Austin Fence and Deck

Cathedral of Junk

The Cathedral of Junk in Austin, Texas is far from being a junk pile; instead, it is a creative portrayal of discarded and forgotten things, then given a new life. 

Unlike other attractions in Austin that seem very busy, the Cathedral of Junk blends with the neighborhood. It is quietly situated in a small house’s backyard on a suburban street on the city’s south side. But from the street, this attraction is invisible.

A Brief History 

Curator and creator Vince Hanneman started building the Cathedral of Junk in 1989 in his backyard. The structure is a passion project. But today, it is considered an evolving community sculpture of various junk. Pipes, bicycles, old televisions, and other scrap materials are creatively piled together in a high structure with stairways, a throne room, a tower, and secret rooms. 

The Cathedral is like a clubhouse for kids but essentially for adults. The sunbeams peek through the structure’s ceiling, and the wind chimes create a welcoming atmosphere. Browse this website

But a few years ago, the city received a complaint from some neighbors about the public safety concern. In reality, these people thought of the Cathedral as an eyesore. Official complaints about the issue were filed; however, the Cathedral was believed to be structurally safe. 

This attraction was thought entirely safe after Hanneman was forced to remove more than 50 tons of junk and got the engineer’s final approval. He also needed to demolish the pyramids of televisions and replace them with a smaller versions. 

Some people see the Cathedral of Junk as weird, but others consider it one of the most offbeat attractions in Austin that keeps attracting more tourists.

How to Get to the Cathedral of Junk 

As mentioned, the Cathedral of Junk is nestled in a quiet, private residential neighborhood in Austin’s south side. To get there, visitors should take the Ben White Boulevard E (Highway 71 exit) and then the 71 west to the Congress Avenue exit. Next, they need to head south a few blocks. From there, turn right on St. Elmo Road W. Finally, take the second left onto Lareina Dr. 

What to See 

This 60-ton abstract art structure is the most bizarre and quirkiest art attraction in Austin. It is known for being the melting point of the bygone era’s relics of technologies and modern parts, helping people relive the past. The 33-foot junk structure is made from various items, offering many colors as well. 

Some items that Hanneman used to construct the Cathedral include:

  • Road signs 
  • A speed limit
  • Tires 
  • Bicycle rims 
  • Old couch 
  • Toilet bowl 
  • Metal bars 
  • A loudspeaker 
  • Toilet 
  • A replica of the statue of liberty 
  • Metal barriers and scaffolding 
  • Utensils 
  • Wires 
  • Mirrors 
  • Doors 
  • Car license plates 
  • Helmets 
  • Tennis rackets 
  • And other random junk 

When tourists visit the Cathedral at night, they see the structure lit up with varied colored neon lights. Plus, clocks, neon signs, and other items that still work add a twist to it. The cleverly camouflaged electric power cables create an intricately fantastic maze. 

The Cathedral of Junk’s most astonishing fact is that the structure itself was not welded together. Hanneman said that he used the improvisation ingenuity of MacGyver to join together the puzzling and towering structure like a bird’s nest. 

Browse next article

As tourists explore inside, the raised ceiling makes it feel bigger than it actually is. Hanneman did not include hollow materials that can retain water when wet to preserve the structure. 

Visiting Fee, Hours, and Parking 

The Cathedral of Junk is always open with no regular hours. However, interested tourists need to make an appointment by calling ahead. 

Visiting the Cathedral is free of charge but accepts donations. As of 2020, the requested donation for individuals is $5; for groups is $10, and kids can enter for free. In most cases, there is plenty of parking in the street. But parking around the St. Elmo corner is advisable during hectic days. 

Moreover, Hanneman limits visitors per day to between 200 and 300 tourists. He also welcomes a tour and rental upon request. Bachelor parties, birthdays, and weddings are hosted at an agreed fee. Also, it hosts school field trips, girl scouts, and senior citizens. 

Here are a few tips when visiting the Cathedral of Junk 

  • Call ahead to make an appointment; do not just show up.
  • It is recommended to wear closed-toe shoes because there are plenty of spiky and sharp objects around.
  • Allocate at least one hour to explore the site.
  • Visitors can sometimes bring their own contributions, but ensure to contact Hanneman first.
  • Keep an eye on kids because the structure is maze-like, and the stairs are a bit uneven.
  • There is no bathroom on-site.
  • Bringing food and drink is allowed, but no alcohol.
  • Do not forget to sign your name alongside thousands of other tourists at the end of the tour. 

Important Information About Cathedral of Junk 

  • Address: 4422 Lareina Dr, Austin, TX 78745
  • Phone: +1 512-299-7413
  • Website: