I received E-Mail that said:

Not exactly new, built around the 20's in Downtown Austin two of the four original towers remain after a fire some years ago. It's in the vicinity of 12th and Lamar can be seen up on the hill. No other info or photo available.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

Following the directions on your webpage, I recently went to the vicinity of 12th and Lamar with my digital camera for company. I have some photos of this castle (the former Texas Military Institute), and I'm wondering if you'd like them. The castle is by no means fire damaged, and I was able to climb to the top story for an unobstructed view of downtown Austin.

The plaque on the castle says:
Founded in 1868 in Bastrop, the Texas Military Institute moved to Austin in 1870. The same year, this Victorian "castle" was built to serve as headquarters for the young men's preparatory school. Prominently sited on top of a hill in view of the capitol, the structure was owned by the Texas Military Institute until the school formally closed in 1880. From 1884 until 1887, the TMI Castle was the site of Jacob Bicklers Texas German and English Academy.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

The former TMI castle in Austin, Texas:
Address: 1111 West 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78701
Now being used as offices for local real estate developer.
Very, very cool building, and probably the best office in town. Best view of downtown, also.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

It looks like the Texas Military Institute moved to College Station, TX and became a part of my alma mater, Texas A&M Univeristy's (A&M College) Corp of Cadets ROTC program.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

The Texas Military Institute started out as the Bastrop Military Institute in the 1850's. Bastrop lies about 40-50 miles east of Austin. The school ceased operations during the Civil War. After the war, the occupying Union commander initially denied a request to resume classes. However, in 1868 General Sheridan allowed the school to reopen in Bastrop. Administrators quickly realized the Bastrop facilities were inadequate. Austin then raised a $10,000 building fund (in gold!) and enticed TMI to relocate.

The castellated building was constructed in 1870 on a bluff overlooking Shoal Creek, the original western boundary of the city. Original plans called for an enclosed square with towers at each corner. However, only two of the planned towers were built. In 1879 the state established Texas A&M as a military-style school and hired TMI's president and entire faculty, forcing the private school's closure. The building was used by Bickler's Academy between 1884-1887. Thereafter it was a private residence for several decades.

The south end of the building (including one of the towers) was removed sometime after 1887. In 2001 developer Gary Bradley bought the castle for his office. Bradley had developed Circle C Ranch in southwest Austin which led directly to a local ordinance aimed at preserving water quality in the underlying aquifer and Barton Creek. In response, Bradley's cronies in the state legislature passed a law forbidding cities to make such ordinances, and Austin's law was struck down. Well, that has nothing to do with the castle but it has made for hot politics (and dirty water) in Austin.

Currently it is an office building in a residential neighborhood. The area is still known as Castle Hill, now also the name of a popular local restaurant. Most Austinites, however, do not know the origin of the name.

On 5-28-07, I received E-Mail that said:

I used to work in downtown Austin on 11th Street, just a few blocks from the TMI Castle. Daily, I could see it up on Castle Hill, but all attempts to find it failed. Finally, last night, I was on a bit of a "castle hunt" with a friend, when we finally came upon the TMI Castle. I just thought I'd let you know that it's currently undergoing some sort of construction. It doesn't look like it's inhabited by a business right now because there is construction material all over the lawn, and it looks very run-down. I didn't have a camera with me, but now that I know how to find it, I'll be visiting it again some time soon for photos.

On 11-29-07, I received E-Mail that said:

I was really happy to find your selection on the TMI castle in austin. Last summer I was hanging out with some friends at about 2 in the morning and they took us to "the Castle". We had to climb up the side of it and climb in through a window to get in. It looked very rundown and most of the windows were broken. In one of the rooms it was pretty creepy. It kind of reminded me of a haunted house. We made our way all the way up to the top and the view was AMAZING! Ever since then I have been looking for some info on the building and when I found your site I was very pleased.

On 2-21-08, I received E-mail that said:

I recently came across this castle while doing research for an architecture project. I had seen it before but never really cared to go up the hill to look for it. I decided to finally search for it and encountered an old foundation on the hill beside the castle. I haven't been able to get it out of my head but cannot find any information on the former structure. It is a large stepped foundation so I figured it supported something massive and extremely heavy. Do you know if it was originally a part of the castle and was later destroyed?

{{Castlefinder note!}}
Does anyone know what this old foundation might be?

On 4-21-08, I received E-Mail that said:

As was mentioned, the castle is now an office for a local architect and developer (Dick Clark). Dick and his colleagues have purchased other adjacent land including the land containing the large foundation immediately to the east. They presented to our neighborhood association a few months back.

The large concrete works are the 'leftovers' from an 80's attempt to build a condo project. It failed due to issues with soil moisture they could not design around. Clark and team say they have the answer and will be building their own condo complex on that same site. They also plan to build some townhouses on lots around the castle.

On 4-9-10, I received e-mail that said:

Saw your listing of the Austin “Castle” and thought I would add to your collection of photos there. I am forwarding a night-time shot of the castle (on 11th Street, just up the hill from Lamar). This photo was taken from 12th Street in downtown Austin, near the Texas Capital building.

Our company moved into to the building as a tenant in late March, 2010, after the building has been beautifully renovated and restored. As of Monday, March 29, 2010 our office address will change to the following:

The Castle
1111 West 11th Street
Austin, TX 78703-4915

Back to "Castles of the United States"

A special thanks to George Morris for sending in the first photo.