Put on your boots and grab your cowboy hats and come on down to the Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe St., on Tuesday, October 17 at 6:30 PM to learn more about Austin’s legendary honky-tonk, the Broken Spoke.
Author Donna Miller, along with James and Annetta White, will tell stories from Miller’s new book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk. The Whites have owned and operated the Broken Spoke since November 10, 1964. Joining Miller and the Whites will be musician Ben Stafford Rodgers, singing a few songs with James White.
About the Book
James and Annetta White opened the Broken Spoke in 1964, then a mile south of the Austin city limits, under a massive live oak, and beside what would eventually become South Lamar Boulevard. White built the place himself, beginning construction on the day he received his honorable discharge from the US Army. And for more than fifty years, the Broken Spoke has served up, in the words of White’s well-worn opening speech, “. . . cold beer, good whiskey, the best chicken fried steak in town . . . and good country music.” White paid thirty-two dollars to his first opening act, D. G. Burrow and the Western Melodies, back in 1964.
Since then, the stage at the Spoke has hosted the likes of Bob Wills, Dolly Parton, Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Marcia Ball, Pauline Reese, Roy Acuff, Kris Kristofferson, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep at the Wheel, and the late, great Kitty Wells. But it hasn’t always been easy; through the years, the Whites and the Spoke have withstood their share of hardship—a breast cancer diagnosis, heart trouble, the building’s leaky roof, and a tour bus driven through its back wall.
Today the original rustic, barn-style building, surrounded by sleek, high-rise apartment buildings, still sits on South Lamar, a tribute and remembrance to an Austin that has almost vanished. Housing fifty years of country music memorabilia and about a thousand lifetimes of memories at the Broken Spoke, the Whites still honor a promise made to Ernest Tubb years ago: they’re “keepin’ it country.”
About the Author
Donna Marie Miller is a freelance writer, photographer and videographer living in Austin. Her work has appeared in Alternate Root, Americana Rhythm, Austin Food, Austin Fusion, Austin Monthly, Creative Screenwriting, Elmore, Fiddler, and Texas Highways magazines.
About the Austin History Center
As the local history collection of the Austin Public Library, the Austin History Center provides the public with information about the history, current events and activities of Austin and Travis County. The Center collects and preserves information about local governments, businesses, residents, institutions and neighborhoods so that generations to come will have access to their history.