Front Elevation-Building razed ~1940

Front Elevation-Building razed ~1940

Interior of Tea room

Interior of Tea room

Cactus motif on barge boards

Cactus motif on barge boards

Caricature portrait carving of UT Dr. Mary Gearing by PM

Caricature portrait carving of UT Dr. Mary Gearing by PM

Caricature portrait carving by PM-Identified as CAMPFIRE

Caricature portrait carving by PM-Identified as CAMPFIRE

Caricature portrait carving by PM

Caricature portrait carving by PM

Historical photo of Nannie Sieker-1904 Owner of the Cactus Tea Room

Historical photo of Nannie Sieker-1904 Owner of the Cactus Tea Room

Example Frame

Cactus Tea Room

Architect/Builder: Hugo Khuene
Year: 1920
Style: Tudor revival
Areas of Significance: art, architecture
City: Austin

The Cactus Tea Room was built around 1915 by Hugo Khuene, the founding Dean of Architecture at UT. The building was located on Guadalupe Street directly across from the UT campus. Nannie Sieker was the owner and founder of the Cactus Tea Room and Austin Cafeteria and ran both restaurants from 1915 until her death in 1928 . Several old UT yearbooks write of the tea room in passing as a place where young men and women would go on first dates. Nannie was married to legendary Texas Ranger Lamar "Lam" Sieker who rose to the rank of Quarter master of the Frontier Battalion and served longer than any ranger in their history (1874-1905). Lam died in 1914 in Houston and shortly thereafter Nannie moved to Austin and built the Cactus Tea room.

The building featured fanciful caricature portrait carvings on the exterior posts of the Tea room along with a catus motif carved on the barge boards. It is believed that the caricatures and trim work were all carved by Mansbendel. He featured prominent Austinites including several political figures, UT professors and deans in caricature form. One caricature portrait has been identified as Dr. Mary Gearing who was the Dean of Home Economics at UT the time the tea room was built. This carving can be seen at the Austin History Center and has ID tags on the reverse. The classical limestone frieze on the interior mantle featured cherubs and acanthus leaves and is also attributed to PM. It is believed that the tea room was razed around 1930. If you have any additional info regarding the Cactus Tea room please contact me as not much has been written or known about this building.
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