Varsity Theatre

Varsity Theatre

I enrolled at the University of Texas in 1995… when Tower Records was the SPOT!  I was buying Wu-Tang CDs like Ol’ Dirty Bastard was having kids.  The building was originally the Varsity Theatre.  In recent years it’s been vacant, after a poorly timed retail attempt by a bookstore, Intellectual Property Capital.  The ABJ’s Jacob Dirr scoops what’s next for one of the most desirable retail sites in Austin, along with some history of the building.  We found some old photos to share with you.

As I get older and appreciate nostalgia (including old Wu-Tang albums), I found a forum with links to historic photos of the property.  Tower Records was responsible for the new-urbanist no-no of removing the windows from 24th Street.  But the murals they replaced those windows with made it easy to forgive them.

Local photographer Blaine Pennington has some cool images…
Varsity Theatre circa 1989? [link]
Varsity Theatre last day [link]
Varsity Theatre corner, creepy photo showing no people [link]

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157623557057090″]


Images from Austin History Center via ParamountBooth


Notice the trolly tracks going up Guadalupe!

From American Classic Images

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    I saw “Earthquake” at the Varsity in Sensurround and sat right next to one of the subwoofers. Because of the age of the building (even in 1974) there was some concern for structural damage from the film’s vibrations. It may have just been a publicity stunt, but MCA-Universal Pictures said they hired a structural engineer to make sure the theater wouldn’t fall down. It didn’t.

  2. The name of the most recent bookstore was actually Intellectual Property, not Intellectual Capital.

Add New Comment or Leave Reply