For visitors or newly minted residents, Rainey Street is a vibrant part of Austin’s cultural character. It’s the home of hot bars and restaurants, a massive amount of construction, and a whole lot of hip young people on any given night. Even as the district’s development takes it from “charming houses converted into charming bars” to “condos, lots and lots of condos,” it’s still one of the signature entertainment districts in a city that attracts visitors from all over the state (and beyond) for, well, its entertainment districts.
People who’ve been in Austin for a while, though, are aware that prior to that Rainey Street, the neighborhood was very different: it was a residential, with houses owned by people who’d lived in them for years. The area was rezoned in 2005 to allow for commercial development—something that many residents lobbied for with the hopes that they could maximize potential sale prices as rising property taxes made remaining in their homes difficult.
Those who know the current Rainey Street can hear that history over craft cocktails, but this photo series on Flickr—made available via a Creative Commons license by a photographer who goes by “Outregis” on the photo-sharing site, and recently discovered by Reddit’s r/Austin board—gives a new level of perspective to a strip currently known for its bars and restaurants.
Check out some of the photos from Outregis’ set—as well as shots of how those old houses look now, and ponder your own mortality and the inevitable march of time, which will claim us all like so many houses converted into hip bars, before we are all eventually bulldozed for condos.