There’s a cross in the median between two busy lanes of traffic on William Cannon Dr. near the intersection of West Gate Blvd. Since there’s a Starbucks nearby, I frequent this area regularly and today I finally stopped to visit the roadside memorial.
I thought about the many times I’d passed this cross. It is always covered with a new crop of flowers and the cross is leaning to one side. The effect is to make the site feel improvised, marking an event that feels fresh and recent. I was looking for a name or a date or a signal to indicate the meaning of this place. Though it wasn’t clear who cross memorializes, has been here for quite some time and it continues to draw attention.
As I looked from behind, it was interesting to see that the canted cross is constructed of steel tubes and is solidly anchored in the ground. It is certainly not improvised. Nor is the tilted angle. With this subtle gesture, the creator of this memorial made a significant and effective design gesture. The slight angle makes welded steel feel provisional and temporary. And over and over again we see the cross, with the regularly changed silk flowers, with fresh eyes and attention.
Intersection of William Cannon Dr. and West Gate Blvd. Austin, Texas