Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
March 25, 2010
From the scrap heap it came, and to the scrap heap it will eventually return. But fans of the Cathedral of Junk in Austin, Texas, just don’t want it to go there right now.
The Cathedral of Junk has, like medieval cathedrals, risen slowly over many decades. It’s the creation of Vince Hannemann, who in the 1980s began taking in cast-offs and bric-a-brac and, piece by piece, massing them into a junk-art structure in his back yard.
The Cathedral has a spiritual predecessor, George Daynor’s Palace of Depression in Vineland, New Jersey. Unfortunately, that attraction was torn down. Fans of the Cathedral want it to avoid that fate. But the Public Assembly Code Enforcement Unit of the city of Austin has demanded that Vince remove certain items from his creation by March 31, or the whole thing will be bulldozed!
(We contributed a couple of junk pieces when we visited, and would gladly take them back if it would help).
The Cathedral’s fans are rallying, volunteering time over the next several days to clean up, add structural supports, and strip the edifice of its offending components, hoping to satisfy the city and prevent its closing to the public. We want their efforts to succeed. If they fail, however, the Cathedral may still rise from its ruins, as did the Palace of Depression. Unfortunately, in the latter’s case, it’s taken over 40 years.
But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
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Cathedral of Junk
- 4422 Lareina Dr., Austin, TX
- On the south side of town. US 81/290 to the Hwy 71 (Ben White Blvd E.) exit. Hwy 71 west to the Congress Ave. exit. Head south a couple of blocks, turn right on St. Elmo Rd W., then take the second left onto Lareina. Private home.
- By appt only. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
- RA Rates:
- Major Fun
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