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Concert Venues :: Austin Municipal Auditorium


Now Known As Lester E. Palmer Auditorium
Date Opened Jan. 5, 1959
Venue Capacity 2,300
Venue URL
Venue Address 400 South First Street
Austin, TX 78704

Venue Information

The internationally renowned local artist Seymour Fogel came up with the dome's color scheme in 1955; he was never paid royalties, the architect arguing that Fogel's design was only for a scale model. Palmer Auditorium had its grand opening on January 5, 1959. The building has earned the nickname of "The Turtle" because of its green dome roof. The building sits on a 16 foot high man-made hill. It was created because of concerns of flooding along Riverside Drive from the Colorado River. President John F. Kennedy was scheduled to give a speech in the auditorium the day he was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963. In 1981 the Municipal Auditorium was rededicated and renamed the Lester E. Palmer Auditorium after Lester E. Palmer, the mayor of Austin from 1961 to 1967. In 2002 Lester E. Palmer attended the grand opening of the new Lester E. Palmer Community Events Center, completed in 2002 to replace the Palmer Auditorium.

This old building has been home to the annual Austin Record Convention, numerous gun and knife shows, Sami shows featuring arts and crafts, and many high school graduation ceremonies. Cat and dog shows are also popular events as well as music conventions and sports shows.

Located on the shores of Lady Bird Lake with enticing views of the Austin, TX skyline, the new Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center For Performing Arts incorporates materials from an older building that was partially demolished - the outdated Palmer Auditorium built in 1959 - and reused more than 65% of the materials in the construction of the new venue (and 95% of the debris was reused here of elsewhere rather than becoming landfill).

The Long Center was constructed from the shell of the former Lester E. Palmer Auditorium and opened in March 2008 after being completely rebuilt.

Venue Photos

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