[Editors note: I’ve always wanted to know the story behind the ubiquitous “Maufrais” stamped into the sidewalks of downtown Austin. Rob Hafernik wondered the same back in 2008. Below we’re reposting Rob’s article, originally published at Texas Escapes, and reveals some history about one of Austin’s most long-lived and mysterious brands… a legacy that began over a century ago.]
I’m a curious kind of guy. When I walk the dog, I wonder about the things I see along the way. Everyone in Austin is familiar with the word “Maufrais”, but almost no one knows what it means. There are poems about it, and blog entries wondering about it. There are even people who think “Maufrais” is as mysterious as crop circles.
The reason for this mystery is that the word is stamped into half of the concrete in Austin. Just in the space of one good dog walk, I see the word a dozen times or more. Now, it doesn’t take a genius to figure that it must be the name of a concrete company, but enquiring minds want to know more. These days, enquiring minds are as addicted to search engines as Wimpy is addicted to hamburgers.