Paying homage to the city of Austin and Heritage Society’s roles in saving the Driskill Hotel, the 1886 Cafe & Bakery was opened on July 4, 2002. The following is a the ‘back story’ of how the citizens of Austin saved the beloved hotel.
In 1969, the Austin-American Statesman published an article titled “The Driskill’s Fate Sealed” – assuring imminent demolition to make way for a modern glass-façade office building. The Heritage Society of Austin responded by rallying local citizens to save the city of Austin’s beloved landmark. Volunteers sold $10 stocks in an unofficial “bake sale,” raising more than $900,000 to purchase the property, holding off the wrecking ball by forming the largely citizen-owned non-profit Driskill Hotel Corporation, and had the hotel declared a National Historic Landmark in November 1969, assuring the hotel’s lasting presence in the city of Austin. The Heritage Society founded the 1886 Lunchroom, successfully operated and staffed for over 20 years by members.