Peacock at Mayfield Park

The S.S. Hangover at the Contemporary Austin

You have to know the story of Clara Driscoll to fully appreciate the location of the Contemporary Austin art exhibit Kathy and I attended last Sunday. Laguna Gloria is Driscoll’s former home on Lake Austin. Clara Driscoll was a larger than life individual, whose legions of accomplishments included saving the Alamo from demolition and writing a Broadway show. Her father, Robert Driscoll, Sr. and mother Catherine McGrath Duggan Driscoll owned among many other assets, the 83,000 acre Driscoll Ranch just outside of Corpus Christi in South Texas. Wikipedia has an extensive discussion of her education and life accomplishments. She was a Texas original, educated in New York City and Europe. If you don’t know about her, it’s worth reading the Wikipedia article.

In 1917, Driscoll and her husband purchased 28 acres near Mount Bonnell on the Colorado River. At the time the property was five miles outside of Austin. The property was bounded on one side by the Colorado River, now Lake Austin and on another by a tributary called Taylor Slough. The slough feed into a small lake adjacent to Driscoll’s mansion before it flows into Lake Austin. They called their estate Laguna Gloria. The property was first owned by Stephen F. Austin. This is one of the most prized properties in Texas. The beautiful grounds and Italian influenced mansion are now a Contemporary Austin art gallery.

Last Sunday, Kathy and I attended an art exhibition performed on the small lake. In my younger years I would have questioned whether the performance was art. Thankfully, I’m not so strict these days and the SS Hangover exhibit was particularly enjoyable. The waters of Laguna Gloria were never used for better purpose than the surreal scene of a Scandinavian sailing craft (actually propelled by a secret motor) plying the tranquil waters of the lagoon. A brass orchestra played calming beautiful music, and Kathy and I were transfixed on the shore. Even the cold temps of the day disappeared for a time. We recommend you consider it.

Plus we recommend a stop over to the Gardens and the free ranging peacocks of Mayfield Park right next door. Kids and grandkids would love to see the peacocks, ponds and beauty of the park’s nature trails down to the water.