Norwood Tower

Norwood Tower
Viewed from the southwest, with the Motoramp Garage to the lower left
Former names Capital National Bank Building
General information
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Location 114 West 7th Street
Austin, Texas 78701
Named for Ollie Osborn Norwood
Groundbreaking 1928
Opened 1929 (1929)
Renovated 1982–3
Cost $750,000
Renovation cost $5,000,000
Height 189 feet (58 m)
Technical details
Floor count 16
Floor area 121,430 square feet (11,281 m2)
Lifts/elevators 3
Design and construction
Architect Bertram Giesecke,
August Watkins "Watt" Harris
Main contractor Frank Barron
Renovating team
Architect Ford, Powell & Carson
Norwood Building
Norwood Tower is located in Texas
Norwood Tower
Norwood Tower is located in the US
Norwood Tower
Coordinates 30°16′10″N 97°44′36″W / 30°16′10″N 97°44′36″W / 30.2694; -97.7432
NRHP reference # 10001224 [1]
RTHL # 13620 [2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP February 7, 2011
Designated RTHL 2006

The Norwood Tower (previously known as the Capital National Bank Building) is a historic commercial building in downtown Austin, Texas. Built in 1929, the tower was named a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 2006 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. At the time of construction, it was the city's tallest commercial structure and Austin's first fully air-conditioned office building, and the adjoining parking structure was the city's first self-parking ramped auto garage. The tower remains Austin's only Gothic Revival high-rise building.


In the early 1920s, Austin, Texas financier Ollie Osborn Norwood decided to build a large new office tower to provide professional space for the growing city. At the time, the only tall commercial buildings in Austin were the Scarbrough Building and the Littlefield Building; Norwood planned a cutting-edge professional complex, with central air conditioning in every office (an Austin first) and an integrated parking garage. In 1925 he acquired a downtown parcel, where he first built a parking structure which he called the "Motoramp Garage" at a cost of $250,000 (equivalent to $3,500,000 in 2017). [3] The garage was the city's first ramped multi-story garage, which permitted self-parking by drivers. [4]

When the garage was completed in January 1928, Norwood demolished a pre-existing residence on the lot and began building an office tower on the site, at a cost of $750,000 (equivalent to $10,700,000 in 2017). Construction was completed in the summer of 1929, after which the Norwood Building was occupied by medical, legal and financial offices, as well as retailers and government agencies. At the time, it was the city's tallest commercial building, and the third tallest structure, after the Texas State Capitol and the Stephen F. Austin Hotel. [3]

Capital National Bank Building

Beginning in January 1934, Capital National Bank of Austin occupied the ground floor of the Norwood Building. In 1944 the bank purchased the building and renamed it the "Capital National Bank Building." The bank modified the adjoining garage in 1951 to allow ground-level commercial banking facilities to be extended into the garage building. Over the decades, CNB occupied progressively more and more of the building, until the bank eventually moved its headquarters to a larger building in 1981. [3]

Norwood Tower

The building came under new ownership after CNB relocated in 1981. The new owners changed the building's name to the "Norwood Tower" and undertook major renovations between 1982 and 1983 at a cost of $5 million (equivalent to $12,700,000 in 2017). During this time the tower's exterior and lobby were repaired and restored, and the building was brought into compliance with modern building codes. [3] The tower was named a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 2006, [5] and on February 7, 2011 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. [6]

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