The Guide to Austin Architecture adds tour of hike-and-bike trail landmarks

"Happy Trails" is a tour of landmarks on Austin's downtown Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail


The Guide to Austin Architecture adds a new tour to its roster today.

AIA Austin’s mobile-friendly website now offers “Happy Trails” a tour of 14 landmarks on the downtown Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. The tour illuminates fascinating, obscure histories of landmarks that trace the history of downtown Austin’s lakefront revitalization.

“We wanted to share our love for this trail and provide a new experience to Austinites during these strange times,” said Ingrid Spencer, executive director of AIA Austin and the Austin Foundation for Architecture. “So many landmarks on the trail have incredible stories — from the monumental to the mundane.”

Buford tower
Buford Tower. Image courtesy Austin Fire Museum

“Happy Trails” was produced by local architect and travel researcher, Bud Franck with assistance from the Trail Foundation. Franck co-authored the guide’s first tour, “Austin’s Main Street” which was released last September. That tour featured 25 stops along Congress Avenue from the lake to the Texas State Capitol.

Covering some 10.2 miles, the new tour includes places such as the Seaholm Power Plant and its lakeside intake building; Buford Tower, built in 1930 as a drill tower for the Austin Fire Department, and now a bell tower; and the mid-century Fannie Davis Gazebo which earlier this year was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

town lake gazebo
A 1969 view of the Fannie Davis Gazebo at Vic Mathias Shores at Town Lake Metro Park when it just completed. Seaholm Power Plant can be seens across the lake. The gazebo was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Image: Austin History Center, PICA 09283


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