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February 23, 2018

Austin

by Steve Winogradsky

Over the past 25 years or so, I've been to Austin about once a year to speak at Entertainment Law conferences. I've had the chance to make some good friends that, even though we only see each other once a year, we enjoy the time we get to spend on these short visits.

Over time, the city skyline has changed, but it always amazes me to see how much construction is still going on. Like so many cities, vertical space has become as valuable as horizontal space, as evidenced by these pictures of downtown Austin.

Taken from a distance, note the construction cranes


Taken from across Lady Bird Lake
Being here for an extended period allowed us to see some sights we had not seen before. One of the them was the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. Given all the negativity about LBJ's handing of the Vietnam War, it is easy to forget that he came into office because of a great tragedy and accomplished many things in his terms of office. Among them were the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Freedom Of Information Act, the Public Broadcasting Act (creating NPR and PBS), signing Medicare and Medicaid into law and enacting many environmental protections.

I wish more of today's politicians acted this way.

He also enjoyed a good debate.


We also got to venture outside the city to see some of the local sights. There are four churches that are painted in a European style, due primarily to the Czech and German immigrants who settled there. These are in the area of Schulenburg, a small town about an hour outside Austin.

Main Street, Schulenburg TX
Although the churches are small in comparison to those we have seen on our trips to Europe, the amount of detail is astonishingly beautiful. The first church is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, established by Czech families in the community of Praha. Near the church are memorials to nine citizens of Praha who died in WWII. According to the plaques, these nine soldiers represented the highest percentage of casualties for any community in the US, which shows how small a community this is. The pictures tell the story of the church, the memorials and the cemetery, which contains many family plots with many members, as well as some tombstones of children who lived less than a few weeks after birth.



One of three memorials to the nine Boys of Praha





Along the roads between churches, we saw various domestic cows and horses and domesticated "farm" animals like deer, including this blackbuck antelope, native to India.


Next was St. Mary's Catholic Church at High Hill, settled by German immigrants.





We also went to Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in Dubina. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to go past the doors of the church, so our photos were limited.


Last was St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, sometimes called the "pink church", for obvious reasons.




Austin has many greenbelts, including Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake, which has a great walking path on both sides of the lake and a statue of Austin native, Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Austin's "pride and joy"
Add to this some good music and some good BBQ, and you begin to experience Austin as the locals do. It's always good to be back in Austin and I look forward to the next time, whenever that may be.

Next, on to a town in Texas few have ever heard of: Marfa.



Note: We were here at the end of January.

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2 comments >>

  1. Wow!! That was a GREAT tour of Austin....photos, descriptions, etc. Love the pic of you and LBJ!

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