Architects restore town designed by Willie Nelson

Old West-style town appeared in 1986 film “Red Headed Stranger”

Architects Restore Town Designed By Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson and Cushing Terrell president Greg Matthews with Luck, Texas (Getty, Cushing Terrell)

An Old West town on the outskirts of Austin designed by county music legend Willie Nelson has been brought back to life.

Architecture firm Cushing Terrell restored the pop-up town of Luck, which Nelson designed for his 1986 film “Red Headed Stranger,” the Architect’s Newspaper reported. Luck, located about 30 miles northwest of Austin in the Texas Hill Country, was never torn down after production ended.

The town resembles something right out of a classic Western movie, similar to the fictional town of Rock Ridge in “Blazing Saddles.” In the film, Nelson played a pastor determined to bring law and order to Luck.

Over time, architects from Cushing Terrell were brought in to revamp this movie set into a functional performing arts and hospitality venue. Phase one of the project, completed in September, converted the Saloon and Opry House into usable spaces while preserving the town’s unique charm.

Cushing Terrell built a 642-square-foot addition for backstage operations at the 1,340-square-foot Opry House, which serves as a stage, dance floor and whiskey bar, the outlet said.

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The Opry House was restored as if it were a preservation landmark. Cushing Terrell worked to maintain the original wood-clad walls, floors and exposed wood trusses. This project has breathed new life into Luck, allowing it to host up to 4,000 guests.

The restored town is now connected to Austin via a dirt road and is also home to 70 rescued horses on the 500-acre Luck Ranch.

This project came to fruition just in time for Willie Nelson’s annual Luck Reunion, where over 35 bands perform for the public. Phase two of the project, set to begin in the coming months, will restore more buildings in Luck.

Quinn Donoghue

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