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Many fine examples of late 19th and early 20th century commercial architecture still stand in central Texas. These buildings were part of the downtown core areas of all cities and towns, and thrived in their surroundings for many decades. But, as down town merchants began to relocate away from these central areas into the suburbs in the 1950ís and 60ís, the buildings received less and less attention and fell into disrepair. Often the original designs were altered to make the structures more suitable for new applications, or the buildings simply deteriorated from lack of upkeep. As real estate values declined, so did the uses to which these buildings were put. The oldest sections of downtown becoming the most dilapidated; their buildings became warehouses, pawnshops and bars, or simply lay unoccupied.
Fortunately, the viability of these downtown areas for commerce has been rediscovered. During the urban renewal of the 1980ís and 90ís many of these buildings were renovated or restored. Now the sections of downtown with the earliest buildings are among the most desirable, owing to their distinctive architecture and location. Frequently the streets on which these early buildings stand are closed to all but pedestrian traffic, creating concentrated inner city shopping and entertainment opportunities. Good examples of this are; East Sixth Street here in Austin, The River Walk in San Antonio and The Strand in Galveston.