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Bobby Cervantes with the ruins of the Sneed House in South Austin.

Frances Simnacher is a living Sneed — and Austin — legacy

Frances Sneed Simnacher, who turns 102 on Aug. 14, lives in the house where she was born.It was built in the 1850s by her ancestors, the Sneeds and the McCarthys, just east of the Montopolis area. Perched above Carson Creek — formerly called McCarthy Creek — it rises just a ...

John Houck and his wife Dee Leekha Houck at the Zilker disc golf course.

John and Dee Houck making Austin disc golf capital of the world

In 1982, a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., visited Austin. The former baseball, basketball and tennis player arrived with Frisbees in tow to compete in the World Freestyle Championships.Later that year, John Houck packed up his discs and moved to Austin.He went on to win the Freestyle Championships ...

DJ Protege keeps fans dancing at Rain on West Fourth Street.

Dancing downtown: Out all night to get lucky

People dance. Music demands it. Nowadays, Austinites dance at bars, clubs, studios, hotels, galas, house parties, dance halls and music venues, indoors or outdoors. During festivals, they dance in the streets. Some don’t wait for festivals to do so. Social dancing never went away. In fact, one could argue that ...

Bill and Sandy Woods at their wedding reception in 1965.

A time in Austin when everybody could know just about everybody

The 1960s was probably the last time when it was possible to know almost everybody of consequence in Austin.Even with sharp ethnic, social and economic divisions — as well as lingering segregation — one could bump into the putative leaders in this city of 200,000 souls almost anywhere.“Former Attorney General ...

DJ Nabiya de Grace, aka Grace Kim, is the resident DJ at Circuit of the Americas.

Grace Kim leads dance music culture out of the clubs

In her mid-20s, Grace Kim tended bar at the Davenport Lounge, the legendary house music spot in Houston. She found herself distracted by the music. “They were playing all this underground stuff,” Kim, now 35, recalls. “Stuff you don’t hear on mainstream radio. I’d write down the remix on a ...

Resident Doug Payne makes his way through the grounds of Marbridge to get his hair cut.

Marbridge promises a life of work, achievement and friendship

Barbara Jones didn’t make friends easily in high school. Overweight and unhappy, she was bullied. Even after high school in Houston, Jones wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of her life. Then, on the advice of a therapist, she moved into Marbridge, a residential center in Manchaca for ...

Larry Earvin and Roderick Smothers at Huston-Tillotson University’s pre-Juneteenth benefit.

Phoebe Fox’s ‘Breakup Doctor’ now on call

We knew that Austinite Tiffany Yates Martin was an expert editor of fiction. We suspected she wrote under the pen name “Phoebe Fox” with the same amusing acuity that she displays in daily conversation. We didn’t know, however, that Martin is a marketing maven and party planner. All this became ...

Mark Bowman, Dennis Quaid and Brett Cullen during a charity golf event in Austin.

Without an angle to play, Mark and Charley Bowman charm celebrities

Mark and Charley Bowman appear to live charmed lives.The Austin couple enjoy high-level jobs in sales and marketing. They occupy a dream home in West Austin. They travel often — from the Great Wall in China to the Pyramids in Egypt — after having met on a 1987 Caribbean cruise.One ...

Leo Ramirez has spent much of his adult life in the high tech biz, but he’s increasingly for some changes that could significantly alter charitable giving.

Leo Ramirez Jr. wants to turn small change into big changes

Leo Ramirez Jr. grew up in a South Texas mobile home park. College at Stanford University in California, therefore, shook up his social universe.“I didn’t grow up around black people,” the Austin strategist admits. “I was afraid of them based solely on what I saw in the media. I had ...

Clara Carrington-Stewart sang in the choir at Clarksville’s Sweet Home Baptist Church.

Clarksville and Wheatville were not Austin’s only freedmen towns

Even Austin newcomers will recognize the name Wheatville, if only because of Wheatsville, the food market that bears the ever-so-proximate name. Others can quickly tell you, too, that Clarksville is a mostly residential area west of downtown, although long-timers often argue about its exact boundaries. Some locals can explain that ...

An aerial photograph of Austin from the 1930s shows a much more compact city.

Reading 1930s Austin from the air

Crowdsourcing is a splendid thing. Combined with rigorous archival research and traditional interviews, the practice of soliciting ideas from a large group of people can produce crucial historical perspectives.Consider this: An aerial photograph of Austin from the 1930s was posted on social media two weeks ago. It was shared scores ...

Recently married Erin Quinn-Kong edits Austin Monthly magazine.

Erin Quinn-Kong orchestrates Austin Monthly

After a two-year tenure as yearbook editor, a young Erin Quinn-Kong realized that there were no clear paths to a career in yearbook editing. In fact, no careers at all.As early as age 15, she jumped on magazine journalism.“I liked news but leaned toward features,” she says. “Always loved profiles. ...

Emma Esparza and Cavan Merski at the Molly Awards.

Which strangers showed up for X Games?

Our city is now accustomed to masses of strangers streaming through our streets. Those associated with the X Games looked lissome, sun-soaked, a little on the rangy side.My first X Games party, at the Belmont, benefited the V Foundation. A modest affair with live music and non-overlapping social sets, it ...

Scott Johnson teaches golf and wind surfing, but he’s deeply involved in civic causes, too.

Going flat-out green with Austin’s Scott Johnson

As a boy, Scott Johnson felt only a vague tug toward ecology. Sensitive to smell, he wondered about diesel truck emissions. He recycled cans, partly because beer companies would pay for the aluminum.On Earth Day 1991, however, Johnson, who teaches golf and wind surfing, visited Zilker Park, where green groups ...

La Calle Ancha — “the wide street” — was not always neatly landscaped, but it served as a gathering place for Mexican-American, African-American, Lebanese and Chinese communities.

Recalling Austin’s ample East Avenue

Revived talk of lowering Interstate 35 as it passes through downtown has also revived memories of East Avenue, the old, broad street that the freeway replaced in 1962.Originally the eastern boundary of the city, this boulevard remained unpaved for much of its history. Across East Avenue, homesteads and farms stretched ...

The National Weather Service has identified Central Texas as the most flash-flood prone area in the U.S. Work is almost completed on the Waller Creek Tunnel, which will divert floodwaters to Lady Bird Lake and free up land along the creek.

A promise for tomorrow: ‘Austin’s Waller Creek’

It all started with a column published in this newspaper. A walking survey of Waller Creek from its headwaters in the Highland neighborhood to its silty mouth on Lady Bird Lake included some excerpts from Joseph Jones’ meditative “Life on Waller Creek.” Walter Wilkie, a recent transplant from New York, ...

Joseph Choi plays the piano beautifully. But he really wants to manage, too.

Joseph Choi swerves from sports to the piano

As a young boy in Hawaii, accomplished pianist Joseph Choi was all about sports — soccer, basketball, volleyball, anything he could get his hands on. “Dad was a soccer player,” says the former Austinite, 23, now studying in New York. “He encouraged me to play and was my coach all ...

Police escorted dignitaries for the opening of Interstate 35 downtown in 1962.

Decoding a 1962 photograph of Austin’s Interstate 35

Except for some boat-like cars parked in the southbound lanes, the freeway is empty. Men in dark suits and hats gather on the wide expanse of concrete. A woman in high heels approaches one of the men in a spirited manner. Meanwhile, girls in high-school marching uniforms assemble in clusters. ...

“Death Becomes Her,” a portrait of writer and designer Stephen Moser, is perhaps Micky Hoogendijk’s most famous image.

Photographer Micky Hoogendijk sees in dreams

A figure drapes a jeweled, chain-metal mesh over his pale features. Lower in the frame, black leather gloves half cover fingers tipped with roughened nails. Below a white fringe of hair, the subject’s eyes reflect deep, unaffected sadness. The lips are parted slightly, as if prepared to speak some line ...

Tony Trungale, branch manager at PrimeLending and host for the Elite 25 club of residential real estate agents.

Tony Trungale leads Austin’s Elite 25

The howls could be heard from the green hills in the west to the blackland prairies in the east.When the Travis Central Appraisal District revealed a sharp hike in property appraisals last week, neighborhood message boards lit up like Christmas trees.One group of Austinites could have predicted the unsettling upsurge. ...

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