With the final exhibition focused on the exploration of place, and our new political geographies, the historic McKean-Eilers Building at 323 Congress Avenue intentionally roots the artists work in one of Austin’s most defining places where, for generations, culture, community and civic life have intersected to shape the city.
The McKean-Eilers building located at 323 Congress Avenue sits equidistant from 2 of Austin's original downtown squares, Republic Square and Brush Square. In addition to providing relief from the built environment, these public green spaces also anchor many public transportation routes, including Capital Metro's Downtown Station for the red line and the many routes traveling north/south on Lavaca and Guadalupe streets.
McKean, Eilers & Co. was a wholesale dry goods firm in Austin, and was in continuous use there from 1897 until 1981. Named partially after August Johnson Eilers (1864-1939), a native Texan born in Bastrop County of Dutch immigrant parents, Eilers was an active and involved citizen taking part in many leadership and development endeavors in Austin in the early 1900s including the founding of the Colorado River Development Corporation, the predecessor of the Lower Colorado River Authority. He was the person who spearheaded the construction of the first outdoor swimming pool in Texas, now know as Deep Eddy Pool, and the development of the recreational area that became Eilers Park.
McKean-Eilers building (1897) Austin, TX. Style: Romanesque Revival. Architect: James Riely Gordon & Burt McDonald. It is a City of Austin Historic Landmark.
Photo: Austin History Center - http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth125065/