This is the Castleman-Bull house on Red River Street in Downtown Austin. Located just east of the Convention Center, most of us have driven past this curious property at some point in recent years.
It currently serves no purpose except as a popular spectacle of wonder for the hungover Moonshine brunch crowd. The blighted chain link fence and “keep out” signs hint at something ominous, but daring us to to get close as possible. I’ve always found it to be creepy in the coolest way possible. Time for some urban exploration!
The house is not original to its current location, and was transplanted to this parcel of city land. Without knowing its history you can determine this from its location on the east side of the 200 block of Red River Street, while the address nailed to the porch says “308”.
The original location of the house was 308 E 7th Street (corner of San Jacinto and E 7th Streets) and stood in the way of St. David’s church expansion. St. David’s – which acquired the house in 1963 and later donated the house to the City if they would move it. According to the Heritage Society, the house was moved on February 17th, 2001.
We all know what happens to homes donated to the City of Austin.
What did I find?
Remnants of a mid-century dropped-grid ceiling which masked dramatic high ceilings. Oddly placed walls erected next to the stair bannister. A legacy staircase to a non-existent basement. A lead glass transom windo. Potentially gorgeous hardwood floors, windows, and doors.
Here’s some interior photos! This wasn’t the complete house, and from the rear you can see it was attached to another structure. I suppose that’s where the bathrooms were (?) because they weren’t to be found in the remaining structure.