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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Seaholm Power Plant
Reference Number 13000614
State Texas
County Travis
Town Austin
Street Address 800 West Cesar Chavez Street
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 8/20/2013
Areas of Significance Industry, Architecture
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The Seaholm Power Plant in Austin, Travis County, Texas, was designed by the nationally-recognized Kansas City engineering firm Burns & McDonnell, and constructed in two phases (1951 and 1955) to serve the expanding needs of the city. The complex was built immediately to the west of an earlier city power plant and identified on engineering drawings as Power Plant No. 2. In June 1960, the City of Austin renamed the facility in honor of the late Walter E. Seaholm, a prominent figure in the administration of Austins municipal utilities from the 1920s until the mid-1950s. The Seaholm Plant is an outstanding example of the Art Moderne architectural style and shares many design elements of the design firms other designs for municipal waterworks and powerhouses of the 1930s through the 1950s. Typical of Burns & McDonnell designs, great attention was paid to the massing, scaling, and detailing of Seaholm. This Austin example differs slightly in that it is constructed entirely of site-cast concrete while their other plant examples were of brick cladding over concrete or steel structural systems. The Seaholm Power Plant is nominated at the local level of significance to the National Register under Criterion A in the area of Industry for its association with energy production in the growing city, and Criterion C in the area of Architecture and as an excellent example of late Art Moderne design applied to a concrete electricity-generating plant.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria