The History Of Austin, Texas

This article is a brief history of the city of Austin Texas. Find out how Austin began was a small settlement called Waterloo and grew into the state capitol of Texas.

The city of Austin is located along the Colorado River in Texas. This city is the state capitol of Texas as well as the county seat of Travis County. Austin has a unique history that reflects the growing pains and the tribulations of the young United States of America.

The Tonkawa, Comanche, and Lipan Apache Indian tribes at one time populated the area that is now Austin. In the late 1700s the Spanish came to the area to construct temporary missions. It wasn't until 1830s that the first Anglo-American settlers arrived and began to settle into the area. They called their new settlement Waterloo. Waterloo was dubbed the capital of the New Republic of Texas and the town quickly began to grow. The growing community was then named after Stephen F. Austin.

The government arrived in Austin in 1839 and by the next year the population of the city grew to 850 people. Austin was incorporated in the same year. The city was planned and a hilltop site was chosen for the capitol building that was to be built. In 1840 Edwin Waller was elected as the young city's first mayor. When Texas became part of the United States in 1845, elections were held in the state of Texas and it was decided that Austin would remain the capitol of the state.



During the civil war Austin and the rest of Travis County voted against secession. Support for this began to decrease as the war continued. By the year 1962, six hundred men from Travis County had entered into the Confederate army.

Austin got its first connection to the railroad in 1871. The city experienced more growth when this happened. Austin was the only train station in the area and it became a center for trade. In the next five years the population would double to over 10,000 people. The 1870s saw the first gas lamps and streetcars arriving in the city. In 1881 Austin was chosen as the site for the University of Texas.

Austin opened their public school system in 1881. In 1888 the capitol building was finally completed and was billed the "7th largest building in the world". The construction for the Great Granite Dam on the Colorado River was completed in 1893. The city of Austin was pleased with the results. This dam supplied hydraulic power to the city and this was a major selling point for manufacturers thinking of moving into the Austin area. This dam never performed as expected and eventually collapsed in 1900.

By the 1950 technology began to gain a foothold in Austin. Laboratories and think tanks sprung up around the city. Austin established movie theaters and a library system. Technology based companies began to move into the area and the city got a professional baseball team called the Austin Senators.

The 1970s saw times of strong political leadership within the city. The citizens became concerned with the condition of the city of Austin. Issues about Austin's neighborhoods and environment soon took center stage. This was the time when music became prevalent in the city. Recording artist Willie Nelson was among the artists that helped bring the city's music scene to life.

Austin's population as of the year 2000 was just over 650,000, making it the fourth largest city in Texas. The population of Austin is a diverse mix that makes the city a truly unique place to live and work. This city has a vibrant music scene. The Austin City Limits television show originates here. This show is the longest running live performance television show on US television. Austin is also known for its moon towers. These were built in the late 1800s and were featured in the movie Dazed and Confused. Austin takes pride in its high technology based economy. Dell and IBM are two of the biggest employers in the area.

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