Between the time it was built in July 1946 until its demolition in the expansion of Braker Lane in 1989, the Skyline held more musical history than any club in Austin. Best known today for being the site of the final concerts by both Hank Williams (Dec. ’52) and Johnny Horton (Nov. ’60)- both men married to the former Billie Jean Jones at the times of their deaths- this 250-capacity roadhouse on the old Dallas Highway out of Austin is also where Austin punk legends Scratch Acid played its first show. Elvis Presley packed the club in 1955, after previous appearances at Dessau Hall and the Sportcenter (later site of the Armadillo World Headquarters.) The Skyline was also the second location of Soap Creek Saloon for a year.
During its honky tonk heyday, such acts as Johnny Cash, George Jones and Ernest Tubb played the Skyline. Loretta Lynn was so impressed by the house band (which backed many touring country acts), that she tried to take them on the road with her. A couple went, but Henry “Poochy” Hill, the bass player stayed in Austin because he had a good job with the city.
The Skyline was hardcore country, but such local acts as Dolores and the Blue Bonnet Boys, Jimmy Heap and the Melody Masters and Grouchy and the Texans always threw in a couple polka numbers each night to get the old Germans and Czechs on the dancefloor. Wednesday was 10-cent beer night and every night was don’t-give-Maybell-Crumbley-any-lip night. The waitress was as well known as owner Warren Stark, who personally picked up Hank Williams in Dallas and drove him to the Skyline for his Dec. 19, 1952 swan song. Ol’ Hank did sing a few songs at a party for the musicians union in Alabama a few days later, but the Skyline was his final concert. Hank Williams’ heart broke for the final time on New Year’s Day 1953.