Jane Dunn Sibley Symphony Square, an attractive complex of four historical limestone buildings and a 350-seat amphitheater at the corner of Red River and 11th St. near the Capitol in Austin, is thought to be the only restoration project in the United States to house the offices of a symphony orchestra. The complex serves a growing audience 12 months of the year.
The Symphony Square Project, begun in 1971, was conceived and directed by prominent citizens on a wave of civic awareness. It was sponsored jointly by the Austin Urban Renewal Agency, the City of Austin, and the Austin Symphony Orchestra. The Square is within easy walking distance of Capitol grounds, the LBJ Library and other downtown Austin tourist attractions. The Jeremiah Hamilton Building is an attractive, triangular building at the corner of 11th and Red River. It is thought to be one of only three stone triangular buildings still standing today in Texas. It houses the Box Office and Facilities Office of the Austin Symphony. Jeremiah Hamilton, one of nine black legislators serving in the 12th Texas Legislature from 1869-1871, built it in 1871. In addition to the Hamilton Building, Symphony Square contains the Michael Doyle House, considered one of the few remaining good examples of a simple, one-story vernacular stone cottage in Austin. It serves as the home to the Women’s Symphony League of Austin. The third building is the Hardeman House, which was moved from its original location in East Austin and serves as home to Serranos, a popular restaurant serving Tex-Mex food. The fourth building is the New Orleans Club Mercantile, at one time a popular Austin nightclub and now a beautifully restored 19th-century building serving as a space for private parties catered by Serranos. The property also includes a 350-seat stone amphitheater where the Austin Symphony hosts Children’s Day Art Park every Wednesday morning in June and July for youngsters from pre-school through age nine. Children’s Day Art Park features performances by local entertainers, an Instrument “Petting Zoo,” storytelling and arts activities under a large tent next to the Doyle House.