The House in Blank Check Movie (1994) | Pemberton Castle

Explore the iconic Pemberton Castle's history, architecture, and role in the '90s movie "Blank Check."


Photo by John Guccione on

Pemberton Castle, an architectural and historic gem tucked away in Pemberton Heights, a small neighborhood in Central Austin near the University of Texas at Austin's West Campus area, is immortalized in the '90s classic "Blank Check."

Strategically placed, Pemberton Castle brings a slice of authenticity and charm to the film, seamlessly blending the lines between the fantastical and the tangible. It's not just any filming location; it's as well-known as the movie's main character, and the building helped enrich the movie's overall story with its ivy-covered walls and massive presence on the screen.

At ExpertTexan, we love highlighting unique destinations throughout the state of Texas, and this one certainly ranks high on that list. Keep reading for more information about the famous castle in the movie Blank Check!

The Movie 'Blank Check'

So, what is "Blank Check," and what does this castle have to do with it? Well, Blank Check is a popular movie (released on February 11, 1994) that tells a story of childhood dreams and infuses intricate lessons of wealth and responsibility, with the castle featured as the home of Preston Waters; the film's main character.

As new generations watch the movie, Pemberton Castle, with its majestic presence and storybook allure in the film, has captured the attention of thousands of people across the world every year who want to learn more about it.

If that happens to be you - the following information should help!

II. Historical Background of The Castle From Blank Check

Pemberton Castle's origins trace back to the 1890s, initially serving as a water tower for Austin's firefighters. In the 1920s, it transformed remarkably into the castle we recognize today.

Key figures in its history include Samuel Gideon, a renowned architect and advocate for historic preservation, who played a significant role in its conversion into a livable space, complimenting the exterior and interior with architectural salvage from various sources, infusing the structure with a deep sense of history and character.

III. The Castle in "Blank Check"

Pemberton Castle's unique architectural charm and location near the University of Texas at Austin made it an ideal choice for "Blank Check.

Pemberton Castle, the house in the movie Blank Check, as seen on the Pemberton Heights Nieghborhood Association website.
Image Source: Pemberton Heights Neighborhood Association Website

Key scenes, including the protagonist's lavish lifestyle and encounters, were set against the castle's backdrop, embedding it in pop culture. This portrayal in the movie significantly boosted the castle's fame, attracting attention from movie fans and those intrigued by its real-world history and design.

IV. Architectural Features

Pemberton Castle showcases a blend of architectural styles, originally built as a water tower before its transformation. Its design features include rough stone facades, castellated parapets reminiscent of medieval castles, and distinctive limestone wings added in the 1920s.

These elements, especially the iconic square notches and Gothic windows, were highlighted in "Blank Check," contributing to the film's outlandish ambiance and setting. The castle's blend of historical and architectural intrigue helped fuel the overall cinematic experience of the movie with its authentic, real-life grandeur.

V. Current Status

Pemberton Castle is presently a private residence and not generally open to the public for tours or events. Rumor has it that the current owner is filmmaker Robert Rodriguez.

Its ownership and usage have evolved over the past 100+ years, and while direct public access may be limited at this time, the castle remains a point of interest for architectural enthusiasts and film fans alike, celebrated for its historical significance and cinematic role.

VI. Cultural Impact and Ghost Stories

Pemberton Castle's allure extends beyond its cinematic appearance in "Blank Check," captivating the imagination with its ghost stories and local legends.

These tales have contributed to its overall mystique, making it a fascinating subject of cultural discussions. The rumored presence of ghosts, particularly from its historical past, adds an intriguing layer to its legacy beyond just being featured in the movie Blank Check.

VII. Visiting Pemberton Castle

Public access is restricted since the castle is currently a private residence, making personal visits or tours generally unavailable. However, its exterior can be admired from public viewpoints.

For those interested in learning more or exploring its cinematic connection, engaging with local historical societies or participating in Austin's architectural tours might provide additional insights and opportunities to appreciate the castle's significance from afar.

The famous Pemberton Castle in Central Texas is located near downtown Austin at 1415 Wooldridge Drive, Austin, TX 78703.

VIII. Pemberton Heights Neighborhood

Pemberton Heights is located in the historic district of Old West Austin, very close to downtown Austin, Texas. The streets are lined with tall trees that make shady canopies overhead. There are 613 homes in Pemberton Heights, ranging from cozy cottages to large mansions.

The University of Texas at Austin, the Texas State Capitol, downtown businesses, and the main medical center are all less than two miles away. It's right next to the Shoal Creek Trail, just a half-mile from Pease Park. You can also reach Lady Bird Lake/Town Lake Trail in two miles or take a short drive to Zilker Park, the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Mount Bonnell, and Emma Long Park.

Aside from the castle featured in Blank Check, the Pemberton Heights neighborhood also features other architectural styles, such as:

  • Tudor Revival

  • Colonial Revival

  • Classical Revival

  • Spanish Colonial Revival

  • Italian Renaissance Revival

  • Craftsman

  • Prairie School

The neighborhood is also home to a lot of other historic homes, including: 

IX Where To Watch Blank Check

If you have never seen the movie Blank Check, don't worry! You can stream Blank Check on Disney Plus.

IX. Conclusion

Immortalized in "Blank Check," Pemberton Castle is more than a movie set; it's a piece of Austin's history and architecture. From its 1890s water tower beginnings to a 1920s castle transformation, it fascinates movie fans and history buffs.

Despite being a private residence now, rumored to be owned by Robert Rodriguez, its cinematic and architectural significance continues to captivate. Its blend of real-world grandeur, film fantasy, and ghost stories makes it a much sought-after international subject.