Charles Lundberg emigrated from Sweden and settled into Austin in 1872, where he found work as a baker's apprentice. He had his own bakery built at 1006 Congress in 1876. It was made of limestone with a brick facade. An eagle, with wings spread, perched atop the gabled roof.
The building has undergone a few changes over the years. It originally consisted of two parts, a front store section and a back warehouse, with a chicken coop in the yard between them. Eventually the two sections were joined together. The store front featured an iron canopy, which covered the sidewalk. At some point this overhang had been removed and replaced with a wrought iron balcony. Renovations later restored the canopy.
The front of the Lundberg Bakery building.
After Lundberg passed away in 1895 the bakery changed hands a few times before hitting a string of bad luck after 1937. Ownership changed frequently and just as frequently the building sat empty. In 1962 the Austin Heritage Society purchased the property and began much needed repairs. A soup and sandwich shop was set up, with a convenient location for tourists visiting the capital building one block north.
Note the newer brick walls which link up the two older, once separate, buildings.
Texas had plans for the block containing the bakery in 1970, when it purchased the land. The state intended to build a new Highway Department headquarters building on the property. A concession to the historic nature of the bakery was the intention of saving the from half of the building and incorporating it into the new, larger structure.
Fortuitously, removal of the other buildings on the block uncovered stone ruins from the State Capital used from 1882-1883. The discovery prompted the state to save the corner north of the bakery as a park and the Highway Department plan was shelved.
Today, the building continues to serve the public as the Old Bakery and Emporium. The shop sells arts and crafts as well as sandwiches, coffee and soft drinks. They are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM and Saturdays in December prior to Christmas from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
Austin - The Past Still Present