The Cathedral of Junk – Austin, TX

We recently spent a weekend in Austin with our grandkids and during that weekend The Complete Package took us out for street food and a sight-seeing adventure at the Cathedral of Junk. Never heard of it? Neither had I, and neither had My Baby who lives in Austin and attended college there {hook ’em}. How TCP knew is beyond us, but he did and we’re glad he did. The Cathedral of Junk is hard to describe, wonderous to behold, and one of a kind. Here’s a peek.

Cathedral of Junk - Front of House

From the street, it’s a bright and eclectic house with lots of color and character.

Cathedral of Junk - Front Porch Collage

But the main attraction is the back yard. It’s a tower of…. well, uh…. junk! Lots and lots and oodles of junk. Junk of all makes & models, shapes & sizes.

Cathedral of Junk - Front View of Tower

There’s metal junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Back Side

And nostalgic junk.

Cathedral of Junk - My Baby & the Trolls

And yellow rubbery junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Rubber Duckies

There is junk with a purpose, like this drum with the story of the Cathedral.

Cathedral of Junk - Story on Drum

And junk that inspires.

Cathedral of Junk - Coldplay Quote

I love me some Coldplay. I also love things that make me laugh.

Cathedral of Junk - Billy Bass & Train

Yes, that is a Billy Bass. He was mounted just high enough to prevent us from pressing the button to see if he would sing. There’s just plain ol’ junky junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Sample Junk

And Austin-themed junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Austin Mirror

The main attraction for some is the Throne of Junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Empty Throne

So kitschy and fabulous, some couples come here to have their engagement photos taken. Click here for a sample. We didn’t see any engaged couples posing when we were there, but we did meet a family who was taking graduation photos of their daughter at fun & funky landmarks all over Austin. What a great idea! This cute little group was willing to pose for a few snaps.

Cathedral of Junk - My Baby, Jonah & Lilly

Yep – that’s My Baby with Jonah Bear and Lilly Bug. My little munchkins.

Cathedral of Junk - Lilly & Jonah

These two cutie-patooties make everything more fun & fabulous. And surprisingly, that’s what the Cathedral of Junk is – fun & fabulous.

Cathedral of Junk - A Peek Inside

At first glance, it may inspire some to update their tetanus booster, but don’t let that stop you. The Cathedral of Junk is a monument to inspiration and creativity. It inspires others to visit daily, donate items or create masterpieces of their own. Jonah left dreaming of his next creation.

If you decide to visit, I hope you’ll stop to drop a donation in the box near the gate. It takes a lot of wire, mortar and cement to hold this cathedral together. If you’re curious about what it takes to maintain, Vince (the artist & homeowner) is always standing by to answer questions. He’s a really, really nice guy and proof that one man’s trash truly is another’s treasure.

Cathedral of Junk - Donation Box

If you want to know more about Vince Hannemann and his Cathedral of Junk, this article in The Daily Texan is a great place to start. Keep Austin Weird, y’all!



Filed under Family Stuff, Travel Tales

11 responses to “The Cathedral of Junk – Austin, TX

  1. Only in Austin…!
    I need to get a list of your favorite eating places in Austin…I bet you have some good ones :)

  2. That is crazy! and an ‘art installation’ that really fits in Austin :)

  3. I like funky and I definitely get that feeling from this place. It’s those neat places like this that make life so interesting :)

    • Me, too. I wasn’t expecting much from a ‘big pile of junk’ but that just proves you can’t judge a book by its cover. This place was so much fun. It’s the adult version of a child finding the best playground ever. It’s a little magical.

  4. Oh, Jeanne, I can’t help but be a little disappointed because I was sure you had written an article on my home! ;- } What a fabulous and fun find! I wonder how long it took him to put this all together. But you know what I spotted that I miss? TROLLS! Though in New England we also called them Wishniks. Looks like you had a great day with your family! : )

    • The trolls were an unexpected trip down memory lane, as was the Billy Bass. I remember when TV commercials for that monstrosity came out. That fish was everywhere! There was also a Barbie and GI Joe section. It may look like a big pile of trash to some, but we thought it was really fun.

  5. Wow! My boys would go nuts in a place like that–hours of entertainment, I’m sure. Then we’d come home to them crafting their own cathedrals.

    The Cathedral of Junk reminds me a bit of Tyree Guyton’s The Heidleberg Project in Detroit. Started as one artist’s effort to restore a blighted neighborhood to beauty. Now it’s a community effort.

    • Jonah definitely got the ‘building’ bug after our visit. He was looking all over the place for things he could use. He was truly inspired. He would love The Heidleberg Project! It’s similar in nature to the Cathedral of Junk, but on a much larger scale. Very cool.

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