How to Assist the Copperfield/Northeast Austin History Project


The Copperfiield/Northeast Austin History Project needs research assistance in several areas. The Copperfiield/North Austin History Project is an online catalog of interesting historical events that have taken place in Northeast Austin. The project is a large project and research assistance is greatly needed. Can you help out? Such a project is suitable for anyone with an interest in northeast Austin area history, especially high school students working under a teacher's direction. Also, college students, retirees, and local history buffs are needed to lend valuable assistance to the project.

How Do I Help Out?

You help out by taking responsibility to research one of the issues in the list below. Sources such as newspaper archives, internet searches, books, and personal testimony from residents of the time are all valuable in seeking out information.
Send correspondence to richardfry@hotmail.com

List of Research Projects


1. Bonnie and Clyde's Visit to the Area

On May 15 and 25, 2000, Mr. Luther Fox of Austin was interveiwed and gave the following account. These are remarks that Mr. Fox made regarding his memory of the Bullhead Inn:
The owners were named Bull. The owner Mr. Bull once told my father that Bonnie and Clyde had stopped and eaten at his restaurant. I am a witness to him telling this to my father. I was there . . . . The place burned down in the 1930s . . . . You may see an abandoned road near the site that has been gated off. That is the old Highway #2 . . . ."

See further information at http://fryr.tripod.com/cfhistorybhinn.html
Questions: Do any of the books on Bonnie and Clyde refer to this stopover? or refer to their passing throughthe Austin area? Is there any public record that refers to their presence in the Austin area at a specific time? Is it possible to put a date on this event?

2. Elvis's Visit to the Area

An article regarding Dessau Hall (the dancehal at Dessau at Howard) in the Austin Chronicle (http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/vol17/issue33/music.dessau.html) states "And an up-and-coming rock-&-roll star by the name of Elvis Presley is reported to have played the hall twice: The first time, possibly in 1956, there was no one there; when he came back a year later you couldn't get a ticket." Questions: Are there any available records that refer to this event? Is there anyone in the Austin area today who can testify of this event? Note: Contact the author of the article, Jay Hardwig, at the Austin Chronicle. Also, consult the numerous histories of Elvis that are in the library.
It seems to be well known that Elvis played at the Skyline Club on October 6, 1955 (see this list of known Elvis concerts). The Skyline Club is a local historical item (see Copperfield History Overview).

3. Livestock Ponds

Until recent decades Northeast Austin was once covered by farms. The aerial map here shows two bodies of water that existed at the time. Can you identify the exact locations of where these dams/stock tanks were? Can you describe any remaining evidence of the existence of these large ponds?

4. Highway 2

Note: Do this before encroaching development covers over what remains of Highway 2. Highway 2 is a shut-down former highway paralleling North Lamar (which used to be Highway 81). The remains of this old Highway 2 may be seen today where the old road intersects the corner of North Lamar and Yager [from the intersection look south, southeast, you will see a pathway among the encroaching juniper trees].
Question: Can you find any maps of this old road, and the other fading roads of the area (such as Dillingham Road). Consult the Austin History Center. If you have permission, walk along the path. Can you identify any remains, such as the Bullhead Inn?
Also, see North Lamar Over the Years for further information on this roadway.

5. Dessau Hall

The Dessau Hall, located at Dessau Lane and Howard Road, has been an area landmark for many years. Music about Dessau Hall has been recorded over the years. A musician from Taylor, Jimmy Heap, in an online interview with Ray Campi said the following:
Well, our first recording session was about a big dance hall we played every Saturday night near Austin called Dessau Hall. One of the boys in the band, Horace Barnett, wrote a song called "The Dessau Hall Waltz" and we made a demonstration dub of it and Dessau Hall had a radio program every afternoon for about fifteen minutes advertising their dances and they started playing it on there and the response was so great that a recording company called Lasso Records contacted us, and also Republic Records out of New York, and wanted to buy the master of it. We didn't have a master so we cut them a master and that was our first recordings, and that did so well from there we went to Imperial Records.

In addition, I have been told that a record label by the name of Krazy Kat (sp?) once put out a CD or record called "Texas Dancehall Music" which has on it a song about Dessau Hall [possibly the one mentioned by Jimmy Heap, possibly a different one].
Question: Can you obtain recordings of the song(s) related to Dessau Hall and/or recordings of the daily radio program mentioned by Jimmie Heap? If so, can you create a web page from which the recordings may be listened to?
Alternative Question: Can you find further records on the history of Dessau Hall? Has there ever been a Dessau newspaper? If so, try to locate the archives. Tell the general history of Dessau Hall or of the community in which it is located.
Alternative Question: Can you create a web page with a collection of photos, newspaper articles, and personal accounts related to Dessau Hall?
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