Best Modest Monument

House of Elegance

The building and business at 1191 Navasota offers two legacies of Central East Austin in one. From 1952 through 1966, it was the headquarters of Teachers State Association of Texas, organized in 1884 to see to it that black students got quality educations and black educators good working conditions in segregated times. It’s entered into the National Register of Historic Places as a “contemporary style” building, but it boasts some still-attractive Fifties-mod flair. It’s a style that befits its current occupant, House of Elegance, which was opened by Ella Mae Pease in the Sixties and has served as a full-service salon and de facto neighborhood center for going on six decades now. It’s a living monument, active and present at a personal scale that’s becoming more and more scarce in the neighborhood. Which, come to think of it, makes it a trifecta of modest monumentality.

House of Elegance
1191 Navasota, 512/476-9428

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