Arguendo and Dixi have been residents of Austin, TX for most of 20+ years. We have tons of pictures from our time spent here and continue to take pictures around town. Here we plan on showing a picture each day. We hope you enjoy it and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Buford Tower & Kitchens Memorial Chimes

"On Town Lake at Cesar Chavez Street and Colorado stands the Buford Tower, its few brick stories dwarfed by nearby office buildings. Its appearance gives no clue to its current use and only scant evidence of it's original purposes. Here stands a relatively short tower flanked by flower beds and parking spaces and fronted by a semicircular drive. The setting is a small lakeside park. The acute observer might notice a fire hydrant next to the structure. The hydrant is a clue to the building's past. It was constructed in 1930 as a practice facility for the city's firemen.

The tower consists of six one-room brick stories with internal metal stairs. There is a basement in which practice fires could be built. Firefighters could practice aerial ladder work, flood the upper stories, scale the walls and conduct rescue drills through the windows. The tower was burnt regularly for 43 years until 1974 when it was abandoned in favor of a new facility in a location away from the downtown area.

For four years following its abandonment the tower, undisturbed by regular human activity, stood with it's paneless windows wide open and became a six story pigeon coop. It's condition, to say nothing of it's appearance, deteriorated.

In 1978 the wife of the tower's builder led a camping under the aegis of the Austin Chapter, National Association of Women in Construction, to restore the structure. The restoration included the installation of a carillon and the tower assumed a new function. It went from blazes to birds to Back within the decade. The carillon is capable of a variety of melodies and can be programmed to chime the hour or half hour.

On August 23, 1978 the old fire practice tower officially became the James Buford Tower and Kitchens Memorial Chimes. Captain James L. Buford was an Austin firefighter who was killed during a heroic rescue attempt and Rex D. Kitchens was the tower's builder."

CREDIT: - Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 06, Number 02, Summer 1988, J. P. Bryan, editor, Journal/Magazine/Newsletter, 1988; digital images, ( : accessed July 29, 2011), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas Historical Foundation, Austin, Texas.

From Arguendo & Dixi's Daily Austin Photo


1 comment:

  1. We were in Austin in 2008 to see the Moody Blues, so we decided to tour some of the streets before the concert. I have a photo of the Buford Tower, but there was a lot of construction going on around it. Do y'all know what became of the area around the tower, and if it's still standing?