Armadillo World Headquarters
In 1970, Austin’s flagship rock music venue, the Vulcan Gas Company, closed, leaving the city’s nascent live music scene without an incubator. One night, Eddie Wilson, manager of the local group Shiva’s Headband, stepped outside a nightclub where the band was playing and noticed an old, abandoned National Guard armory. Wilson found an unlocked garage door on the building and was able to view the cavernous interior using the headlights of his automobile. He had a desire to continue the legacy of the Vulcan Gas Company, and was inspired by what he saw in the armory to create a new music hall in the derelict structure. The armory was estimated to have been built in 1948, but no records of its construction could be located. The building was ugly, uncomfortable, and had poor acoustics, but offered cheap rent and a central location. Posters for the venue usually noted the address as 525½ Barton Springs Road (Rear), behind the Skating Palace (approximate coordinates 30.258 -97.750).
The name for the Armadillo was inspired by the use of armadillos as a symbol in the artwork of Jim Franklin, a local poster artist, and from the building itself. In choosing the mascot for the new venture, Wilson and his partners wanted an “armored” animal since the building was an old armory.