Commodore Perry Estate

CommodorePerryEstate.jpg
Austin, TX
United States
Commodore Perry Estate

Landscape Information

Edgar and Lutie Perry Estate; St. Mary’s Academy

Located two miles north of downtown Austin, the gardens of this ten-acre estate were established by Edgar and Lutie Perry in 1917—almost a decade before the construction of their mansion. Perry specialized in international trade, providing him opportunities to visit gardens in Europe. In 1917, he purchased a gravel pit north of the Austin Country Club (now Hancock Golf Course), which would serve as his family’s country retreat. He relocated a house from another site and constructed a sunken garden. The lower level comprised fountains and pools, statuary, a rock garden, and a cross-axial layout with sections of lawn bounded by hedges. The upper terrace, bordered by an ornate balustrade, included a curved seating area overlooking the property. In 1925, Perry acquired a neighboring parcel (a dairy traversed by Waller Creek) and had the entire estate enclosed with a stone wall and wrought-iron fence. Architect Henry Bowers Thomson designed the Italian Renaissance Revival mansion (completed in 1926) on the ridge at the top of the property. Another terraced garden was added, which included a marble fountain on axis with the mansion’s loggia and an ornamental gate at the southwest edge of the property.  

In 1944, Perry sold the estate and, three years later, St. Mary’s Academy relocated to the property from downtown Austin. Over the years, several buildings were constructed to accommodate the Academy (and subsequent schools that occupied the site), displacing a portion of the Perry-era landscape but keeping the formal gardens mostly unaffected. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Today, the estate serves as an event space.