On My Block: 12th & Chicon

The area around 12th & Chicon streets is in the midst of a radical change that's been decades in the making. KUT is exploring what happens when a place becomes valuable to a new group of people.

For more, check out our website for the series or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or the direct feed.

Property ownership can be a stealth business, with land changing hands before anyone even has time to notice.

For the past four years, one North Texas company has quietly bought up property on East 12th Street. Ironically, the company takes its name from a cry of surprise and discovery: Eureka!

Austin History Center

On a vacant lot at the corner of East 12th and Salina streets, Ada Harden sees a silver screen where a fence now stands.

“Can you imagine a theater sitting right here?” she asks, giggling. She certainly can.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Colette Pierce Burnette didn’t have the smoothest of landings when she arrived in Austin just over two years ago.

She fell in the Atlanta airport and was dependent on ride-hailing apps to get around for the first couple of weeks. To add insult to injury, most of her drivers didn’t know how to get to her new workplace, Huston-Tillotson University, where she was taking over as the school’s president.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex sits at the corner of Hargrave and Rosewood in East Austin, but its story starts several blocks west on 12th and Chicon. And it starts with a tragedy.

It was near that corner, a couple days after Christmas in 1992, when 16-year-old Tamika Ross was killed. According to reports at the time, she and her friends were hanging out in a church parking lot. A car drove up and shots rang out, leaving Tamika dead and five others injured.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

In the neighborhood around 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin, change seems to be the only constant. We've been bringing you the voices of people in that neighborhood over the past few months as part of our On My Block project. Today, we hear from Gary Tharp, who owns the Texas Sausage Company on 12th Street. 

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