The James M. White family, the owners of the Broken Spoke, are inviting the public to attend a Texas historical dedication ceremony for the honky-tonk hangout April 12.

The Broken Spoke is a bar, dance hall and restaurant that opened 59 years ago. On Nov. 3, Austin City Council passed a resolution to begin the process of designating the Broken Spoke as a historical landmark.

“If you take something like the Spoke ... that has been a part of our culture in our community for 60 years, what are we going to do to make sure that at least the soul of Austin stays intact? It's going to evolve; it's going to change; people come and go, and I get that, ... but if we lose the Spoke, ... it's part of what makes Austin unique and different,” said U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Austin, during the council meeting Nov. 3. “I hope that we can work to figure out ways to keep a little of the soul of Austin.”

The resolution states The Broken Spoke has hosted legions of performers, including music legends such as Willie Nelson and George Strait, who started their careers at the venue in the late 1970s. Dolly Parton also filmed her 1980 movie “Wild Texas Wind” at the venue as well. In addition, the property has been represented in a variety of media and mementos, such as a photograph of The Broken Spoke on the cover of George Strait's March 2019 album, “Honky Tonk Time Machine.”

In the draft resolution, Austin City Council members said they believe the venue should be considered a historical landmark due to the following criteria:
  • The venue is more than 50 years old and retains the original integrity of its character of a classic Texas music and dance hall;
  • The property has significant associations with historical events, including famous performers, visitors and events, and provides distinct community value as a cornerstone of Austin's live music scene; and
  • It has a longstanding significant association with persons and groups of historic importance which contributed significantly to the history of the city and state.
“I strongly support resolutions like this one in particular to preserve and protect the Spoke,” Roy said. “I'm a big fan of that old Austin culture where the hippies and rednecks come together, and I hope we can figure out a way to keep that as part of our fabric.”

The ceremony will start at the Broken Spoke, 3201 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, at 5:30 p.m. Texas first lady Cecilia Abbott and Austin Mayor Kirk Watson will help dedicate the marker. A free concert by Alvin Crow and Ian Stewart will follow at 7 p.m. in the dance hall.