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Long Center for the Performing Arts

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Long Center for the Performing Arts
Palmer Auditorium, Municipal Auditorium


Structure in General

existing [completed]




  • The building has earned the nickname of "The Turtle" because of its green dome roof. This will change however when the building is renovated and turned into the new Long Center for the Performing Arts.
  • In 1981 the Municipal Auditorium was rededicated and renamed the Lester E. Palmer Auditorium after Lester E. Palmer, the mayor of Austin from 1961 to 1967.
  • In 2002 Lester E. Palmer attended the grand opening of the new Lester E. Palmer Community Events Center, completed in 2002 to replace the Palmer Auditorium. The Palmer Auditorium will be turned into a performing arts center.
  • Palmer Auditorium had its grand opening on January 5, 1959.
  • Originally designed by the Austin firm Jessen, Jessen, Millhouse & Greeven.
  • The building sits on a 16 foot high man-made hill. It was created because of concerns of flooding along Riverside Drive from the Colorado River.
  • President John F. Kennedy was scheduled to give a speech in the auditorium the day he was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
  • The internationally renowned local artist Seymour Fogel came up with the dome's color scheme in 1955; he was never paid royalties, the architect arguing that Fogel's design was only for a scale model.
  • With three theatres totalling 3,240 seats, the largest, Dell Hall, has 2,300 seats.
  • The "turtle" shell measures 290 feet wide. In 2005, work began on removing the green panels from the roof. These panels will be reused in the new project, cut to form a mosaic facade.

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701 West Riverside Drive
400 South First Street
701 West Riverside Drive

Technical Data

105.00 ft
105.00 ft
85.00 ft
388.00 ft
290.00 ft

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