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The Henry Kuempel Collection - Austin Events and Attractions (1940-1)

Austin History Center

Silent | 1940

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  •  Johnson’s Trading Post is located at the intersection of Highway 71 and Bee Cave Road west of Austin 
  •  Rodeo clowns 
  •  Aluminum for Defense 
  •  From streetcars to buses 
  •  Streetcars began running on Congress Avenue in February 1875. Operations ceased 65 years later when Austin transitioned to buses. By 1942, all of the rails had been removed as part of scrap metal collection for the war effort.  
  •  Snow in Austin 
  •  Snow-capped Capitol Building 
  •  Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus  
  •  Posters advertise the variety of acts to be seen inside the big tent 
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This 1941 home movie captures a variety of events in and around Austin. First, scenes from the Johnson’s Trading Post Rodeo. Cowboys and girls compete in various rodeo events, such as calf roping, barrel racing, and bull riding. Next, cameraman Henry Kuempel documents a large collection bin for scrap aluminum. Aluminum was one of several materials Americans were asked to contribute to boost production and maintain supply levels for troops abroad during World War II. Then, Kuempel captures the transition from streetcars to buses on February 7, 1940. Electric streetcars make their final journey along Congress Avenue as Austin Transit Company buses take over. As the film switches from color to black and white, Kuempel tours Austin following a rare snowfall on January 22, 1940. Finally, scenes from a visit to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on October 2, 1941.
Henry Kuempel worked in the soft drink industry for more than 50 years, first with the Icy-Nu Bottling Company (later known as the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Austin) and then with the 7-Up Bottling Company of Austin. Kuempel served as president of the 7-Up Bottling Company from 1965 until his retirement in the mid-1970s. Kuempel’s son, Edmund, served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1983 to 2010. During his 27-year tenure, he chaired the House Committees on Retirement and Aging, Administration, State Recreational Resources, and Licensing and Administrative Procedures.