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Driskill Hotel Addition
Austin, Texas


Description: Driskill Hotel Addition
Other Names: none
Address: 117 East Seventh Street, Austin, Travis County, Texas (addition fronts East Seventh St)
Type: hotel
Original Client:
Historic Inventory:
Date: 1928-29
Condition: extant

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Contractors: Waco Art Stone contractor for the art stone trimming
Dimensions and Orientation: 12 Stories shaft with penthouse: 80 feet in Seventh Street x 114 feet on alley side
Budget/Cost: $300,000

Wall Materials: press bricks  with limestone
Roofing Materials: flat
Other Materials Used: 
Remodeling and Additions: numerous interior alterations 1947 and 1952. The 1947 renovation included lowering the ceilings, installing another elevator, installing air-conditioning, and razing the Nalle Annex and building a five story addition with a penthouse.  The twelve story 1930 addition remains on the north side of the old Driskill and serves as the front entrance.

Present Owner:
Location of Drawings: Austin and Travis Country Library: photograph of rendering of perspective view as built
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: Ponsford 537, perspective view from alley side, photographs by Jordon-Ellison, Austin

Bibliography: (1)Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry Trost: Architect of the Southwest (El Paso Public Library Association, 1981) pages 59,74,89-91, discussed, 97:figure 71, photograhs of Peacock Alley interior: figure 70, photograph of exterior
(2) El Paso Herald June 25, 1928 page 3 ‘Draw Plans Here for Austin Hotel’
(3) El Paso Evening Post, September 26, 1930 page 20 ‘Architect to Austin’
(4) El Paso Evening Post, February 28,1929 page 5 ‘Design Austin Hotel’
(5) The Waco News-Tribune (Waco, Texas) January 14, 1929 page 5 ‘Waco Company Gets Austin Stone Contract’
Remarks:  The addition to the building is on the right side. The bar, dining room and rooms above. The first decision was to add two additional stories but later was changed to add a new adjoining building.

Joseph N. Preston and son of Austin designed the Driskill Hotel in 1885. The bust of J.W. Driskill cap off the west facade and the bust of J.W. Driskill cap the portico on Brazos Street

In 1884, cattle baron Jesse Driskill purchased the land at the corner of 6th & Brazos and hired the architectural firm of Jasper Preston & Son to design a hotel. The Driskell hotel opened on December 20, 1886. The hotel was a four star hotel and charged $2.50 to $5.00 for a room. At the time Austin was still a Wild West town and the rooms were consider to be pricey . The hotel closed in 1887. The second owner of the hotel was Jim “Doc” Day, who won the hotel in a poker game.

Over the next several years the hotel had various owners. In 1895 the hotel was purchased by George Littlefield and over $60,000 was invested for renovations. In 1903, Littlefield sold the hotel and took a $25,000 loss.

In 1930, the firm of Trost & Trost were hired to expand the original building. The first decision was to add two additional stories but later was changed to add an new adjoining 12 story tower and a penthouse. In addition the original 60 rooms were converted to include a private bathroom. Numerous interior alterations to the hotel were done in 1947 and 1952.

In 1969, The Driskill was slated for demolition. Most of the hotel furnishing were sold. A nonprofit organization ( Driskill Corp) saved the hotel by raising over $900,000. The hotel reopened in 1972.
The original 1930 addition is on the north side of the old Driskill and is the main entrance to the hotel.


Prepared for the El Paso Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrect under a grant form the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990