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Walter Tips Building

710 Congress Ave.

Walter Tips Building, circa 1910Walter Tips was born in Elberfeld, Prussia (a German kingdom), in 1841. His father and mother emigrated to Texas in 1849, when he was eight years old. Walter's brother, Edward, opened a hardware store at this site before the Tips Building was constructed. After the Civil War, Walter went into the hardware business with William Clemens in New Braunfels. When Edward died suddenly in 1872, Walter and Clemens bought the hardware business on Congress Avenue. His partners still ran the store in New Braunfels, while Tips became the sole proprietor of the Austin store.

Architect Jasper Newton Preston built the Tips Building, a three-story stone building that masterfully blends Venetian Gothic and Italianate Renaissance Revival styles. The east façade is five bays, framed by fluted and banded pilasters with Corinthian and foliated capitals. Large open spaces were maintained on the interior by means of a cast-iron colonnade spanned by cast-iron arches running the length of the building down the center at the first level and by a similar colonnade of wood members at the second level. The original construction has two skylights. The Tips Building is a City of Austin Landmark and a contributing building to the National Register-listed Congress Avenue Historic District.

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