. There is a prominent section featuring books about Austin and the state of Texas. I found and bought Lost Austin by John H. Slate.

Lost Austin is a title in the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing. Like almost every other book from this company, it features 128 pages of local history photos with captions. Black and white, of course. In this case, the topic was what could no longer be seen in Austin, including buildings, institutions, and companies dating from the founding of the capitol city in the 19th century to the 1980s. As a 1970s era University of Texas student, I recognized numerous buildings and stores in the photos. I read with a mixture of pleasure and regret.

It is hard to decide whether I liked Chapter Two: Lost Austin Institutions or Chapter Three: Lost Food, Drink, and Fun more. Chapter Two includes photos from Eyeore's Birthday Party (originally a children's event that transformed into a student beer bash), images of The Rag newspaper, pictures of Armadillo World Headquarters, and photos of hippie vendors selling their crafts from blankets spread on the sidewalk in front of the University Co-op. Chapter Three shows 2-Js Hamburgers, the Rome Inn, and Les Amis restaurants, the Saigon Egg Rolls carts, and the Varsity Theater. There is a lot to remember.

I appreciate that Lost Austin verified some of my memories. The psychedelic black-light ice cream shop was named Nothing Strikes Back and the beloved record store was Inner Sanctum Records. I am sure I am not the only person missing them.

Slate, John H. Lost Austin. Arcadia Publishing, 2012. 128p. ISBN 9780738596136.

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