Like the bumper sticker says: Enjoy Austin, live in Elgin.
The City of Elgin, located about 25 miles east of Austin, was created by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad on August 18, 1872 and named for Robert Morris Elgin, the railroad’s land commissioner, following the practice of naming new railroad towns after officers of the company.
Elgin (the "g" is a hard "g", unlike the "g" in an "Elgin" watch) had as many as 20 trains a day coming through. Preservation efforts are underway on restoring both the passenger
and freight stations. Before everyone had a car, Elginites would charter whole trains for picnics in New Braunfels.
The two-story buffed brick building was built by Thomas O'Connor, who was an Irish-born brick contractor. When he found a source of high quality clay in the Elgin area, he no longer purchased bricks from Austin and, instead, manufactured his own.
Three brick manufacturing companies would be formed in the area and help Elgin earn the title, “The Brick Capital of the Southwest”.
These classic storefronts and original Elgin brick represent typical architecture of the time.
The ground floor was used by various commercial establishments, and the auditorium on the second floor hosted operas, shows, and "stars of the day," including Lily Langtry.
A fine example of Elgin's early brick architecture, this building was the home of Dr. William Wood's medical practice, Harvard McCloud's pharmacy, and a soda fountain.
Another claim to fame for Elgin is its location for movies. A list of recent movies include:
2008 Temple Grandin (O Films)
2007 Wire on the Blood (British Television Series)
2007 The Bubble Gum King (Documentary)
2004 Slipping Down Live
2004 Tom’s Wife
2004 Friday Night Lights
2004 Music Video Los Lonely Boys
2003 The Alamo
2002 25th Hour
Some productions from the 90s that were set in Elgin are:
1999 Varsity Blues
1996 Children of the Corn IV
1996 Cadillac Ranch
1995 The Big Green
1994 Shadows of Desire
1993 What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
1993 Perfect World
1991 In Broad Daylight
1990 Album cover photo (Stevie Ray Vaughn)
Some older works are:
1975 Great Waldo Pepper
1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The property is a good example of a two-part commercial building with elaborate detailing which retains its essential architectural integrity.
Built by J.C. Miller to house his furniture business, this two-story masonry structure was restored in 1985.
The Funeral Chapel was built in a space that had been an alley.
In 1971, after barbering for 61 years, Roy Ray died, leaving his brother to carry on. In 1992, D.B. Ray retired at the age of 100. Since then the shop has been remodeled, but it still houses the original fixtures. The barber pole was made out of an old water heater because earlier wooden ones kept getting knocked down.
The bank is Elgin's only structure from the Beaux Arts Period and may be the single most important structure in the community. Designed by world-renowned architect Hugo Franz Kuehne.
Believed to have been the second brick building in downtown Elgin. It first housed a general store and drug store on the first floor and an opera house upstairs. The Café opened in 1910 and continues to operate as a full service restaurant.
Constructed of red brick manufactured by the Elgin Press Brick Company, it features Queen Anne detailing and a distinctive corner tower with a conical roof. The house now serves as Elgin City Hall.
Information in this blog was contained in the "Heritage Walking Tour: Elgin, Texas" brochure and elgintx.com