Sunday, November 16, 2008

Interesting History for the Austin Airport Hilton

Glen discovered some interesting info on the history of the Hilton Austin Aiport, where the Sun HPC Consortium Conference is being held in. The building was originally the headquarters for the Bergstrom airforce base, and served as a strategic air command center during the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and Desert Storm. It was rescued from demolition and converted to a hotel and convention center about ten years ago. It's one of the better conference hotels I've been in. If you follow the link, you'll need to click on the correct link in the left nav bar to get to the page.

Update Sun 11/16 21:44: The bartender says there used to be seven floors beneath the current lowest floor, and it was indeed one of three places in the US the president would have been brought during a crisis. Three or four of the floors have been filled in, however the remaining had to be left because of piping/ductwork/infrastructure. The area is currently closed and not in use by the hotel. She had a handout of the old building, which had an open courtyard in the center. The current atrium was created during the renovation.

Update2 Monday 11/17 9:33: I thought I'd see if there was any chance of getting a tour of the lower floors. I talked to a supervisor who was in the military and familiar with the building when in use by the military. The front door was originally on the second floor and there was a ramp that went up to that level. Also, despite his military clearances he hasn't been able to see the lower floors. Two of the floors were used by the hotel for awhile, however the City of Austin, which owns the building, had them move out of one of them. Oh well.

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