Fitting for world-class city and wacky Texas capital, Austin has some pretty awesome neighborhoods. Behind each of these neighborhoods is a history, and behind each name a story. Here are a few Austin neighborhoods whose namesakes present compelling or otherwise fascinating stories.
Bouldin Creek helps put the funk in Austin’s funky. But the neighborhood hasn’t always been characterized by tattoo parlors, second-hand shops, and traveling food trucks. It was named after an ambitious Virginia-born colonel who made his way to Austin via Missouri before buying a substantial mass of land stretching from the Colorado River to William Cannon Drive. Today, Bouldin Creek is one of Austin’s oldest neighborhoods.
One of Austin’s newer neighborhoods, Brentwood was a cotton farm until the mid-20th century. Following the end of World War II, private soldiers wrapping up their careers and looking to start families settled the area. The neighborhood continues to rank among the most desirable and family-friendly in Austin, and is home to the AMLI 5350 apartments and popular bar, restaurant, and live music venue Threadgill’s.
Elisha Pease served Texas as governor both before and after the Civil War. Following the Emancipation Proclamation, Pease sold and gifted land to former slaves. One of the beneficiaries was named Charles Clark. Clark played a significant role in establishing Clarksville, one of the first freedmen’s colonies west of the Mississippi River.
Recognized for its excellence in customer service, efficiency, and quality retail and food offerings, Austin-Bergstrom International is a pleasant airport to have at home. Before it was built, passengers flying in and out of Austin were served by Mueller Airport. The mixed-use community that rose like a phoenix from the dust of the former airport’s ashes is now hardly recognizable. It’s home to dozens of retail shops and services, luxury apartments like AMLI at Mueller, Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios, and a plethora lush green space.
Old Enfield is named for the home building company that subdivided the neighborhood in 1910. Prior to the subdivision by the Enfield Realty and Home Building Company, present-day Old Enfield was part of the Pease family’s vast Austin landholdings. Just west of downtown, the neighborhood is especially popular among government officials and high-ranking University of Texas staff. Four state governors, two city mayors, UT coaches, and several faculty members have called the neighborhood home.
You can’t always tell much about a neighborhood from its name. In any case, it’s interesting to uncover the namesakes of your neighborhood and other popular neighborhoods in your city. Another fun way to unpack your city’s history is through visits to historic sites. Downtown Austin has several of them.
Have you heard any lore about your Austin neighborhood’s history? Share with a comment below.
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