Tag: Cathedral of Junk

Back in June, it looked like Austin's beloved Cathedral of Junk, a towering maze of miscellaneous materials, was going to be torn down after its creator, Vince Hannemann, was unable to work things out with city officials who seemed determined to legislate the landmark into obliteration. However, it looks like the Cathedral has life in it yet!

I spoke with Vince this week and he told me that, after he had decided the seemingly endless effort to bring the Cathedral under building code was no longer worth it, the city of Austin stepped up and worked things out with him.

It looks like the city finally came through and respected the citizens' wishes to "Keep Austin Weird."

Update: The Cathedral of Junk lives on!

This has not been a good week for roadside oddities. First, Ohio's Touchdown Jesus was razed by God himself, and now the City of Austin, Texas, has forced the closure and dismantling of the long-standing Cathedral of Junk.

The immense, interactive, multilevel sculpture comprising countless found items — crutches, mailboxes, bicycles, bottles, typewriters, you name it — has stood for 21 years as one of Austin's most loved folk-art sculptures and a definitive example of the attitude that gave rise to the city's motto "Keep Austin Weird."

Unfortunately, city officials threw a wet blanket on the installation back in March when they began ordering changes and demanding permits. Since that time, the Cathedral's creator, Vince Hannemann, along with a small army of volunteers, had been working to bring the sculpture up to code and keep it open. The city had even been fairly cooperative in extending deadlines to make preserving the iconic structure possible. The Austin mayor himself contacted Vince back in May to try to help things along. ... Continued

I've just been informed by a fellow detourist and fan of Weird Texas that the Cathedral of Junk, Austin's towering backyard monument consisting of old bicycles, typewriters, crutches and tons of other metal detritus, has come under fire from the city government!

Despite its being a part of the Austin landscape for the last 20 years, the city, in response to a recent complaint, gave the Cathedral's creator, Vince Hannemann, notice that he must either bring his creation up to local code or they will destroy his property.

I spoke with Hannemann today and he said there were absolutely no issues when he talked to officials as recently as six months ago, but they've now taken a firm stance against his unapproved, permit-lacking structure. It's another sad example of a city failing to recognize its true cultural landmarks. ... Continued

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Sure, it may be March already, but why should the spirit of Valentine's Day be over? After all, we eat Thanksgiving turkey well into December, leave our Halloween jack-o-lanterns out till they look like potatoes and leave our Christmas lights up all year round, so why not enjoy V-Day just a little bit longer?

OK, so I'm just making excuses for taking so long to post my Valentine's road-trip video. But, hey, it was tough work compressing so much weekend into just seven minutes and 47 seconds: my valentine Bethany and I spent the holiday exploring such oddities as the Cathedral of Junk, Smut Putt Heaven, Greater Austin Garbage Arts, a memorial to Stevie Ray Vaughan and an abandoned airport control tower.

Had my second book signing Saturday up in Denton. I have to say it was another great turnout! More good muffins, too. But I earned them this time by signing four 3-foot-tall stacks of Weird Texas before I left. Bad news, I guess, for the guy trying to sell one of my signed copies on Amazon.

I've also been hopping around the state taping a segment for Channel 8's Why Guy, Mike Castellucci. So far, we've hit the Cathedral of Junk in Austin, Stonehenge II out in Hunt and the Eiffel Tower of Paris, Texas, up near the border. The weather hasn't really been with us, but it made for a couple of interesting shots at Stonehenge II.

I haven't a clue what footage they'll be using from all of this, but hey, any excuse to put on my best Hawaiian shirt. Hell, they could've just told me they were buying me dinner at Austin's Chuy's and I would've made the trip. ... Continued