Cherrywood History: Delwood Behold, the Future is Now!

1951 newspaper promo for Delwood Center details how Delwood came to be

Researched by Rebecca Kohout, written by Steve Wilson (Reposted from the Winter Flea)

When you cut out the fluff and hyperbole about the “realization of a dream” and “a shopping center to supply the every need of Delwood citizens,” this 1951 article from the Austin American-Statesman about the official opening of Delwood Center ain’t half bad. That is to say, it offers a succinct history of Cherrywood’s Delwood section. And, to the modern eye, it’s kind of funny.

Here are the highlights:

The Giles: Cherrywood pioneers

“In 1924 Mr. and Mrs. Bascom Giles and their one-year-old baby moved into a home in the 4300 block of what was then Cameron Road, now East Avenue and the site of a new interregional boulevard. The 200 acres they held then in their home tract was quite a contrast to the Delwood of today—the whole area, in fact, was little more than pasture land. … Through the years they acquired additional land, with the intention of developing the area through to the old Giles homestead on the Manor Road. In 1929 they sold part of their property to the city, making room for erection of the Municipal Airport. Of the dozen or so residential subdivisions in that part of north-east Austin, Mr. and Mrs. Giles had a part in the development of at least eight—including Delwood, One Two and Three, and Giles One and Two.” Delwood Shopping Center 2 Did he envision businesses like Chicas Bonitas strip club when he said this?

“Mr. and Mrs. Giles are sole owners of the property and building for Delwood Center. They have expressed hope that their project will be only the beginning of far-reaching commercial development in the Delwood area. ‘I expect this to be only the first of many fine developments along the interregional highway,” declares Giles. “Undoubtedly many other developments will be built along this artery of traffic.’”

Kiddie rides! A 16-inch TV! Shoppers, welcome to paradise!

“Unofficially, the gigantic opening event will begin at 6pm on Friday when the four kiddie rides on the midway in front of the center start the entertainment schedule for the younger set. However, the real launching of the open house will be Friday at 7pm, the time set for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be conducted by Mayor W. S. Drake Jr.  The center will give away five portable radios and a television with a 16-inch screen.”

Soda fountain and dentist: The cycle is complete.

“Taking part in the open house will be

  • Checker Front Grocery No. 19
  • Delwood Pharmacy (featuring a soda fountain)
  • Capitol Seed House No. 2
  • Lamme’s Candies No. 3
  • Winn’s Stores, Inc.
  • Studer’s Delwood Store
  • Delwood Dry Cleaners and Washatorium
  • Balko’s Humble Service Station, which is not actually part of the center but is located immediately in front of it.
  • The building also houses the office of Dr. W. L. Meier Jr., dentist.”

Delwood Shopping Center 1 Parking

“To insure adequate parking space, even in peak periods of trade, more than 12 acres have been reserved as a parking area. … Around the front of the building, there is a paved parking area which will accommodate angle-parking of approximately 500 cars. Behind the center, the remainder of the 12 acres is set aside for parking space needs of the future. In all, a total of 1,000 cars can be accommodated.”

Back in the days when so-called “rain” was a concern in Austin

“For easy access to the center, an arcade has been built through the main building, connecting the front of the stores with the back parking lot. An awning-shaded walk-way gives the customer protection all the way around the front of the center, so that in case of rain he need travel no more than a maximum of 50 feet in the open to reach his car.”

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