The History of Zilker Café

Zilker Café at Barton Springs Pool is beloved by many in the Austin community. You won’t be surprised to hear local residents reminisce about ordering their favorite soda from the concession stand with their parent or grandparent in the early ‘60s. 

Zilker Café was constructed in 1960, with the intent of providing food and beverage services to locals and visitors of Zilker Park. It is a contributing structure to the Zilker National Register Historic District. The mid-century design of the building, designed by Paul Roesle, was intended to compliment the current Barton Springs Bathhouse. Paul Roesle was a Chief Architect of the Texas State Parks Board and noted for his Civilian Conservation Corps work in Texas. 

In early 2016, there was an inspection by the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. It was determined that there were many challenges in the building, ranging from severely deteriorated structural conditions, multiple violations of current codes, outdated utilities, and a lack of accessibility. Hazardous material reports indicated that asbestos and lead were also found in the building. The café was closed in 2016 when these structural and environmental problems were discovered.

After being closed for five years, and with the help of Jamail & Smith Construction, Zilker Café will reopen (date to be determined). Follow along with us as we break down the details of this significant project in the coming weeks. 

The rehabilitation of Zilker Café needed to reflect the original look and feel of the building and certain components of the building had to be preserved. How did we tackle this? Find out here.

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