Austin, Texas is
a unique city that doesn’t take itself too seriously. After all, you
can’t have a motto like "Keep Austin Weird" and be mentally
buttoned-up. It's a laid-back place that's full of energy and proud
of its weirdness.
Austin is like no place else in Texas, offerings run the gamut.
You'll find plenty of Texas barbecue, as well as a thriving art
community, filmmakers, sports fanatics, nearly 200 live music venues
and world-renowned festivals.
Come take a look
hills and peridot-colored waters have always and continue to define
Austin's legacy and charm. The original settlers, Tonkawa or
Tickanwatic tribes called themselves "those most like humans " and
followed deer and buffalo herds to the fertile land.
Spanish explorers first arrived in 1709 and the first Anglo
colonists were brought to the area in 1821 by Stephen F. Austin, the
Today, you can
kick back in a canoe and paddle away your stresses. If you like to
walk, run or bike, the City of Austin has developed one of the
finest trail systems in the nation. Sunny skies and mild climate
make it possible to jog year-round in Austin and many joggers are
regulars on the Town Lake Trail because of its visual beauty.
tremendous growth to the tiny settlement formerly known as Waterloo
that had been carved out of the wilderness. The 1850s saw the first
building boom and a second building boom occurred in the 1870s with
the arrival of the railroad in 1871.
In 1886, an
impressive skyline began to take shape when cattle baron Col. Jesse
Driskill opened the spectacular Driskill Hotel. Touted as "one of
the finest hotels in the whole country," this Victorian structure
remains one of the city's most distinctive landmarks.
The hotel figures
prominently in the careers of both Presidents Lyndon Johnson and
George W. Bush. Mr. Johnson and Lady Bird shared their first date at
the Driskill, and he also awaited results from the 1964 presidential
election from the hotel. In 2000, then-Governor George W. Bush set
up office at The Driskill while he awaited results from the
independence from Mexico in 1836 and remaining an independent nation
for a decade, Texas achieved statehood in 1845.
After a fire
destroyed the original limestone
Capitol, the current granite
Capitol was built and, after seven years, opened in 1888. Built of
distinctive Texas Sunset Red granite quarried in nearby Marble
Falls, the $3.7 million building stood, then and now, as the largest
of the country's statehouses. At 302 feet high, it stands 14 ˝ feet
taller than the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
At the top of the
dome here you can see the Goddess of Liberty holding her torch
standing guard over the whole town. Texans are a feisty lot and
don't take kindly to having their freedoms taken away!
which, here's a bronze statue honoring Angelina Eberly who fought for
Austin to remain the capital of Texas in 1842. Ya don't wanna mess with that
woman. Uh-uh. No sir!
1842 Texas was an independent nation and Austin was its capital. But
Sam Houston, the president of the Republic, considered Austin
vulnerable and not suitable for being the seat of government and
waged an unsuccessful campaign to move it to Houston. As a last
resort, Houston sent a military detachment to Austin to remove the
Eberly, an innkeeper in town, discovered the men loading their
wagons, she rushed to the corners of what is now 6th and Congress
and fired the town canon. This blew a hole in the Land Office
building but it also roused the populace. These citizens chased down
Houston’s men, recovered the archives and gave them to Eberly for
safekeeping. This statue honors a bold woman whose vigilance and
short temper preserved Austin as the capital of Texas.
When we visited the Capitol Building,
there is an old and torn flag of Texas that was flown during the
battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto that says: Come and take it.
These folks take their life and liberty very close to heart.
brought growth to Austin, as the population increased from 629 in
1850 to nearly 3,500 in 1860. From the beginning, Austin's
population has been made up of a variety of immigrant groups.
Germans, Swedes and Mexicans were most prominent in the early years.
Tucked away along the outskirts of the Old Enfield neighborhood was
Clarksville, a community settled in 1871 by Charles Clark. Clark, a
freedman, and his family settled on two acres of land that became
the nucleus of Austin's African-American community.
influence became more prominent during the mid-1900s as large
numbers of immigrants fled unrest during the Mexican Revolution.
That community continued to grow rapidly during the last part of the
20th century. Hispanics now make up nearly 35% of Austin's
Only a few
descendants of Clarksville's original residents still live in the
Clarksville neighborhood today. The city's African-American
community largely migrated east of downtown, and, from here, greatly
influenced one of Austin's most bankable commodities. The early jazz
and blues clubs that sprang up in the late 1920s, '30s and '40s
birthed Austin's music scene.
The late blues
guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan professed to honing his unique talent
in East Austin haunts such as Victory Grill. Austin now boasts the
title of The Live Music Capital of the World and is made up
of a diverse blend of cultures and lifestyles. It has a reputation
for being an open, accepting city with the influences of minority
communities felt in everything from the music and dining to
architecture and art.
When we visited
Austin, we were told to dive right in - whether it's the best
barbeque, the coldest margaritas or cheese that will change the way
you look at life. From fine dining to fusion cuisine to comfort food
and delectable desserts whatever your palate craves, they supply!
Let's not forget
their obvious senses of humor!
They say you can
be yourself in Austin, and celebrate everything that makes you who
you are. Here's a place where you can honor your heritage, embrace
your uniqueness and show your 'weirdness'. You'll fit right in.
In years past we
came here to Esther's Follies to watch live comedy featuring Chi Chi la Bamba. What a
hoot! The circus theme decor belies how seriously the actors
take their comedy. Their show is filled with magic, jokes and
parodies. The back of the stage is a window that looks out on 6th
street, which in itself provides plenty of impromptu content. An
excellent diversion from the bar scene in Austin.
What could be
more descriptive of Texas Cattle Country than Texas Barbecue? If you
want to taste the best barbecue in Austin, go to
The Iron Works Restaurant on River
Street, and tell Charlotte we said hello!
history, Austin has doubled in population every 20 years. The past
two decades were no exception. With 657,000 people living within the
city limits, Austin now ranks as the country's 16th largest city.
The total metropolitan area includes 1.2 million.
Much of the
city's most recent growth is a result of a technology boom. In 1967,
Tracor Industries set up shop in far northwest Austin. Others soon
followed—IBM, Texas Instruments, 3M, Motorola, Advanced Micro
Devices, Samsung, Dell. From buffalo chips to computer chips, the
little trading post by the river has emerged as the focal point of
the Silicon Hills.
For the past two
decades, Austin has made history as a leader in both technology and
creativity. The same entrepreneurial spirit that led 19-year-old
Michael Dell to launch a Fortune 500 company from his University of
Texas dorm room has also propelled Austin as a music and film
So it doesn't
seem to matter who you are, where you have come from or what you are
looking for, Austin,Texas has something of interest for everyone.