Austin Texas Real Estate: The city of Austin did not begin as the sprawling metropolitan area that its residents know it as today. For centuries Native Americans hunted and camped along the streams in the area. Levi Rock located in the south portion of Austin – many of the oldest Indian archeological sites in TX. This area was frequented by Indians such as the Tonkawas, Comanches and Apaches. The people of these tribes fished at the creeks in the area, including what is today known as Barton Springs. In the 1700s, the Spanish set up missions in the area and in the 1830s the first permanent Anglo settlers established a village along the Colorado and named it Waterloo. At the time Texas was a area belonging to Mexico. Edward Burleson a veteran of the War of 1812 and later a lieutenant colonel under Stephen F. Austin in the Texas Army during the Texas Revolution. According to Texas lore Stephen Austin met Indians in the grove of Treaty Oak to negotiate and sign Texas first boundary treaty after a raid that resulted in the deaths of two children and a local judge although no historical documentation exists to confirm that this event ever happened.
1838 then vice president of the Republic, Mirabeau Lamar visited Waterloo along with some Rangers and stayed with Jacob Harrell, a friend who lived in the area. Harrel lived near the Shoal Creek. One day Lamar shot a buffalo close to present day Congress Avenue. That mornings experience left a lasting impression on him, who allegedly stated that “This will be the seat of government.” A short time later, Mirabeau Lamar would be elected president of the Republic of Texas. In 1839 Lamar nominated Waterloo as the place for the Texas Capitol. Waterloo’s nomination was very controversial and met with some opposition. Many people felt that Waterloo’s remote location made it a weak point that was prone to Indian and later Mexican raids. Lamar won in the end though, and Waterloo became the known site of the Texas capitol. The state purchased hundreds of acres for the city to be established on, and Lamar renamed Waterloo for Stephen Austin. Today, evidence of the city’s first name can be viewed in the names of businesses like the Ice House. In 1839 Edwin Waller – a govt agent and later a mayor of Austin organized then led a force of around 220 men from Houston then to Waterloo to build the new capitol city. Judge Waller named for Waller Creek surveyed the section grid plan on the capital’s streets. The original grid still survives mostly intact today in and around Austin. The town plan called for a hilltop area for a capitol building viewing down toward the flowing Colorado River from the head of Congress Avenue. Pecan Street (6th Street) have remained Austin’s principal business area for the 160 years since. October 1839 era the government of Texas came to Austin from Houston and by the following January the growing population of the new capital city. Congress put aside 41 acres of land near the capitol for a new university. The land would become the center of the UT campus in 1883.
1842: Austin nearly lost its capital city status because of the Archive War. Houston was Mirabeau political adversary and Houston won the position of president in 1841. Upon his retaking the office of president, Houston attempted relocating the Texas national archives from Austin then to Houston. It was part of his effort to move the make Houston the capital of Texas. Houston used the pretense of Mexican incursions into San Antonio as a reason to relocate the seat of Texas government, first to Houston, and then to Washington-on-the-Brazos. Soon Austin’s population took a dive to around 200 and some in Texas figured the city was going to die. December 1842 a set of men took the archives from Austin’s area to Washington near the Brazos. The Austin residents that were left in the city responded to this attempted heist forcibly saving the national state archives in Austin to be defianciant of Houston’s machinations. One citizen, Mrs Eberly, fired the cannon at them prompting them to make their escape with the archives. The men were later caught and the archives were returned to Austin. In 1842 Anson Jones was president of the Republic of Texas. He called for a convention to detail annexation to America and also to discuss the possibility of another constitution. Then Texas was transferred to the United States in 1846. In the following years two elections run that were attempted to relocate the capital of Texas out of Austin. However they were unsuccessful and a Texas constitution was created so Austin was renamed the capitol of government. During the Civil War, Texas was with the Confederates. After the war ended, Austin was controlled by a garrison that was run by General Custer, who was charged with restoration duties in Texas.
In July 1861, Austin witnessed one of its memorable historical floods. Town Lake and Austin’s dams didn’t exist at the time, and the Colorado was normally small as it flowed through the city. The month of July started with heavy rains, and the Colorado rose gradually. On the 6th of July, a flood came down the river and caused it to overflow at an alarming pace. Today, a stone marker next to Buford Tower on Town Lake records the highest level that the water reached at 43 feet. On December 25th, 1871, a great celebration coincided with the downtown arrival of the train in Austin. A decade worth of building with population growth followed, and Austin was a shipping hub in Central Texas. The last quarter of the 1800s were a busy time period, marked by the construction and establishment of many agencies, neighborhoods and businesses that persist in today in Austin. In 1878, Edwards University was established by Reverend Edward Sorin on farmland. In late 1881, the Austin schools had their first set of classes. Also in 1881, the school that would later become Tillotson University was estaablished. 1882 construction started on the UT campus, marked by the placement on the Main Classroom. The University opened and then held class on 1883.
1884 – 1885, a person called Servant Girl terrorized Austin. The axe murderer was the first known continual killer in the history of the United States. In December, 1887 the Driskill opened at Brazos and 6th. It was Austin’s premier hotel, and would open and close often in the following years. The Capitol was finished in 1888 on the area plan developed in 1839. The time of completion, it was considered the 7th largest construction in the world. The Texas Capitol remains today near the skyline. It is smaller in size than the US Fed Capitol in area but is 15 feet taller. 1891 the Hyde Park neighborhood was developed by Monroe Martin Shipe as a “White Only” streetcar suburb with a large artificial lake, and is today one of the most densely populated areas in the city. 1893 the Granite Dam was completed which stabilized the rivers flow and provided hydroelectric power to the city.
1900 a violent storm resulted in the rise of the waters of the Colorado river to 11 feet above the limestone dam. April 7th the dam burst and sent water rushing to downtown Austin. The water destroyed homes, and killed 47 Austinites. Efforts were tried to rebuild twice but both failed. Eventually Miller Dam is completed a short distance up the river during the 1940s. Miller Dam named for Robert Thomas Miller at one point Mayor of Austin formed Lake Austin which is one of the Texas lakes. Miller Dam is currently maintained and operated by the LCRA. Listings in Austin
1910 Austin opened the Congress Bridge over the Colorado River, which resulted in a boost of development on the South Congress. Today, South Congress is a very popular area in downtown Austin. It is home to many trendy restaurants, boutiques and other retail and is a very highly trafficked area by both cars and people on foot. It attracts tourists and young and old citizens from all over the city. The Littlefield and then the Scarbrough building at 6 and Congress also opened downtown in 1910. These two buildings were Austin’s early skyscrapers. 1911 Austin extended its street car line to what was considered South Austin at the time, leading to the development of the Travis Heights neighborhood in 1913. Today, Travis Heights is bordered by Town Lake to the north, I 35 to the east, Congress to the west and south Oltorf Street. Travis Heights was founded by Newning, General Stacy and Swisher in 1913, but development on the neighborhood didn’t ramp up until the 1930s. The park on Blunn Creek was donated by Stacy and is now known as Stacy Park. Stacy Park contains “Big Stacy” pool, which is spring fed and retains a constant temperature regardless of season. The park also contains “Little Stacy” swimming pool and park which was built for a Works Progress Administration job during the 1900s Great Depression.
Travis Heights was originally planned as a exclusive neighborhood for the wealthy and affluent. A neighboring development of Fairview was conceived in the late 1800s but it didn’t develop into much of anything. However in 1920 Travis Heights was well developed near Fairview and life south on the river became an attractive venture. Today Travis Heights is a desirable neighborhoods in which to live in the city of Austin. It is an eclectic mixture of mansions, smaller homes and small apartment complexes. Its proximity to popular pedestrian shopping and business areas such as Downtown Austin and South Congress, as well as its location relative to major freeways make it a very convenient place to live. Fairview Park and Travis Heights are presently requesting designation as National Historic District and Local Historic District. Austin TX Homes For Sale
In the 1930s, the LCRA replaced the Dam by constructing a group of dams determine the Colorado River’s course around Austin. LBJ who at the time was a member of Congress played an important role in procuring funding the LCRA’s dams. LBJ was a Texas native who graduated from Southwest Texas State University – Texas State University today – located south of Austin in San Marcos, and would go on to become the 37th President of the United States.
After the period of the Great Depression, the beginnings of Austin’s future as a center for technology were shaping up. By the 1950s, multiple research laboratories were founded. These drew innovative, intelligent professionals as well as high-tech corporations to the area. As Austin’s economy ramped up, many modern amenities began dotting the city. Several movie theatres were built, more public swimming pools were constructed, a branch library system was developed, and a professional baseball team – the Austin Senators – was created. Austin Listings
In 1928, Austin voters approved bonds that were used to purchase land for an airport. That airport would become Mueller Airport, named after Robert Mueller, a city council member that passed away in 1926. City officials began looking for appropriate sites for the airport and securing options on land. Consultants were used to decide on the most promising sites for the future airport. Claire Chennault – who would later garner fame as the leader of the Flying Tigers in World War II – recommended Mueller’s eventual location over the other potential sites. The airport was built over the next couple of years and officially opened on October 14th, 1930. At the time of its opening, the airport facilities consisted of one small building – smaller than most residential homes today – a gas pump and a few gravel runways. In subsequent years, the facilities at Mueller would improve. The airport’s distinctive control towers were part of a dedication in 1961 that was attended by Lyndon Johnson, who at the time was the Vice President of the United States. Unfortunately, improving the facilities was not enough to change the eventual fate of the airport. Find
Mueller’s location was just not well placed for the way that Austin developed. What had been open farmland in the 1920s became the center of town, and all around the airport lived residents who were upset with it. People driving down the interstate highway often experienced a jetliner buzzing overhead. As the city grew, so did its needs for a larger airport. However, the airport had no place to expand in its current location. Around this same time, a series of events took place that sealed the fate of Mueller Airport. In an effort to cut costs, the military began closing bases across the country, and Bergstom base was one of the installations that was planned to shut down. In the 1940s, the city of Austin had donated the land that Bergstrom was built on to the United States government with the stipulation that the land would be returned to the city once it was no longer being used. With the closure of Bergstrom, the city had land available that was already paid for, that was also further from downtown and already had runways that could accommodate large modern airplanes. Mueller’s fate was sealed.
On August 1, 1966, a UT student and former Marine by the name of Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother and then went to the top of the UT Tower where he proceeded to open fire on bystanders with a high-powered sniper rifle. Whitman killed 3 victims inside the tower, and then killed 10 others from the 28th level observation deck of the administrative building. A 14th victim, Mrs. Griffith, died a week later after the shooting as a result of her wounds. Charles Whitman had grown up in an upper class family. His father owned a plumbing business in Florida. Whitman excelled at academics and he was liked by students and neighbors. Whitman’s family had issues that came to a boiling point in 1966, which led to his mother leaving his father and moving to Texas. Whitman’s father provided for the family but was very strict and had exacting standards as to how his family acted. He was known to be both emotionally and physically abusive. Whitman’s family issues were complicated by his abuse of amphetamine and his own health issues which included terrible headaches. It was discovered that Whitman had a very brain tumor, which was discovered during the autopsy following his death. Experts allege that the tumor may have influenced his actions.
He also had frustrations related to a court martial during his time as a Marine, and his low grades as a student during his time at the UT. Several months before the shooting, he had been summoned to Florida to pick up his mom, during her divorce from her husband. The stress caused by the divorce and subsequent fracturing of his family was a recurring discussion between his psychiatrist and Whitman at the UT Health Center. Whitman was shot and killed by Austin Police Officer McCoy, who was assisted by Austin Police Officer Martinez. Houston McCoy would appear before the Travis Grand Jury in August 1966. He was granteed a justifiable homicide in regards to the death of Charles Whitman. In 1967, McCoy was granted the Medal of Valor for his part in felling Whitman. Two years later, McCoy left the police department and became an instructor for the US Air Force. In 1975, McCoy worked as Camp Ranger at a Scout camp near McKavett, Texas. In 1998, McCoy was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mr. Martinez later became an investigator, and then went on to become a Ranger, and later in New Braunfels a Justice of the Peace. 2003 he published a book titled “They Call me Ray: From the UT Sniper to Corruption in S. Texas.” The sniper incident at the University of Texas Tower led to President Johnson calling for stricter gun control policies. After the shooting, the observation deck of the Tower was closed for two years and reopened in 1968. However, after several suicides, the deck was closed again in 1974 and remained that way until 1999. Present-day access to the tower is now strictly controlled through guided tours by appointment only, during which detectors and other security measures are now in place for security. Rehabed holes from bullets can be on the limestone of the observation deck.
In the 70s, Austin became a retreat for a group of western and country musicians and songwriters. They wanted to distance themselves from the music industry’s influence of Nashville. The best known artist was Willie Nelson who became an icon for what would develop into Austin’s alternative music industry. Willie Nelson remains a beloved and a legend Austin personality to the present day. Other artists included Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan. In 1976 Austin City Limits premiered and showed off Austin’s rapidly developing music scene to the rest of the United States. The Armadillo World Headquarters gained a reputation during the 1970s as a venue for this group of musicians as well as other mainstream acts. The Armadillo World Headquarters was founded by Eddie Wilson with the assistance of Jim Franklin, Bobby Hedderman, Mike Tolleson and H. Alrich. The Funding for the business was provided by Mad Dog and Spencer Perskin.
An Armadillo Headquarters opened in August 1970, with performers Whistler, the great Hub City Movers, and Shiva’s Headband. The music hall could hold around 1,600 people but seats were limited and many people sat on the floor. The Armadillo was a success on with the progressive hippie culture within Austin because shows the hall allowed the smoking of marijuana and cheap. Illegal drug usage was taking place at the Armadillo but the hall was never raided for drugs. Some allege that the police officers were concerned about the potential of arresting fellow officers as well as state and local politicians. Soon after opening, the Armadillo began receiving publicity from national media such as Rolling Stone. The popular Time Magazine featured the Armadillo and compared its greatness to the Austin entertainment scene to what The Fillmore had done for rock music in the 1960s. Visitors to the Armadillo became a collection of hippies, businessmen and cowboys who stopped by for food, drinks and the live music. The amount of Lone Star beer sold at the Armadillo was much more than sold at the Astrodome. The Armadillo brand became so well known that even Neiman Marcus stores carried Armadillo products. Rock, progressive country and The Austin Sound. Artists that defined the sound were Michael Martin Murphy, The Lost Gonzo Band, and Jerry Jeff Walker. The Armadillo was frequented by both established and upcoming acts including Willie Nelson, ZZ Top and Ray Charles. Freddie King, Commander Cody, and Frank Zappa recorded live albums at the Armadillo. Bruce Springsteen played five shows at the location during 1974. AC/DC sang the first show inside the Armadillo in 1978. The Armadillo struggled financially for lack of organization. In 1973 the creation of the establishment of eatery services and the Armadillo Beer Garden were both efforts to generate more profits. The financially difficulties persisted. The situation was a combination of factors including large payments for the musical acts ineffective promotion and real cheap music ticket prices. The club ultimately fired staff in 1977 and to file for bankruptcy in 1978. Another reason the club went bankrupt was its location. Armadillo World Headquarters sat on nearly 7 acres of land that became one of the prime areas in the city. The Armadillo’s landlord eventually sold the property for an amount near 5 and 7 million dollars. The Armadillo’s last show took place in Dec 1981. The New Year’s act had Asleep at the Wheel and Lost Planet Airmen and the Commander Cody and was a sold out. The remnants of the Armadillo were auctioned off in January 1982 and the building was leveled for a towering high rise building.