An elevated archway sign over Sixth Street near the I-35 frontage road will soon indicate the beginning of Austin’s most famous entertainment district, according to recent city filings.
Bob Woody, a prominent business owner in downtown and president of the Sixth Street Owners Association that is financing the construction of the archway, says his organization has been working on getting the sign built and navigating the various permitting requirements of the city for more than six years, insisting on raising the money privately.
“We’re happy to jump through all the hoops. We’re just ready to move forward.”
— Bob Woody
One lucky reason the group can move forward? One of its members owns the land on either side of the street that will hold the sign’s two support pillars. John McCall, a local best known for making a fortune as the “Shampoo King” through the Armstrong McCall beauty supply company, owns property at 718 and 723 East Sixth Street — that’s a parking lot and a corner building best known for its mural, respectively — making the sidewalks in front of both sites ideal for the archway’s pillars.
Though certain drawings of the archway from 2013 indicate the sign will read “Sixth Street Historic District,” Woody says the group has since agreed to go a different direction. Instead, he says, the sign will say something along the lines of “Welcome to Sixth Street,” with a smaller banner underneath that reads “Live Music Capitol of the World.” In addition to the text, the gateway will integrate some musical elements, and be lit up by an LED system at night.
Woody says the gateway sign is not unlike the arch over East 11th Street, but with plenty of key differences.
“Picture a saxophone on one side and a guitar on the other, with some musical notes somewhere in there too,” Woody says. “It’s something to give the area a little more identity. Although I’ve never heard no damn saxophone playing on Sixth Street.”