City Market House Interior circa 1940Source: (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/25861922310/). National Archives, Public Domain
The City of Austin built a farmers’ market in downtown Austin partially funded by a Public Works Administration (PWA) grant. A bond issue for the market was approved on May 18, 1928, but other city priorities and then the deteriorating financial situation in the country from the Great Depression prevented moving forward with the project. The city submitted an application for a grant of 30% of the cost of the market, and the PWA returned with a grant not to exceed $11,800 in October 1934. The city let a contract the same month for $48,000 to W.J. Schwarzer of Austin to construct the Page Brothers designed market building. The City Market House opened on June 6, 1935.
As large chain supermarkets began to dominate the market in the United States, their produce departments became a competitive alternative to the farmers’ market that consumers found more to their liking. The farmers began switching to growing their acreage in a single type of crop and selling in bulk directly to the buyers for the supermarkets. This led to the city operating a facility that was no longer in demand by farmers or consumers. The city closed the market on February 15, 1952. The building was eventually demolished to make way for Interstate Highway 35 through downtown Austin.
Weddell, Wray Jr. "City Market Kayoed by Supermarkets." Austin American, Feb. 14, 1952.
Project originally submitted by Larry Moore on April 24, 2018.
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