This fantastic neighborhood was built when downtown Austin was mostly residential. A relaxing stroll through the Bremond Block is a wonderful way to see the lavish homes that were once common in the Austin area. The Phillips-Bremond-Houston House (706 Guadalupe, built in 1854) is one of the oldest homes on the block. Wanting to keep his family close to him, Eugene Bremond purchased the surrounding area and built homes for many of his children and relatives. Eleven of these stately, historic homes still stand today.
Bremond Block, a National Register historic district in Austin, is one
of the few remaining upper-class Victorian neighborhoods of the middle
to late nineteenth century in Texas. The individual homes have been preserved
intact in almost unaltered form. Large live oaks and lush planting frame
these residences at the edge of a bluff a short walk from Congress Avenue.
Six of these houses were built or expanded for members of the families
of brothers Eugene and John Bremond, who were prominent in late-nineteenth-century
Austin social, merchandising, and banking circles. They are located within
the square block bordered by West Seventh, West Eighth, Guadalupe, and
San Antonio streets. The district also includes several houses on the west
side of San Antonio and the south side of West Seventh, at least three
of which were built or altered by the North family.
Across San Antonio Street from these is the large North-Evans Château, built originally in 1874 of limestone rubble, with a simple two-story porch. In 1894 architect Alfred Giles remodeled and expanded it into a late Victorian castle, with crenellation, Romanesque arcades in many galleries, a tower, and high terraces with huge buttressed retaining walls. The building has been the meeting place of the Austin Woman's Club for a number of years. At the south corner of the same street, the Eugene Bremond house (enlarged in 1877) is a large, rambling, one-story Victorian frame residence. Its porches have scroll saw brackets, paired slender columns, and bracketed eaves. Across the street on the opposite corner and on the bluff at 700 San Antonio is an 1877 apartment building of stuccoed rubble with a two-story porch and several additional stories behind and below on the steep bluff.
other two-story houses, on West Seventh, complete the Bremond Block's significant
buildings. Though both are of the local tan brick, they are of quite different
character. The Pierre Bremond house (1898) in the center of the block,
the last of the series to be built, is subdued late Victorian with a low-pitched
hip roof, a double gallery, and an unobtrusive tower on the west side.
The 1886 Second Empire style John Bremond house on the corner of Seventh
and Guadalupe is the most outstanding of all of the buildings and has been
pictured in textbooks as a graceful and exuberant example of Texas Victorian
architecture. Its crested mansard roof has elaborate dormers, polychrome
slate shingles, and concave bracketed curves on the front gable. The cast-iron
work on the wrap-around gallery is outstanding. This house and several
of the others were built by George Fiegel. All the buildings within the
Bremond Block are beautifully maintained.