KUT | By Haya Panjwani / Published April 13, 2023 at 3:03 PM CDT
The Broken Spoke dance hall in South Austin was given a Texas historical marker on Wednesday.
The marker is precisely that — a marker. While it doesn’t give the Broken Spoke any additional financial or material perks, it does signal the state’s recognition of the venue’s historical significance.
Chris Florence, a spokesperson for the Texas Historical Commission, said the dance hall was given a “subject-matter marker” for its importance to the Austin music scene.
“It is a public recognition that this is a story that is extremely important to the history of Texas and to the history of the community of Austin,” Florence said.
The Broken Spoke has been around since 1964. The dance hall boasts it has hosted presidents, state governors and celebrities. Country music stars have performed at the Spoke, too, including Willie Nelson, George Strait and Garth Brooks.
First lady Cecilia Abbott attended the marker dedication ceremony.
“Places like the Broken Spoke are crucial touch points with our Texas culture, connecting us with our heritage and with each other,” she said in a news release. “We must remember the importance of our legendary Texas dance halls and the culture, history, and traditions they keep alive.”
But, Florence said, it’s places like the Broken Spoke that have been lost in the city’s transformation.
“Unfortunately, there’s so many things in Austin — the places that were of importance to the rise of the city’s cultural prominence — that are no longer there, like the Armadillo World headquarters,” he said.
Florence said he hopes the Broken Spoke will be around for many more years now that the marker plastered at the entrance.
“It is our hope that the marker will be there in a hundred years, if not more,” he said. “Just as we hope that the Broken Spoke will be there.”