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Austin Energy To Restore Moontowers

A moonlight tower on South First Street
Photo by Joey Parsons
A moonlight tower on South First Street

Know how to fix a moonlight tower? Austin Energy might be looking to contract your services in the coming months. The city’s public utility is developing a request for proposals for someone to restore all 17 of the city's moonlight towers, or moontowers, as they’re often called.

“We can’t just put modern day parts on these historic towers,” Austin Energy spokesman Carlos Cordova said. “If we’re replacing something, it has to be exactly the way it was in 1894 when these went up.”

That means it won’t be cheap. Cordova says their initial estimates peg the cost of restoring one moontower from $50,000 to $80,000 – putting the total cost potentially above $1 million. The request for proposals is set to be issued in mid- to late-January. 

The moontowers were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.  That doesn't protect them outright, but it does deem them "worthy of protection" and urges the city to prevent the moontowers from being significantly altered or destroyed.

The first moontowers to be repaired would be the two removed from downtown for the construction of two large buildings. One tower was situated next to the newly built Four Seasons at Trinity and Cesar Chavez.  The other was located on the same street as the 360 Condominiums at 4th andNueces.

Here’s a map showing the locations of Austin’s moontowers. 

View Austin's Moonlight Towers in a larger map

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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