Fire at Barr Mansion

Barr Mansion Fire

by Eric Hegwer on 9 June, 2010


Hi – I understand your concern about the situation at Barr Mansion, and I want to help any way I can.  I’ve personally visited the grounds and spoken with the owners, and want to re-assure you that your wedding will be perfect!

To help out a little, I’m offering 10% off my already low wedding photography rates (3 of 5 packages under $2,300, and then the discount!)  If you haven’t yet decided on a wedding photographer, please contact me, and I’ll work with you to make sure your photos are incredible!   Email me at with your wedding date for more info.

Last night a very very sad thing happened.  The Austin metro area was having one of the late spring thunderstorms that are so common this time of year.  Unfortunately, during last night’s storm a bolt of lightning struck Barr Mansion and the ballroom caught on fire and was destroyed.

Not only is this a tragedy for the wedding venue, and all the brides who were planning their wedding there, but also all the couples who got married in the magnificent ballroom that was one of the gems of the Austin Wedding community.

Immediately upon hearing the news, I headed out to talk with the owners and see if there was anything I could do to help.  Upon arrival, as the fire crews were just finishing mopping up, I was greeted by Abby and her father, and several of the absolute best wedding pros in the Area.  Damon, the owner of Marquee Rents had already measured the grounds and was arranging for new tents for this weekends weddings.

The great news about this situation, it is that the rest of the grounds are OK.  The old victorian house was spared, as was all the additional buildings.  Only the ballroom was destroyed.  Everything else is in perfect condition.  The old pecan tree is still standing, and the rose garden looks absolutely beautiful this spring.

Barr mansion was the first wedding venues in the country to obtain USDA organic green certification.  They were a Zero Waste facility recycling 97% of all garbage generated.  They were featured in numerous magazines, from Martha Stewart Weddings, to Texas Monthly, and everything in between.

After talking with everyone, I learned that Barr Mansion has already made arrangements for all the upcoming weddings.  The couples that were scheduled to wed this weekend have all been contacted and arrangements (and even upgrades) are in the works.

I know that right now things seem tough, but I am also confident, that in the near future, Barr Mansion will rebuild and be even better than before.

Most of the building is hidden behind the landscaping

Most of the building is hidden behind the landscaping

The ballroom was still smoldering when I arrived.

The ballroom was completely destroyed.

Fire at Barr Mansion

Fire at Barr Mansion

The ballroom was still smoldering when I arrived

The ballroom was still smoldering when I arrived

The victorian house was undamaged

The victorian house was undamaged, and the owners were already planning how to take care of all the clients.

This is where the tent will go for all the scheduled weddings at Barr Mansion

This is where the tent will go for all the scheduled weddings at Barr Mansion

All the other buildings at the venue were untouched, and remain perfect.

All the other buildings at the venue were untouched, and remain perfect.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristi Wright June 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I’m so glad you were able to get out there and take these photos. I have not spoken to the bride and groom, who’s wedding is scheduled to take place here on Friday, since this morning. Hopefully they’ll be satisfied with how things are being handled. My heart goes out to the people at the Barr.

Eric Hegwer June 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I can tell you that Beth and her dad are bending over backwards to make everything right. While I was there measurements for tents were being taken for the front lawn. Generators were being ordered, refrigerators for food and flowers were on their way (for the upcoming weekend’s weddings), and even special decorations like extra chandeliers were coming in.

Mary Baird-Wilcock June 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Thank you so much for taking photos of this tragic event. We have past clients who have gotten married there that wanted to see what happened. Such a tragedy, I really hope they rebuild.

The Simplifiers are here to help them however they need it.

Damon Holditch June 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Mark McAfee and his staff will beable to honor all contracts with future brides. Mark is working now to assure all clients of Barr Mansion’s commentment and ability to provide the servies requested by their clients. The entire Event Industry in Austin is standing by to assist Mark and his staff as they regroup and rebuild.

Kathy Reece June 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I’m so proud and honored to be part of the event community here in Austin. It’s wonderful how everyone pulls together to help one another.

Austin Wedding Blog June 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

Thanks for sharing these photos Eric. I’m speechless as I’m sure you are. Barr Mansion is a beautiful venue and I’m sure it will be up and running 100% again in no time. – Rachel

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