Saturday, August 27, 2011

THE BERTRAM BUILDING

AUSTIN, TEXAS - Rudolph Bertram (1829-1892) arrived in Austin in 1853 and began a trading post. In 1872 Bertram purchased the building at 1601 Guadalupe. In 1880 he began a wholesale grocery business, saloon and general store (1st floor) that served Austin for decades. Living quarters were on the second floor. The town of Bertram was named for Rudolph Bertram. Recently the historic building has served as several restaurants and bars. The building currently offers contemporary Indian cuisine and is known as the Clay Pit.

Outside the Clay Pit
 On our initial research, we discovered that in the basement there is a tunnel that led to a conveniently located brothel next door. Austin had several brothels in what was officially classified in City documents as the First Ward, bordered by the river and Guadalupe, Colorado, and Fifth Street. Everyone else called it "Mexico", or, more commonly, "Guy Town". Many brothels had tunnels leading to them so the more "high-toned" male citizenry wouldn't be seen visiting.  Their clients were city council members, legislators, students from the university, and businessmen who tacitly supported business in Guy Town through their continued patronage. 


Inside the Clay Pit at 1601 Guadalupe Street
  Several occurrences of strange "party like" noises have been reported coming from the up stair's dinning room in the nearly 150 year-old building. When the restaurant staff would walk up stairs to investigate the source of the noise, upon their arrival, the noise would suddenly stop. Witnesses have seen the apparition of a small child on the second floor. Exactly who the small child is remains unknown. However, looking at the records of possible deaths near or around the building, Bertram had a young son die in the family of typhoid fever. 


Whenever you're in the area of 1601 Guadalupe stop by the Clay Pit restaurant and enjoy the ambiance of the old Bertram building. The food is excellent!

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