401 W. 2nd St.
Jacob Schneider’s family moved to Austin from New Braunfels when he was a young child, but his parents had emigrated from Germany. In 1865, he opened his first general store across the street from this building (where La Condesa restaurant is now located). It became so successful that he had this building constructed to open a second store in 1873. The original store at 400 W. 2nd St. was converted to storage space and became known as the “Flour House.” That building is no longer standing, but its vault remains preserved in the basement of the modern building that houses La Condesa.
The Schneider Store was a popular destination that drew shoppers from as far away as New Braunfels to purchase goods. At the time, there was no bridge across the Colorado River, so people would ford the river in wagons at the point where Nueces Street is located today. Schneider had a wagon yard that accommodated 50 wagons and included two camp houses. The store became a popular spot for family gatherings and community meetings.
The Victorian structure is representative of Austin’s commercial architecture at the time, which was primarily clustered on Sixth Street. The fact that the Schneider Store was away from that commercial hub but still successful, demonstrates its importance to the community at the time. The building is a City of Austin Landmark, Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, State Antiquities Landmark, and National Register-listed property.
Photos (left to right): J.P. Schneider Store historic photo; Schneider Store in 2005, now Lambert's Downtown Barbecue.