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Latest from Michael Barnes

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Two Barton Springs lights are back on for first time in decades
 “Two bulbs … two years.” That’s how architect Emily Little describes the circuitous and eventually rewarding efforts to reilluminate the 1928 stone gateposts at Barton Springs Pool. On a recent November night, a crowd of about 100 supporters of the Barton Springs Conservancy, a nonprofit advocacy group, gathered with...

Posted: 26 days ago

“Two bulbs … two years.” That’s how architect Emily Little describes the circuitous and eventually rewarding efforts to reilluminate the 1928 stone gateposts at Barton Springs Pool. On a recent November night, a crowd of about 100 supporters of the Barton Springs Conservancy, a nonprofit advocacy group, gathered with...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Angels we have heard on high
 For Day 24 of 25 days in our series old Austin Christmas photos, we wanted carols. Music makes the season. But we found very
            few images from the distant past. So on Christmas Eve, instead we publish some more recent Austin-area pictures of merry caroling.
            They need no further explanation. Timmerman Elementary School...

Posted: 27 days ago

For Day 24 of 25 days in our series old Austin Christmas photos, we wanted carols. Music makes the season. But we found very few images from the distant past. So on Christmas Eve, instead we publish some more recent Austin-area pictures of merry caroling. They need no further explanation. Timmerman Elementary School...
Austin shouts to home seller: ‘Dennis Quaid, come back!’
 Like the tow-headed kid, Little Joe, at the end of the 1953 Western, “Shane,” we’re shouting: “
            Dennis Quaid, come back!” Quaid, who starred in a quizillion movies, once called Austin his primary home. He even married a hometown beauty, 
            Kimberly Buffington, and took a mansion here...

Posted: 28 days ago

Like the tow-headed kid, Little Joe, at the end of the 1953 Western, “Shane,” we’re shouting: “ Dennis Quaid, come back!” Quaid, who starred in a quizillion movies, once called Austin his primary home. He even married a hometown beauty,  Kimberly Buffington, and took a mansion here...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Inspired by ancient Texas churches
 Done with the lights, presents, kids, cards, parties, charity, trees, shopping, food and jolly bearded men, Day 23 of 25 days
            of old Christmas photos takes us to Texas churches ready for the big day. We chose a few inspirational images from across
            the state. St. David’s Episcopal Church, the oldest in Austin...

Posted: 28 days ago

Done with the lights, presents, kids, cards, parties, charity, trees, shopping, food and jolly bearded men, Day 23 of 25 days of old Christmas photos takes us to Texas churches ready for the big day. We chose a few inspirational images from across the state. St. David’s Episcopal Church, the oldest in Austin...
Austin Answered: The case of the lost Austin chicken fried steak joint
 Joan Randall of South Charleston, W.V., writes to our Austin Answered project: “I am a former resident of Austin — graduated from University of Texas in 1976 — and have fond memories of a great dive up a hill and climbing steps to get there. Absolutely fabulous chicken fried steak! And I believe one could also sit outside...

Posted: 28 days ago

Joan Randall of South Charleston, W.V., writes to our Austin Answered project: “I am a former resident of Austin — graduated from University of Texas in 1976 — and have fond memories of a great dive up a hill and climbing steps to get there. Absolutely fabulous chicken fried steak! And I believe one could also sit outside...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Behold the joys of our juniors
 We’re almost there on Day 22 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. Today we look back at childhood reactions to holiday
            treats. John Albert Degollado, 2, reaches out for a mechanical reindeer at Barton Creek Square Mall in 1984. He was shopping with
            his father Fred Degollado. Tom Lankes/American-Statesman...

Posted: 29 days ago

We’re almost there on Day 22 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. Today we look back at childhood reactions to holiday treats. John Albert Degollado, 2, reaches out for a mechanical reindeer at Barton Creek Square Mall in 1984. He was shopping with his father Fred Degollado. Tom Lankes/American-Statesman...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Look what Santa left us
 Day 21 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos finds us gazing at shiny presents from the past. This 1989 Santa swept us off our feet. The trees were exhibited at Texas Instruments on Research Boulevard, part of TI’s annual
            tree giving project. Employee Judy Terry gives a second glance at Robert Medina’s “Winter...

Posted: 30 days ago

Day 21 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos finds us gazing at shiny presents from the past. This 1989 Santa swept us off our feet. The trees were exhibited at Texas Instruments on Research Boulevard, part of TI’s annual tree giving project. Employee Judy Terry gives a second glance at Robert Medina’s “Winter...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Singular holiday food and customs
 We swerve into Day 20 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos with images of hard-to-match holiday food and customs from
            the American-Statesman archives. There were no notes on the back of this 1980 print, but it pretty clearly reveals a local revival of the St. Lucia ceremony
            from the Scandinavian tradition. How...

12:55 AM Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017

We swerve into Day 20 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos with images of hard-to-match holiday food and customs from the American-Statesman archives. There were no notes on the back of this 1980 print, but it pretty clearly reveals a local revival of the St. Lucia ceremony from the Scandinavian tradition. How...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Fabulous nearby holiday parades
 Day 19 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos returns to towns and cities beyond our limits. Going through the archives we’ve been fascinated with the pictures from a 1950s Christmas parade in nearby Taylor and a similar
            one in Abilene. We couldn’t get enough of the images. And there’s a lot more out there...

6:47 PM Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017

Day 19 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos returns to towns and cities beyond our limits. Going through the archives we’ve been fascinated with the pictures from a 1950s Christmas parade in nearby Taylor and a similar one in Abilene. We couldn’t get enough of the images. And there’s a lot more out there...
Old Austin Christmas photos: The cheery recent past
 We didn’t want to ignore some of the recent and very popular Statesman photography as we bump into Day 18 of 25 days of old
            Austin Christmas photos. The Trail of Lights has been damp and muddy the past two days. We’re hoping it dries out soon. Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman A Christmas Affair from the Junior League...

9:35 PM Monday, Dec. 18, 2017

We didn’t want to ignore some of the recent and very popular Statesman photography as we bump into Day 18 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. The Trail of Lights has been damp and muddy the past two days. We’re hoping it dries out soon. Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman A Christmas Affair from the Junior League...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Sending out the cards
 How could we forget the traditional holiday photo missive on Day 17 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. We reached
            back as far as we could for a variety of personal Texas Christmas cards. This one from Essie Anderson is undated, but it is direct, powerful even today. Collection of T.B. Willis This seems to have been sent...

3:38 PM Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017

How could we forget the traditional holiday photo missive on Day 17 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. We reached back as far as we could for a variety of personal Texas Christmas cards. This one from Essie Anderson is undated, but it is direct, powerful even today. Collection of T.B. Willis This seems to have been sent...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Trimming the tree
 And you thought we were running out of images on Day 16 of 25 days of Austin Christmas photos? How little you know us. Today
            we’re trimming the trees. This Austinite, identified only as “Mrs. Toll,” created the little feathery white things (pictured) to add to Christmas trees,
            which she called &ldquo...

6:29 PM Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017

And you thought we were running out of images on Day 16 of 25 days of Austin Christmas photos? How little you know us. Today we’re trimming the trees. This Austinite, identified only as “Mrs. Toll,” created the little feathery white things (pictured) to add to Christmas trees, which she called &ldquo...
UFO reported over Austin in 1897
 Balloon? Airplane? UFO? What flew over Texas — including Austin — with searchlights in April 1897? Bob Ward of the Travis County Historical Commission drew our attention to this airborne mystery. We’re not suggesting aliens, but the reports fit the definition of an “unidentified flying object.” A headline in...

6:00 AM Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017

Balloon? Airplane? UFO? What flew over Texas — including Austin — with searchlights in April 1897? Bob Ward of the Travis County Historical Commission drew our attention to this airborne mystery. We’re not suggesting aliens, but the reports fit the definition of an “unidentified flying object.” A headline in...
Old Austin Christmas photos: It’s all about the kids, right?
 It’s already Day 15 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. We decided to concentrate on the kiddos this time. A couple
            of the images are hard to identify, but that’s OK decades later. We know that these are Austin children taken by Neal Douglass on Dec. 15, 1951. Are you one of them? Seriously, try to find
   ...

3:58 AM Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017

It’s already Day 15 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. We decided to concentrate on the kiddos this time. A couple of the images are hard to identify, but that’s OK decades later. We know that these are Austin children taken by Neal Douglass on Dec. 15, 1951. Are you one of them? Seriously, try to find ...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Light up the lights
 Day 14 and we have not given up on our 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. We branched out today to include Christmas
            lights in neighboring towns as well as some favored old Austin traditions. This one is sweet: Christmas lights and decorations in Thorndale during the 1950s. No traffic jams here. Taylor Public Library Leslie...

1:41 AM Friday, Dec. 15, 2017

Day 14 and we have not given up on our 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. We branched out today to include Christmas lights in neighboring towns as well as some favored old Austin traditions. This one is sweet: Christmas lights and decorations in Thorndale during the 1950s. No traffic jams here. Taylor Public Library Leslie...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Santa takes off!
 We have arrived safely at Day 13 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. Today, we include a few samples from other historcial
            Texas sightings of Santa Claus. In 1955, Santa chose Continental Airlines for his Austin stop. Remember embarking and disembarking from the tarmac at Mueller? Neal Douglass. Austin History Center, ND-55-394-01...

3:48 PM Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

We have arrived safely at Day 13 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos. Today, we include a few samples from other historcial Texas sightings of Santa Claus. In 1955, Santa chose Continental Airlines for his Austin stop. Remember embarking and disembarking from the tarmac at Mueller? Neal Douglass. Austin History Center, ND-55-394-01...
Hit the highway with the Blanton Museum’s ‘Open Road’
 Grab the keys. Pile into the car. Time for a road trip. Through Jan. 7, you and the family won’t be forced to drive far to soak up the images, feelings, dramas and unfettered dreams of this timeless American obsession, since the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas presents the magnificent touring exhibition, “The...

6:00 AM Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

Grab the keys. Pile into the car. Time for a road trip. Through Jan. 7, you and the family won’t be forced to drive far to soak up the images, feelings, dramas and unfettered dreams of this timeless American obsession, since the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas presents the magnificent touring exhibition, “The...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Trees in the raw
 Day 12 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos takes us out to the tree lot. Note that none of our subjects are really bundled
            up. It is Central Texas after all. We picked out this image in part because it reminded us of “The Open Road” photography exhibit about American road trips now
            at the Blanton...

3:01 PM Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017

Day 12 of 25 days of old Austin Christmas photos takes us out to the tree lot. Note that none of our subjects are really bundled up. It is Central Texas after all. We picked out this image in part because it reminded us of “The Open Road” photography exhibit about American road trips now at the Blanton...
Old Austin Christmas photos: Before Season for Caring
 Welcome to Day 11 of 25 days with old Austin Christmas photos. Today we look at helping the needy before the advent of the
            American-Statesman’s 
            Season for Caring campaign. In 1982, Janet Huston and Sally Painter pack food for the needy at Temporaries Inc.,  heavy on the canned food. Jay Godwin/American-Statesman...

4:30 PM Monday, Dec. 11, 2017

Welcome to Day 11 of 25 days with old Austin Christmas photos. Today we look at helping the needy before the advent of the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign. In 1982, Janet Huston and Sally Painter pack food for the needy at Temporaries Inc.,  heavy on the canned food. Jay Godwin/American-Statesman...
Find the art you want at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
 From humble church bazaars scattered across the region to the giant Armadillo Christmas Bazaar at the Palmer Events Center, there are plenty of arts, crafts, books, clothes, music and other items available to give as gifts or to upgrade your living circumstances. To give the holiday shopper a better sense of the variety at the eclectic...

6:00 AM Monday, Dec. 11, 2017

From humble church bazaars scattered across the region to the giant Armadillo Christmas Bazaar at the Palmer Events Center, there are plenty of arts, crafts, books, clothes, music and other items available to give as gifts or to upgrade your living circumstances. To give the holiday shopper a better sense of the variety at the eclectic...
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