Many Americans today would not able to survive a summer without a central air conditioning system. These systems owe much of their existence to this small group of about 20 homes in North Austin. Allandale district.
In the first half of the 20th century, air conditioning was a luxury only found in commercial environments. But things started to change in the 1950s, when the National Association of Homebuilders had the original idea of using air conditioning equipment in a residential setting.
Austin, Texas was fortunate enough to be chosen as the location for a new housing development that would test this new idea. In 1954, these houses and the families who lived in them were subjected to a series of construction method trials, air conditioning installation tests, and one-year social experiments, carried out by dozens of air conditioning companies, builders and social scientists. Builders tested a number of different features and technologies, including radiant barriers, white roofs, blinds, ventilated gables, attic fans, and new insulation materials.
While not as famous as they once were in the 1950s, the air-conditioned Austin Village homes still stand today in what is today a beautiful, quiet area of North Austin. Fortunately, very few homes have been remodeled or demolished due to Allandale’s strict policies on new development, preserving this unique piece of Austin history.
Know before you go
The air-conditioned houses in the village are still functional residences, so don’t forget to pay attention to the people who live there during your visit. The homes are located around the block formed by Twin Oaks Drive, Daugherty Street, Park View Drive, and Nasco Drive, about 500 feet from Twin Oaks Drive from where it intersects with Burnet Road at block 6600.