Remembering the lives lived at 2606 Greenlawn Parkway

Sixty-three years after the house became the first on its Allandale street, it became the first to be torn down. The house—and its residents— may be gone, but their history lives on in the hearts of neighbors, friends.

GREENER PASTURES: The house at 2606 Greenlawn Parkway in Allandale before it was demolished.

In 1959, 2606 Greenlawn Parkway was built. Sixty-three years later, in 2022, it was demolished. The original owners moved into the very first house built on the street with open fields all around them and cattle roaming the neighbor’s land. John and Connie Lawrence and their sons, Jack and Marc, moved into the home in 1959. Both Marc and Jack graduated from Lanier High School and spent time playing football with the neighborhood kids, going to concerts and movies at Northwest Park and going to the drive-in movie theater that was down the street.

Marc and Jack grew up in this house until they graduated from high school. When they moved out, their parents stayed settled there. As time passed, the city changed, and no more cattle roamed Allandale. The parents and their children grew older. John Lawrence sadly passed away in 2007. As Connie aged, she feared she would have to sell the house to pay for nursing care, but Jack moved into the house to take care of her. Connie left the house to Jack and Marc when she passed away in 2014. Marc passed away in 2015, and Jack lived in the family home until he passed away on Nov. 29, 2021. 

Eleven months after his passing, the house was torn down.

To learn more about the first home on the street—and the first to be demolished—Lillian Gray interviewed Ms. Nancy Macken, who lived next door until 2006, and Ms. Vilma Lena who moved in down the street shortly after the Lawrences did.

GREENER PASTURES: The house at 2606 Greenlawn Parkway in Allandale before it was demolished.

THE LITTLE THINGS: The Lawrences’ house had many small details that were untouched by time since 1959. Many of those features were revealed when the house was torn down. The butterfly wallpaper in the middle of the picture, the mirrors in the back bedroom that were a style back in the early ’70s, colorful curtains, and golden fans all gave the house its vintage, 1960s style. Connie had white carpet in the den and “asked the boys on the street to take their shoes off and stay out of that room,” Ms. Lena said. Although most of the details in the house are out of date now, they are also what made the house memorable.

THE KITCHEN: The Lawrences would spend much of their time in the kitchen, making drinks for neighbors and friends. I had only been in the house a few times,” said Mrs. Lena, who spent time with the family when the house and family were all together. Connie always opened the door and offered a drink. I don’t drink, but if Jack was there he would fix something. My kitchen was very small but hers was smaller.” The fan, curtains, and cabinets of the kitchen can be seen left in the rubble, like much of the house.

THE ROOF: When it was first built, the house’s shingled roof was beautiful. The roof was a metal simulation of a cedar shingle roof, and it was unusual for Austin in general. “I liked the roof because it reminded me of Costa Rica [where I grew up],” Ms. Lena said. “It is different from any other home on the street.” This attribute, and many others, made the house stand out to Mrs. Lena.

BEYOND THE BACKYARD: The back doors of the house opened up to a patio. This covered outdoor space allowed for entertaining when the weather was nice. It was probably easy to forget that right on the other side of the back fence was an open pasture, filled with rabbits and cattle. The Lawrence boys spent hours playing in that field, chasing rabbits. Jack often said he could never have imagined all of the development that has since come to Allandale.

CLOSING THE DOOR TO THE PAST: Although passersby will see a new house soon, with no trace of the original, the memories of the people who spent the most time with the family live on. Ms. Macken was friends with Jack Lawrence when they were little, and they would play together very often. “We made forts in the back, first of Christmas trees and then we would get wood here and there and build something in the backyard. It was awful looking but Connie let us do it,” Ms. Macken recalled. “We had a good time.” 

BUTTERFLIES IN THE RUBBLE: The wallpaper that hung in their bathroom stayed as one of the most beautiful untouched elements until the end. Ms. Macken recalls the butterflies being a popular symbol of some of the people she knew. “That was Connie. She liked butterflies, my mother liked butterflies. Everyone was doing the butterfly thing.” The wallpaper is likely the same one hung in 1960 when Ms. Macken knew the family. It has stuck with the house and the Lawrences until the end.

UNTOUCHED: Ms. Macken and Ms. Lena both shared with the Shield the parts they enjoyed from the house. Ms. Macken remembered the shutters on the windows, like the ones seen in the back left corner of this picture. “She had shutters on the windows,” she said. “Of course, I love shutters.” Placed on almost every window, the shutters stayed as a significant part of the look of the house throughout its long life.  

THE OAK TREE: The outside of the house was beautiful during the time when the whole family was together. From the beginning, and still today, the front of the house has a very large, significant attribute noticed whenever you pass by. “The outside of the yard…was kept up beautifully,” Ms. Lena said. The family planted a live oak tree when they first moved in. When it was first planted Jack and Marc would jump over it. Their father got mad at them because he said they would kill it. That tree is now much taller than the house, and covers two yards and part of the street with shade. It grew as the family grew, and though their family home is gone, the tree will continue to be a reminder of the family for many more years to come.

THE FIREPLACE: The fireplace was the very last element of the house to be torn down. Amongst the rubble, the fake wood, and gold rods can be seen still standing towards the end of the demolition. “At Christmas, one year Connie (Mrs. Lawrence) and Jack invited me to come over. The Christmas tree was in the den, and it was decorated with red bulbs,” Mrs. Lena said. 

Ms. Macken also remembered the fireplace as a lovely addition to the house. “It was beautiful at Christmas. There were stockings hanging and a beautiful centerpiece on the mantle,” she recalled. “It was a beautiful mantle, beautiful.”

SAYING GOODBYE: The Lawrences and their house, will always be a special part of Allandale and Greenlawn Parkway. From being the first house built on the street, to being the first house torn down, their home and family have made a historical impact on Austin. “The Lawrences were great,” Ms. Macken said. “Jack and I were big buddies, and Connie and John and our parents became good friends and went places together. It was a great combination of people and we all got along.” 

The mark that the Lawrence family left on the surrounding neighbors still sticks with them today.

“My oldest boy and their son Jack got along really well,” Mrs. Lena said, “so he was in our house a lot. I had three boys and a girl and kids always came to my house. I had my house always with boys. All the boys got together at my house and I made cinnamon rolls for them.”

Although it won’t be the same without the house or the family, the neighborhood has been forever changed by the Lawrence family and the original houses of Allandale.