West Austin is a National Register Historic District, positioned north of Lady Bird Lake and west of downtown. Established in 1853, the district is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Texas Governor Elisha Peace owned several plantations in the region which he later sold to former slaves who built homes there. The northern edge of West Austin was later named Clarksville in honor of Charles Clark, a freed slave who helped build the community.
Deep Eddy Pool. Courtesy of the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, C0 1786.
Today, the district contains nearly 106 blocks of residential and park land, located in Austin’s central business district. The area is composed of three main sections: Enfield, Pemberton Heights, and Bryker Woods. The Old West Austin historic district is also well-known for the preservation of its mid-20th century homes that directly reflect the city’s steady growth. The neighborhood is now home to some of the city’s most beautiful landscaping which makes for a perfect spot for visitors to explore.
The Balcones Escarpment, a dramatic uplift that runs along the west side of downtown Austin, has long been a desirable place for homes, from antebellum plantations and freedman’s communities to showplaces for the wealthy of several generations. National Register Historic Neighborhoods Old West Austin, West Line and Clarksville contain more than 2,000 contributing properties.
Private residencies, viewable from the street. Approximate boundary: West Sixth Street to West 35th Street: Lamar Boulevard to MoPac.
Deep Eddy Pool
Just west of MoPac (Loop 1), Sixth Street becomes Lake Austin Boulevard, leading to a landmark swimming pool. Built in 1916 and spring-fed, it replaced a once-popular swimming pool hole in the Colorado River (now Lady Bird Lake). A 1935 Works Progress Administration project improved the pool and added a bathhouse. Eilers Park and the Lady Bird Lake trail adjoin the pool. 401 Deep Eddy Ave. 512-472-8546. Small admission fee. austintexas.gov
West 35th Street, west of MoPac, leads to four more historic sites:
This 800-acre site has been a military center since 1892. The camp also houses the Texas Military Forces Museum in a 1918 building. 2200 W. 35th St. 512-782-5659. Free. texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org.
The Contemporary Austin - Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons.
The Contemporary Austin art museum makes its home in this 1916 Mediterranean villa. Its romantic setting makes it a popular place for wedding and parties. 3809 W 35th St. 512-458-8191. Small donation suggested. thecontemporaryaustin.org
Contributed by Ivan Savinon, ACVB Marketing Communications Intern.