Austin Answered: Where was the old Soap Creek Saloon?

The long-ago music venue was located on a pot-holed dirt road in the hills.

Reader Jim Wolverton asks of our Austin Answered project: What was the location of Soap Creek Saloon off Bee Caves Road back in the 1970s? He remembers going there as a 19-year-old.

If you never visited the legendary music venue, its then-remote location outside the city limits surely must appear shrouded in the fog of history. Even if you did go — given the heady times — you might not recall the exact spot very well.

The short answer: You headed out RM 2244 just past Old Walsh Tarlton to about 3200 Bee Cave Road — the original address is gone — and took a left onto a rutted dirt road that led up to a roadhouse on a hill.

The original building no longer exists. Former owner George Majewski told the American-Statesman in 1996: “There are now $200,000 condos where my septic tank used to be.” Imagine what those condos go for in 2017.

The longer answer: Soap Creek was a matchstick for cultural fusion — home to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Marcia Ball, Doug Sahm and others — when musical styles mixed at the Armadillo World Headquarters, Castle Creek and elsewhere.

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“Soap Creek Saloon, actually, had more to do with sinking the nail of the times — hippies mixing with rednecks — than the Armadillo,” says Eddie Wilson, keeper of the Armadillo flame. “We were more ‘All in the Family’ by comparison. Soap Creek was out of town. Right before your eyes, you could see the rednecks coming out of the hills with the slightly longer hair. It was the hippie chicks’ fault.”

In 1978, Soap Creek moved into town, first to the old Skyline Club, a venerable country spot on North Lamar Boulevard, then later to South Congress Avenue and Academy Drive before closing in the 1980s. In the Austin Chronicle, the late Margaret Moser called the alignment of that final Soap Creek with the Continental Club and Austex Lounge the “South Austin Triple Crown.”

GET UP TO SPEED: Check out other Austin Answered stories arising from readers’ questions:

What’s in a name? Lady Bird Lake vs. Town Lake

Why was Austin originally named Waterloo?

Where are Austin’s Cold War missile sites?

Why did tree-named streets switch to numbered names?

Why is the Travis/Williamson county line so crooked?

Where does money spent at Austin’s airport go?

Why don’t Austin police cite bicyclists?

Who is Maufrais, and why is the name written on Austin sidewalks?

Why doesn’t Austin have more east-west highways?

Who picks up road debris after a fender-bender?

What were Stephen F. Austin’s views on slavery?

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What is price gouging and how much gas can you buy?

Why did the bathroom bill become such a big thing this year?

Where do the Congress Avenue bridge bats go at night?

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