Armadillo World Headquarters

Austin, United States

Armadillo World Headquarters

Armadillo World Headquarters (The 'Dillo or Armadillo WHQ) was an influential Texas music hall and beer garden in Austin at 52512 Barton Springs Road – at South First Street – just south of the Colorado River and downtown Austin. The 'Dillo flourished from 1970 to 1980. The structure that housed it, an old National Guard Armory, was demolished in 1981 and replaced by a 13-story office building.

In 1970, Austin's flagship rock music venue, the Vulcan Gas Company, closed, leaving the city's nascent and burgeoning live music scene without an incubator. One night, Eddie Wilson, manager of the local group Shiva's Headband, stepped outside a nightclub where the band was playing and noticed an old, abandoned National Guard armory. Wilson found an unlocked garage door on the building and was able to view the cavernous interior using the headlights of his automobile. He had a desire to continue the legacy of the Vulcan Gas Company, and was inspired by what he saw in the armory to create a new music hall in the derelict structure. The armory was estimated to have been built in 1948, but no records of its construction could be or have been located. The building was ugly, uncomfortable, and had poor acoustics, but offered cheap rent and a central location. Posters for the venue usually noted the address as 525½ Barton Springs Road (Rear), behind the Skating Palace (approximate coordinates 30.258 −97.750).

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