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Jefferson Commercial District

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1850–1860s. 100 block of W. Austin St. to 200 block of E. Austin St., and adjacent sts.

Remnants of Jefferson’s antebellum commercial district can be found throughout an approximate six-square-block area, mixed with late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century structures. One of the few remaining warehouses is the old Planters Bank Building (124 E. Austin) constructed by John Speake sometime after 1852. This is a typical Jefferson commercial/warehouse structure, with a two-story brick storefront facing E. Austin, attached to a one-story brick warehouse that opened onto Dallas Street facing the wharf. Jefferson merchants closely adhered to this prototype along Austin and Dallas streets, the only deviation being the height and type of construction of the warehouse. This building reflects the pervasive influence of New Orleans on the city’s commercial architecture, with masonry facades with tall round-arched openings on the first story, segmental-arched windows on the second, simple pilasters rising to plain cornices, and flat parapets.

Other notable examples of this type include the River City Mercantile Building (c. 1852; 111 W. Austin), the Old Kahn Saloon (c. 1862; 123 W. Austin), and the Old McGarity’s Saloon (1859; 61 E. Dallas). The Camp-Brown Building (c. 1850; 112 N. Vale Street) and the c. 1860 building at 121 W. Austin incorporate flat-arched openings on the ground level and a cast-iron gallery or balcony.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Jefferson Commercial District", [Jefferson, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 99-99.

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