HISTORIC AUSTIN

We're a city with no shortage of history or legend. In fact, both are very much alive throughout Austin. But as you go exploring, take note that history isn't just found in our architecture, monuments and museums. It's in Texas' last true dance hall, the Broken Spoke. In Victory Grill, a staple on the Chitlin' Circuit where W. C. Clark and B. B. King once played. And in Barton Springs, a natural pool in the center of town that was once a sacred site for the Tonkawa people and later used as a mission site by Spanish explorers in the 17th century. And that's just to name a few.

We're proud of our past. Our rebellious spirit. And the people who have called Austin home. From authors to activists, artists to athletes, musicians to politicians, they were all drawn to this unusual oasis. And that legacy continues, as Austin's population has historically doubled every 20 years. Now, it's your turn to see why. Get out there and be a part of our history. We offer guided historic walking tours to get you started. And be sure to check out our digital Historic Austin brochure.

Austin's History

Austin's storied past begins with its Native inhabitants, most recently the Tonkawa tribe of Native Americans and bands of Comanche and Apache people. By the 1830s, immigrants from Germany, Sweden and Mexico made up many of the area's original white settlers, but extreme periods of growth followed 1939 when the settlement was chosen as the Capital of the Republic of Texas. A city named Waterloo, later re-named in honor or Stephen F. Austin. The 1850s saw the first building boom with the construction of the first Capitol building in 1853. A second building boom occurred in the 1870s with the arrival of the railroad. In 1883, Austin became a college town with the founding of the University of Texas at Austin. Then the magnificent Driskill Hotel opened its doors to a now bustling city in 1886. And after a fire destroyed the original building, the current Capitol was completed in 1888, standing taller than our own nation's Capitol. With its construction, the skyline we know today began to take shape. Learn more of Austin's History with our Historic Austin series on the Austin Insider Blog.

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