Wedding Hall & Event Venue History
Step just inside the ever so popular turquoise front doors of The Union on Eighth and look down to your right. If you look close enough you will find a single penny set into the concrete floor. Date, 1919. It was then that, what would become one of Central Texas most sought-after venues, was born. Not as a wedding venue of course, but as a blacksmith shop. Yet in its 90-year history many things have remained the same. The unique shape and industrial, metal finished exterior. The solid, hand-hewn beams and historic shiplap that have covered the walls since its beginning. It’s a timeless look that can’t be duplicated.
In its storied history, the building that is The Union on Eighth has been home to many exciting businesses and events. The original owners, the Andersons, lived in a two-story, Victorian home next door to the property and ran their blacksmith shop plus bicycle and buggy business from the building. On the Western exterior wall of what is now the main courtyard to The Union on Eighth you’ll notice a section of the metal exterior that is significantly more rusted. While serving as the blacksmith shop, the Anderson family would rent the side of the building to the traveling Barnum and Bailey Circus to put up a banner to advertise their show coming to Georgetown. As history would have it, the last time the circus was rolling through, they left the banner and the Andersons didn’t take it down, allowing rain and moisture to be captured behind the hanging banner and causing that part of the building to rust.
Step further into the building and look up. Here you will see into the building’s future passed; the 50’s. The manual, track lift set up in the beams helped lift engines and transmissions from Oldsmobiles that needed repair while the building served as a shop for a local Oldsmobile dealership.
After admiring the old lift, turn around and keep your eyes fixed on the rafters. This is the final chapter before The Union on Eighth became what we see today. A one man transmission shop, Conway Transmissions opened in the 80’s. What you’ll notice are chalk writings of different years and types of transmissions. Stacked on tall, turquoise shelves (the reason for the front door coloring) were transmissions and parts. The chalk writings were labels reminding Dale Conway what was on the top shelves.
Flash forward to 2011 and you’ll find Katy and Justin Bohls, the owners and dreamers who tirelessly spent two years meticulously fashioning every little detail to honor the history and beauty that the building already possessed while crafting the space into a chic, modern and industrial version of itself.
The Story Behind The Union on Eighth
Justin and Katy Bohls’ introduction to the wedding industry in Austin started when they took over a part of their family business and revamped the event rental business into Sweet Sunday Events. Sweet Sunday Event Rentals and Resources quickly grew to become one of Central Texas leading places for event rentals, floral designs and wedding planning. As a complete design firm, Katy and Justin were written up in local publications such as Austin Monthly and Tribeza magazines, as well as national write ups on Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, The Knot, and countless others.
As the business grew, Katy Bohls attended workshops from some of the countries best designers and launched her own floral design business, Without Wax, Katy. With it Katy became widely recognized as a leading designer, not only in Austin and Central Texas, but throughout the State, designing weddings for brides and grooms all over the state.
But Katy and Justin always had their eyes set on something more, on creating a wedding venue that they had searched for when they were married years before but couldn’t find. A modern, industrial warehouse feel that didn’t exist in Austin or Central Texas at the time. A venue you could walk in to where the building told a story and did most of the work for you. Something industrial enough to be different and stand out, but romantic and soft enough to create an intimate space for a wedding.
As fate would have it, one day while Justin was out on an event delivery to the local university in Georgetown, Southwestern, he passed a building with a for sale by owner sign stuck into the lawn. Thinking it was cool in that it was right off the historic Square he called Katy right away, “You might think I’m crazy but…”
And the rest was history.