Austin Cemetery conjures up memories of staples of yesteryear

Old haunts, a bygone club scene and yesteryear restaurants have caused a stir in a Nancy Friedel front yard graveyard in North Austin’s Crestview neighborhood.

Paying homage to dozens of institutions that once helped Austin reclaim its weirdness, decorative Halloween tombstones placed across Friedel’s landscape feature several beloved establishments that have disappeared over years of development and growth. the city.

The bakeries, bars and costume shops, once staples of the live music capital of the world, are gone, leaving only stories and memories for those who lived in a pre-boom Austin.

On Thursday, Nancy Friedel placed a guitar in her cemetery in Old Austin at her home on West St. Johns Avenue in the Crestview neighborhood.  Friedel and his partner, Ginger Bloomer, created the Halloween exhibit to pay homage to all the wonderful and weird people and places that have disappeared from Austin's past.

“We decided to create a graveyard of places we used to go, that we remember, that a lot of Austinians can relate to,” Friedel said. “And it was really just to open up conversations with the community and get people to connect.”

Along West St. Johns Avenue at Friedel Cemetery in Old Austin, neighbors and mourners can read displays and reflect on forgotten gems while touring the cemetery.

From Ms. Johnson’s Donuts and Baby Greens to Alamo Drafthouse and a handful of former LGBTQ nightclubs, the display shows the extent of businesses and entertainment venues that have disappeared over the years.

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Gaining traction on Reddit, hundreds of users also responded to the unorthodox Halloween memorial that Friedel and his partner, Ginger Bloomer, created, like a stream of stories from old college bars, to reliable sandwich shops where to find the best late night slice. pizza continues to fill a nostalgia-focused comments section.

"We decided to make a graveyard of the places we used to go, that we remember, that a lot of Austinians can relate to," said Nancy Friedel. "And it was really just to open up conversations with the community and get people to connect."

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Part of the conversation that Friedel and Bloomer hoped to spark — many stories from those with a connection to “Old Austin” — involve people and places still without headstones in their cemetery.

However, in response to the cemetery’s popularity, visitors are now able and encouraged to leave their own placards with mementos of settlements that have disappeared.

“I have wooden maps, and people can write down their own places that they remember and hang them on them,” Friedel said. “So it will only grow, but not take over my whole garden.”

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