U.S. Courthouse, Austin, Texas
Like other public buildings from the 1930s, the design and construction of the Austin U.S. Courthouse were part of the federal construction programs enacted to reduce unemployment during the Great Depression. Most notable among the programs was the Public Works Administration that provided thousands of jobs and funding for public service projects; one of the recipients was the Austin U.S. Courthouse.
In June 1934, U.S. Congressman J. P. Buchanan requested an appropriation of $415,000 for the construction of a U.S. courthouse in Austin. Groundbreaking took place on September 16, 1935. The building was formally dedicated and opened to the public on September 22, 1936. The Austin U.S. Courthouse is an excellent example of Depression-era Moderne architecture.
The building’s most famous tenant arrived in the 1940s when Lyndon B. Johnson, assumed the office of U.S. Congressman from Texas’s 10th district upon the death of Congressman Buchanan. As a U.S. congressman, Johnson moved into a suite of second-floor offices in the southwest wing, which he kept until 1949, when he became a U.S. senator. He then moved his offices to the first floor of the wing and remained there until after the beginning of his vice presidency in 1961.
In December 2012, a new United States Courthouse opened in Austin. The $123 million project was paid for by another government stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Recovery Act was in response to the economic decline and loss of employment caused by the Great Recession.
This courthouse is currently vacant. The General Services Administration is considering plans for the building’s reuse. (www.gao.gov)
Texas Historic Sites Atlas http://atlas.thc.state.tx.us/viewform.asp?atlas_num=2001000432&site_name=Austin+US+Courthouse&class=2002 Austin's new federal courthouse opens for business http://www.kvue.com/news/Austins-new-Federal-Courthouse-opens-for-business-182095041.html http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/658897.pdf
Project originally submitted by Larry Moore on May 25, 2014.
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