Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Downtown construction uncovers hidden gems of Austin’s past

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TWC News: Downtown construction uncovers hidden gems of Austin’s past
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Cranes and bulldozers are shaping Austin’s future, and at the same time, they are revealing pieces of the city’s past.

An example of the new uncovering the old is an old-fashioned advertisement for Joseph’s Men’s Store on Congress, which was recently made fully visible thanks to the construction of the new J.W. Marriott hotel.

City historian Steve Sadowsky says the Joseph family used the drugstore wall to promote their men's store up the street.

"The Joseph family owned this building from 1910 on and there was drugstore, and that's probably where the refresh yourself and Wrigley's spearmint ads came about," Sadowsky said.

The vintage-feel of the advertisements were so popular at the turn of the century, just a short walk up Congress Avenue and you'll come across another one inside Swift’s Attic.

When Swift's Attic moved in above the Elephant Room, they uncovered an ad for the Sun Set Central railroad and decided to keep it.

"We can't think this up. Truth is stranger than fiction, so much history it took 105 years to have this kind of character, we just really lucked out," C.K. Chin with Swift’s Attic said.

The Dress Shop downstairs from Swift’s Attic also kept its ad half visible, a decision completely up to the business owner. Sadowsky said the city doesn’t protect murals or advertisements.

Right now, they are just bits of history that could only be o display for a little while longer.

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