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The Grande Dame of Austin: A History of the Driskill Hotel by Monte Akers New For Sale


The Grande Dame of Austin: A History of the Driskill Hotel by Monte Akers New


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The Grande Dame of Austin: A History of the Driskill Hotel by Monte Akers

Author Monte Akers has written a fascinating history of the Driskill Hotel, the “grande dame” of Austin.The Driskill Hotel is more than just a place where a lot of people have stayed and dined during the last 132 years. Any luxury hotel represents a place of entertainment, escape and gala events, but the Driskill has served as the Capitol of Texas away from the Capitol, has welcomed hundreds of celebrities from Edwin Booth to John Wayne (including at least seven president) and has witnessed murders, suicides, gunfights, governors’ balls, fires, parties and outlandish pranks. LBJ took Lady Bird there for their first date, proposed marriage to her there and made it his headquarters on election night 1964. It is filled with stunning antiques and, if many people are to be believed, more than a dozen ghosts.

The brainchild of cattleman Jesse Driskill, it opened on December 20, 1886. Two weeks later, it hosted the inaugural ball for newly elected Governor Sul Ross. The city, the newspapers, the public and Driskill were certain of nothing but success and glory. It didn’t happen, at least not immediately.

The story of the Driskill Hotel is much more than a dry history about an old lodging place. Built in 1886 and designed to be on the cutting edge of elegance, it became a monument to Texas, the City of Austin, and its colorful owner. Over the next 130-plus years, the hotel served as the epicenter for Texas politics and Austin society. Along the way, it accumulated a vibrant collection of tales about political intrigue, murder, suicide, gunfights, and ghosts. When it was finally threatened with demolition after surviving some 85 years—much longer than the life expectancy of most hotels—the citizens of Austin and Texas rallied and saved it. Today it is not merely a reflection of Victorian-era elegance, but a breathtaking work of art. Paperback.

About the Author: Monte Akersis a practicing attorney in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Flames After Midnight: Murder, Vengeance, and the Desolation of a Texas Community (Universityof Texas Press, 1999 & 2011); Tales for the Telling: Six Short Stories of the Civil War on CD (Cold Creek Productions: 2005), The Accidental Historian: Tales of Trash and Treasure (Texas Tech University Press, 2010); Year of Glory: The Life and Campaigns of Jeb Stuart, June, 1862 to June 1863 (Casemate Publishing, 2012); and Year of Desperate Struggle: Jeb Stuart and His Cavalry from Gettysburg to Yellow Tavern, 1863- 1864 (Casemate Publishing, 2014); and Tower Sniper:The Terror of America’s First Active Shooteron Campus (co-authored with his son, Nathan Akers, and Dr. Roger Friedman) (John M. Hardy Publishing, 2016).

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