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Stephen F. Austin (1793-1836)


Born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri, Stephen Fuller Austin is considered the founder of AngloAmerican Texas. At the age of eleven years, he attended school in Connecticut and later graduated with distinction from Transylvania University in Kentucky. In 1813, at the age of twenty-one years, he was elected to the territorial Legislature of Missouri, and was reelected to that position each year until 1819, when he moved to Arkansas. Meanwhile, Stephen's father, Moses Austin, received a grant of land in Texas for purposes of colonization. The elder Austin died soon after returning to Missouri from a trip to Texas, but bequeathed his grant to Stephen with instructions to carry it to a successful completion. Accordingly, after many delays and frustrations with the Mexican government, Steven Austin introduced a large number of colonists from the United States. An unassuming man with a kindly presence, he was deeply respected by all, and achieved unparalleled influence over the often unruly settlers in Anglo Texas. Austin is remembered in Texas history for his many efforts on behalf of Texas before, during, and immediately after Texas' Revolution with Mexico. His contributions to Texas included: long and perilous pilgrimages to Mexico on behalf of Texas; his unwillingness to counsel his people to take up arms against the Mexican government as long as any hope for peace remained; his firm and decided voice, speaking words of encouragement and hope during the darkest days of the revolution; and his laborious travels in the United States to obtain needed support for his struggling countrymen. After devoting the best years of his life to the cause of Texas, Austin was overcome by disease and on 27 December 1836 died an untimely death at the age of forty-three years.


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The site of Waterloo was purchased for the capital of the Republic of Texas in March 1839 and renamed in honor of Stephen F. Austin. On August 1, 1839, the first city lots were sold at auction. The city was officially incorporated on December 27, 1839. The capital of Texas was named in honor of Stephen F. Austin at the site of the small community that was formerly known as Waterloo. By 1840 the city's population grew to 856, but in 1842 the President of Texas, Sam Houston, moved the seat of government to Houston and then to Washingtonon-the-Brazos, which was the capital of Texas until 1845. During this time Austin's population had dropped below 200. In 1845 Texas was annexed into the United States and on February 19, 1846, Austin formally became the state's capital


What's the origin of the term "City of the Violet Crown" referring to Austin? Did it really originate with O. Henry?

The earliest mention the Austin History Center has found is from an article published in the Austin Daily Statesman on Wednesday, August 8, 1894. The article, "The Rest of the News," begins: "May 5,1890, was a memorable day in Austin. It was memorable for the reason that on that day the citizens of the City of the Violet Crown voted to build a granite dam across the Colorado River..."

For a long time, it was believed that the first published use of the phrase is found in O. Henry's short story "Tictocq" in the Rolling Stones collection of O. Henry short stories. It was originally published in his local newspaper The Rolling Stone on October 27, 1894.

According to the City of Austin's History Center, the phrase was first used in O. Henry s story "Tictocq: The Great French Detective, In Austin", published in The Rolling Stone on October 27, 1894. In chapter 2 of Tictocq, O. Henry writes: "The drawing-rooms of one of the most

magnificent private residences in Austin are a blaze of lights. Carriages line the streets in front, and from gate to doorway is spread a velvet carpet, on which the delicate feet of the guests may tread. The occasion is the entrĂŠe into society of one of the fairest buds in the City of the Violet Crown."


The story I'm most familiar with also happens to be my personal favorite: With near-by hills that keep air-born things from drifting on to other places, Austin has a fair amount of haze. Before the current problem of auto exhaust, it was attributable to smoke, dust and such. At sunset, and into dusk, the haze takes on a purple cast, covering all with a violet crown. I've experienced this evening corona, and it is truly lovely. We also liked the fact that the nickname has a literary connection. The first published use of the phrase was in O. Henry's short story Tictocq: The Great

French Detective, in Austin. The story was originally published in his locally published newspaper The Rolling Stone on October 27, 1894.


Where was "Chili Square"? It was where Republic Square is now, framed by Guadalupe, 4th, San Antonio and 5th Streets. Walker's Austex Chile Company had its office at 310 San Antonio and its plant at 500-502 W. 5th Street from the 1920s to the 1950s. Also, up until the 1920s, the blocks surrounding this square were populated by a large number of Mexican-Americans. For more than 50 years (1870 to the late 1920s), the local MexicanAmerican community congregated there, holding public dances, fiestas, and annual Diez y Seis celebrations. Though there's no record of permanent structures on the block, anecdotal information suggests there was once a bandstand and food carts or kiosks. Due to the proximity of the Walker's AusTex Chili canning factory down the street from the 1920s through the 1950s, the area was also sometimes known as "Chili Square." On Saturday, May 3, Republic Square Park becomes home to a weekly community-supported farmers' market, once again a vibrant part of city life.


What 1940s Austin nightclub was on the "Chitlin Circuit"?

The Historic Victory Grill.is Austin, Texas

oldest, standing blues club.

Established in 1945 by Johnny Holmes, the Victory Cafe was originally an icehouse that hosted local blues musicians out on the porch while selling beer to local patrons in the hot Austin summer. Later, in 1949, Johnny Holmes decided to expand the icehouse and build a bar & grill that provided a space for African American soldiers returning from the war to enjoy good food and good entertainment (segregation prohibited these soldiers from doing so in most parts of town), appropriately calling it the Victory Grill. Eventually, Johnny Holmes, an astute music promoter and businessman, extended the cafĂŠ, adding the Kovac Room. It was fabulous! said Johnny Holmes, and one of the most sought after music venues for local and touring blues and R&B artists. It was time to bring B.B. King out of Memphis.


Jim Crow was an era in American history when Colored People or Negroes (as then designated), were segregated (by law) into designated communities. It was the practice of Negroes to colonize in areas that were safe and selfcontained, building their own churches, schools, eating places and of course Juke Joints . Historians have documented 1925-1974 as an era reveling the height of African American Music in the United States. Spirituals, gospel, blues, R&B (especially the Motown sound) and jazz have been duly noted as American music forms emanating from the souls of black folk . The large number of juke joints and particular routes traveled from juke joint to juke joint became the renowned Chitlin Circuit . Many great musicians careers depended and evolved on the circuit and the music in these joints. The Chitlin Circuit remains an extremely influential and important piece of American music. However, it is highly undocumented, since after desegregation, many of these juke joints and particular routes traveled from juke joint to juke joint became the renowned Chitlin Circuit . Many great musicians careers depended and evolved on the circuit and the music in these joints. The Chitlin Circuit remains an extremely influential and important piece of American music. However, it is highly undocumented, since after desegregation, many of these juke joints


disappeared, leaving few paper trails. For such reasons, the Chitlin Circuit is often seen as something mythical. The Historic Victory Grill dispels that myth. From the late 1920s to the late 1960s, Austin s East 11th and 12th Streets boasted a Chitlin Circuit scene showcasing local blues and jazz talent as well as touring acts like in the 1920s the Satchmo great Louis Armstrong to R&B artists in the 1950s like Ike & Tina Turner and the 60s the greatest of B.B. King and Bobby Blue Bland. The streets were lined with juke joints that attracted neighborhood patrons as well as university students from neighboring Houston Tillotson College and the University of Texas at Austin. During this time, the Victory Grill hosted such renown, musicians like B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Big Joe Williams, and a host of local greats such as Blues Boy Hubbard, T. D. Bell and Erbie Bowser. Artists like Billie Holiday and later Janis Joplin also made the grill a regular stop when in the city, as it was a gathering place for musicians from all walks of life.

Today, the Historic Victory Grill is one of the last remaining, original Chitlin Circuit juke joints. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, archived by the Texas Historic Commission, and donned as a Texas Treasure by the statewide organization Preservation Texas. It represents all of the juke joints that once lined Austin s east side that have come and gone. It also represents an important piece of Austin s African American cultural roots in a neighborhood that is undergoing change. The Historic Victory Grill is currently experiencing an


exciting restoration process that plans to bridge Chitlin Circuit preservation and restoration under the umbrella of a working juke joint and cafĂŠ, serving good food, providing good entertainment and educational opportunities that link past African American musical forms and culture with the present.


What Native America tribe was most common in the area? • “The Tonkawa Indians were the most common in this area around the time of Austin’s founding.” • “The Comanche's and Lipan Apaches also frequently ranged into the vicinity.” • “All the Tribes were nomadic, moving their camps frequently to follow the available food supply.”


Why is there a cross in Austin's city seal? The cross (and the wings) were features of the Austin Family crest that were incorporated into the city's seal design. Austin's city seal was designed in 1916 by Ray F. Coyle of San Francisco, who won the nationwide design competition.


Who was Austin's first Mexican-American elected official? Richard Moya was the first Mexican-American elected to county office when he became County Commissioner in 1970. The first Mexican-American to serve on the Austin City Council was John Trevi単o, elected in 1975. Native Austinite, Richard Moya, (1932- ), son of Bertha and Pete Moya, was the first Mexican American elected to the Travis County (Texas) Commissioners Court representing Precinct 4. Moya served four full terms, or sixteen years as County Commissioner beginning in 1970 to 1986. He was appointed as one of three Deputy Chiefs of Staff under Governor Ann Richard s administration from 1991 to 1995. Moya served as delegate to the National Democratic Convention in 1972. Moya has been active as a civic leader all of his life and is still active in national, state, and local politics. He is well known as a man of action and a problem solver. Moya is a principal partner in the small business, First Team, a company that specializes in marketing research. Moya grew up in predominantly Hispanic East Austin, attending Austin s Mexican School Zavala Elementary. Later his family moved south of East First Street (Caesar Chavez), near Metz Elementary, the White School. He and his sister,


Christine Irene, were still expected to attend Zavala Elementary because of their Mexican ethnicity. His mother Bertha wanted them to attend the school closer to their home. She confronted the Superintendent of Schools about the matter, and Moya and his sister were reassigned to Metz Elementary School. He attended Allen Junior High, which had a mixed white and Hispanic student population. He then went on to Austin High School, where he graduated with the Class of 1950. It was in high school that he met his wife to be, Gertrude Garza. They were married in Februrary 15,1953 and had two children, Danny (deceased) and Margaret Lorraine.

Mr. Moya was drafted into the armed service from 1953 to 1955 as a Sergeant 1st Class in the Korean War and later was in the Army National Guard. He learned the printing trade when working at Best Printing on East 19th Street in Austin. He


remained in the printing business for almost 15 years and became a union journeyman printer. In 1966 he took the job as Investigator for the Travis County Legal Aid Society and worked with the Office of Economic Opportunity. It was here that he was exposed to the intricacies of county government and made the decision to seek elected office. While announcing for a seat on Travis County Commissioners Court, Precinct 4 in 1969, he stated I feel that I must run for this office, with the goal of seeking a more efficient form of local government, one that will respond readily to the needs of the people of this community. [Austin American 12-15-1969]. In 1970, he won the election and became the first Mexican American to be elected in Travis County as County Commissioner, Precinct 4. He helped form the Mexican American Democrats (MAD) between 1972-1973 and from this group, the Tejanoj Democrats developed. Moya s political career spanned over 20 years in county and state governments, serving in both elected and appointed positions. However, his role as a community leader covers an even broader span of time. Moya has served as treasurer of the Austin Aces Athletic Club, the Pan-Am Advisory Board, as well as the Capital Area Planning Council and the Century Club. He has remained active in national, state, and local politics.


What is the history of Barton Springs? Barton Springs, a group of springs that are counted as the fourth largest spring in Texas, have been attracting attention since the members of various Native American tribes found them to be a reliable and comfortable campsite thousands of years ago. “Uncle Billy” Barton bought the land around the springs in 1837, just before Austin was founded as the capital of the Republic of Texas. The two major springs were named after Barton's daughters Parthenia and Eliza. Although widely popular as a public swimming hole, campground, and picnic site during the late 1800s, it was 1918 before the springs came under public ownership, when Andrew Zilker donated the land around the springs to the Austin school district, which in turn sold the land to the City of Austin for public park land. The city enlarged the pool and built the surrounding sidewalks in the 1920s, creating "the finest municipal resort in the entire southwest." It also built two permanent bath houses—a two-story wooden structure in 1922 that washed away in the flood of 1935 and the current limestone building in 1946. An average of 26 million gallons of water issue from the Edwards Aquifer through the springs each day at a stable and chilly 68° F.

Barton Springs is Austin. It is the largest natural swimming pool in the United States located within an urban area, setting Austin apart from other metropolitan cities. Barton Springs is Austin's soul and sums up everything that Austin stands for. A chilly swimming hole, the center of a political and environmental debate, a meeting place. Barton Springs is all of these things. Here you can swim with politicians, musicians, ducks and salamanders. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of 'Leonard', a giant fish reputed to patrol the waters. Barton Springs has been used by people inhabiting this area for tens of thousands of years. In the days before air conditioning


Austinites used the springs to stay cool. Barton Springs has powered several mills, cooled many Native American tribes, hosted Spanish missionaries, provided a community meeting place for early settlers, and soothed millions of people over the years


WHAT is the oldest house in Austin? The French Legation, at 802 San Marcos, is Austin's oldest documented structure still on its original site. Construction began in December 1840 to the specifications ordered by France's representative to the Republic of Texas, Jean Pierre Isidore Alphonse Dubois de Saligny. The French Legation is now open to the public as a museum.


Why was Austin's first municipal airport named Mueller Airport? Robert Mueller was a City Councilmember who died in January 1927, just months after being elected to office. The council chose to honor his dedication to service and his civic contributions by naming the first municipal airport after him after it opened in 1930. According to the Austin American, "it was helping his city which has probably hastened his death, for on that night, according to members of the city council, he told them he was ill about 10 o'clock, and they asked him to stay a little while longer for the budget was almost planned and they needed his guidance. He remained, and every little while he would remark he was sick, but finally, with plans nearly completed, he went home at 11:30 o'clock."


What were the boundaries of the "Freedman's Towns" founded in and near Austin after the Civil War? Former African-American slaves freed during the Civil War lived all over Austin, but settled primarily in the following communities: 

Clarksville, first settled by Charles Clark, went from West Lynn to the MissouriPacific railroad tracks and from 10th Street to Waterston Avenue. Wheatville [not Wheatsville] was named for James Wheat and was bounded by Rio Grande Street and Shoal Creek on the east and west and by 24th and 26th Streets on the south and north. Masontown was begun by Sam and Raiford Mason and covered the approximate area between 3rd and 6th Streets and Chicon and Waller Streets. Kincheonville, named for Thomas Kinchion [sic], was a small farming community in what is now southwest Austin, within an area roughly described by Paisano Trail, Longview Road, Davis Lane, and Brodie Lane.

After the Civil War was over, all was still not well. Everything that had been destroyed by the war had to be rebuilt, including the government in the South. Laws were passed to give equal rights to blacks, but blacks continued to be treated differently. Read more about Reconstruction, the time after the Civil War, when the country began to recover from the fighting. When the war was ended, there was much to be done. The South had to rebuild houses, buildings, farms, and stores, while little of the North had been destroyed. The former slave owners now had to let blacks vote, run for office, and learn. The new country was beginning to reconstruct itself, but it was not easy. To get more information on the fight to change the South and rebuild the country.


After the Civil War, it took over 100 years for blacks to have the same equal rights as whites. Three amendments to the U.S. Constitution helped blacks have the same opportunities as whites and have the same right to vote.


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