AUSTIN (KXAN) — One of Austin’s oldest landmarks, the West 6th Bridge, is a top contender to become the next historical landmark in Austin.
On May 17, the Texas Historical Commission voted to nominate the West 6th Bridge as an addition to the National Register of Historic Places. A listing in the National Register means the bridge’s historical or architectural significance is worthy of preservation.
“It’s an amazing Austin treasure that not many people know about,” Joanna Wolaver, Executive Director of The Shoal Creek Conservancy said. “The bridge was hand-built in 1887, before the State Capitol. They used all local resources and it is the oldest masonry arch in the state, making it particularly unique.”
If the nomination is passed, the National Park Service will review the application for approval. Wolaver said the conservancy’s first steps towards preservation include painting over graffiti, landscaping the grass around the area and adding a connected walkway for pedestrians.
“There are a number of issues with this bridge. There’s often graffiti and trash surrounding the area, and it really looks like a neglected place right now,” Wolaver said. “There’s an opportunity here to make it a destination on the trail.”
According to Wolaver, if everything goes as planned, the conservancy hopes to generate enough funding to start the restoration process within the next two years.
“We expect the U.S. Parks Service to approve the nomination this fall. In terms of funding, the conservancy envisions creating a partnership with the city, so raising funds that are both public and private. We’re applying for foundation grants and looking to the city for other grant opportunities,” Wolaver said.
Wolaver also mentioned plans to host concerts at the bridge to bring the community’s attention to this beautiful piece of Austin’s history.
Officials at the Shoal Creek Conservancy were first directed to this site thanks to one photographer’s work.