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Austin
—  City  —
Downtown Austin skyline reflected in Lady Bird Lake.

Seal
Nickname(s): Live Music Capital of the World,[1] The ATX,[2] City of the Violet Crown [3], The Capital City
Location in the state of Texas
Austin is located in the USA
Austin
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 30°16′2″N 97°45′50″W / 30.26722°N 97.76389°W / 30.26722; -97.76389
Country United States of America
State Texas
County Travis
Williamson
Hays
Settled 1835
Incorporated December 27, 1839
Government
 - Type Council–manager
 - Mayor Lee Leffingwell
 - City Manager Marc Ott
Area
 - City 296.2 sq mi (767.28 km2)
 - Land 251.5 sq mi (651.4 km2)
 - Water 6.9 sq mi (17.9 km2)
 - Metro 4,285.7 sq mi (11,099.91 km2)
Elevation 489 ft (149 m)
Population (2008)[4]
 - City 757,688 (15th)
 Density 2,557.6/sq mi (987.5/km2)
 Metro 1,652,602
 - Demonym Austinite
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78701-78705, 78708-78739, 78741-78742, 78744-78769
Area code(s) 512
FIPS code 48-05000[5]
GNIS feature ID 1384879[6]
Website www.ci.austin.tx.us

Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest,[7] it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 15th-largest in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006.[8] According to the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, Austin had a population of 757,688.[4] The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area, with a population of 1.7 million as of the July 2008 U.S. Census estimate, making it the 36th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by pioneers who named the village Waterloo.[9] In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas.[9] The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas.[10] After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and emerged as a center for technology and business.[9] Today, Austin is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise, including the headquarters of three Fortune 500 corporations, Dell, Whole Foods Market, and Freescale Semiconductor.[11]

Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and No. 3 in 2009, also the "Greenest City in America" by MSN.[12][13] According to Travel & Leisure magazine, Austin ranks No. 1 on the list of cities with the best people, referring to the personalities and attributes of the citizens.[14] Austin was also voted America's #1 College Town by the Travel Channel.[15] Austin was ranked the fifth-safest city in part because there are fewer than five murders per 100,000 people annually.[16][17] Austin has always been among the top in Bicycle Friendly Communities, receiving a silver ranking from the League of American Bicyclists. {{[18]}} Furthermore, in 2009, Austin was determined to be the least stressful large metro area by Forbes magazine.[19]

Residents of Austin are known as "Austinites" and include a diverse mix of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, and white-collar workers. The main campus of the University of Texas is located in Austin. The city is home to development centers for many technology corporations and has adopted the nickname "Silicon Hills". Additionally the city's official slogan promotes it as "The Live Music Capital of the World", a reference to the many musicians and live music venues within the area.[1][2] In recent years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird"; this refers partly to the eclectic and liberal lifestyle of many Austin residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive corporatization.[20]

Contents

History

An 1873 illustration of Austin

When Europeans first arrived in the area, the Tonkawa tribe was the most prevalent, though the Comanches and Lipan Apaches were known to travel through the area as well.[21] Spanish explorers, including the Espinosa-Olivares-Aguirre expedition, traveled through the area for centuries though few permanent settlements were created for some time.[22] In the mid 18th century the San Xavier missions were established along the San Gabriel River in what is now western Milam County to facilitate exploration.[23]

In the early 1800s Spanish forts were established in what are now Bastrop and San Marcos.[24][22] Following the indepdence of Mexico, new settlements were established in Central Texas but growth in the region was stagnant because of conflicts with the Native Americans in the region.[25][24][26]

In 1835 Texans fought for independence in what was known as the Texas Revolution and won. In 1839, the Texas Congress formed a commission to seek a site for a new capital to be named Austin. Mirabeau Lamar, second President of the newly-formed Texas republic, advised the commissioners to investigate the area named Waterloo. Waterloo was selected and the name Austin was chosen as the town's new name.[27] The location was seen as a convenient crossroads for trade routes between Santa Fe and Galveston Bay, as well as routes between northern Mexico and the Red River.[28] Edwin Waller was picked by Lamar to survey the village and draft a plan laying out the new capital.[29] The original site was narrowed to 640 acres (259 ha) that fronted the Colorado River between two creeks, Shoal Creek and Waller Creek, which was later named in his honor. The fourteen-block grid plan was bisected by a broad north-south thoroughfare, Congress Avenue, running up from the river to Capital Square, where the new Texas State Capitol was to be constructed. A temporary one-story capitol was erected on the corner of Colorado and 8th streets. On August 1, 1839, the first auction of 217 out of 306 lots total was held.[29][28] The grid plan that Waller designed and surveyed now forms the basis of the streets of downtown Austin.

In 1840 a series of conflicts between the Texas Rangers and the Comanches known as the Council House Fight and the Battle of Plum Creek finally pushed the Comanches westward mostly ending conflicts in Central Texas.[30] Settlement in the area began to expand quickly. Travis County was established in 1840 and the surrounding counties were mostly established within the next two decades.[26]

Initially, the new capital thrived. But Lamar's political enemy Sam Houston used two Mexican army incursions to San Antonio as an excuse to move the government to Washington-on-the-Brazos. Remaining Austin residents responded to the threat by forcibly keeping the national archives in their city in defiance of President Houston's attempts to bring them to Washington (Texas Archive War). Once the annexation of the Republic of Texas by the United States became official in 1845, delegates wrote a new state constitution in which Austin was again named the seat of state.

In 1861, with the outbreak of the American Civil War, voters in Austin and other Central Texas communities voted against secession.[29][24] However, as the war progressed and fears of attack by Union forces increased, Austin contributed hundreds of men to the Confederate forces. With the end of the war and the emancipation of Texas slaves, the African American population of Austin swelled dramatically. Black communities such as Wheatville, Pleasant Hill, and Clarksville were established around Austin by these newcomers.[29] The postwar period saw dramatic population and economic growth. The opening of the Houston and Texas Central Railway, connecting Austin with Houston, transformed Austin into the major trading center for the region. However as new railroads were built through the region in 1870s, Austin began to lose its primacy in trade to the surrounding communities.[29]

In September 1881, Austin public schools held their first classes. The same year, Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute (now part of Huston-Tillotson University) opened its doors. The University of Texas held its first classes in 1883. During the 1880s Austin gained new prominence as the state capitol building was completed in 1888, and claimed as the 7th largest building in the world.[29] In the areas surrounding Austin cattle and cotton production became major economic drivers for some communities.[31]

In the late 1800s Austin expanded its city limits to more than three times its former area and the Austin Dam was built to power a new street car line and the new municipal water system.[29] In the early 1900s the Texas Oil Boom took hold creating tremendous economic opportunities in Southeast Texas and North Texas. The growth generated by this boom largest passed by Austin at first, with the city slipping from 4th largest to 10th largest in Texas between 1880 and 1920.[29]

Beginning in the 1920s and 1930s Austin launched a series of civic development and beautification projects that created much of the city's infrastructure and parks. In addition the state legislature established the Lower Colorado River Authority that, along with the City of Austin, created the system of dams along the Colorado River that formed the Highland Lakes. These projects were enabled in large part by the fact that Austin received more Depression era relief funds than any other Texas city.[29]

During the mid and later 1900s Austin became firmly established as one of Texas' major metropolitan centers. The later 20th century saw Austin's emergence as an important high tech center, both for semiconductors and for software. The University of Texas emerged as a major, nationally ranked university.

This later period also saw Austin's emergence in the national music scene beginning in the 1970s with artists such as Willie Nelson and venues such as the Armadillo World Headquarters. The long-running television program Austin City Limits, the annual South by Southwest musical festival, and other important events have helped to solidify the city's fame in the music industry.[9]

Recent event

On February 18, 2010, Joseph Andrew Stack III, flying his Piper Cherokee PA-28-236 (Aircraft registration: N2889D) plane, crashed into Building I of the Echelon office complex in northwest Austin in a suicide attack against the IRS.[32]

Geography

City limits of Austin

Austin is located in Central Texas along the Balcones Escarpment and Interstate 35, northeast of San Antonio. It's elevation varies from 425 feet (130 m) to approximately 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level.[33] As of 2010 the city occupies a total area of 271.8 square miles (704 km2).[34] Approximately 6.9 square miles (18 km2) of this area is water.[35]

Austin is situated on the Colorado River, with three man-made (artificial) lakes within the city limits: Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Walter E. Long. Additionally, the foot of Lake Travis, including Mansfield Dam, is located within the city's limits.[29] Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis are each on the Colorado River.[29] As a result of its stradling the Balcones Fault the eastern part of the city is flat, whereas the western part and western suburbs consist of rolling hills on the edge of the Texas Hill Country.[36] Because the hills to the west are primarily limestone rock with a thin covering of topsoil, portions of the city are frequently subjected to flash floods from the runoff caused by thunderstorms.[37][38] To help control this runoff and to generate hydroelectric power, the Lower Colorado River Authority operates a series of dams that form the Texas Highland Lakes. The lakes also provide venues for boating, swimming, and other forms of recreation within several parks on the lake shores.[39]

The view from Mount Bonnell

Austin is located at the intersection of four major ecological regions and is consequently a temperate-to-hot green oasis with a highly variable climate having some characteristics of the desert, the tropics, and a wetter climate.[40] The area is very diverse ecologically and biologically, and is home to a variety of animals and plants.[41] Notably the area is home to many types of wildflowers that blossom throughout the year but especially in the spring, including the popular bluebonnets, some planted in an effort by "Lady Bird" Johnson, wife of former President Johnson.[42]

A popular point of prominence in Austin is Mount Bonnell. At about 780 feet (238 m) above sea level, it is a natural limestone formation overlooking Lake Austin on the Colorado River, with an observation deck about 200 feet (61 m) below its summit. From the observation deck, many homes are visible.

The soils of Austin range from shallow, gravelly clay loams over limestone in the western outskirts to deep, fine sandy loams, silty clay loams, silty clays or clays in the city's eastern part. Some of the clays have pronounced shrink-swell properties and are difficult to work under most moisture conditions. Many of Austin's soils, especially the clay-rich types, are slightly to moderately alkaline and have free calcium carbonate.[43]

Climate

Austin has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters.[44] On average, Austin receives 33.6 inches (853.4 mm) of rain per year, with most of the precipitation in the spring, and a secondary maximum in the fall.[45] During springtime, severe thunderstorms sometimes occur, though tornados are rare in the city. Austin is usually at least partially sunny.

Austin summers are usually hot and humid, with average temperatures of approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) from June until September. Temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) are common. The highest recorded temperature was 112 °F (44 °C) on September 5, 2000.[44][46][47] For the entire year there is an average of 111 days above 90 °F (32 °C) and 198 days above 80 °F (27 °C).[44]

Winters in Austin are mild and dry. For the entire year, Austin averages 88 days below 45 °F (7 °C) and 24 days when the minimum temperature falls below freezing. The lowest recorded temperature was −2 °F (−19 °C) on January 31, 1949.[44] Snowfall is rare in Austin, but approximately biannually Austin may suffer an ice storm that freezes roads over and affects much of the city for 24 to 48 hours.[44] Monthly averages for Austin's weather data are shown in a graphical format to the right, and in a more detailed tabular format below.

Climate data for Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, USA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
(32)
99
(37)
98
(37)
99
(37)
104
(40)
108
(42)
108
(42)
110
(43)
112
(44)
100
(38)
91
(33)
90
(32)
112
(44)
Average high °F (°C) 60
(15.6)
65
(18.3)
73
(22.8)
79
(26.1)
85
(29.4)
91
(32.8)
95
(35)
96
(35.6)
90
(32.2)
81
(27.2)
70
(21.1)
62
(16.7)
78.8
(26)
Average low °F (°C) 40
(4.4)
44
(6.7)
51
(10.6)
58
(14.4)
65
(18.3)
71
(21.7)
73
(22.8)
73
(22.8)
69
(20.6)
60
(15.6)
49
(9.4)
42
(5.6)
57.9
(14.4)
Record low °F (°C) -2
(-19)
-1
(-18)
18
(-8)
30
(-1)
40
(4)
51
(11)
57
(14)
58
(14)
41
(5)
30
(-1)
20
(-7)
4
(-16)
-2
(-19)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.89
(48)
1.99
(50.5)
2.14
(54.4)
2.51
(63.8)
5.03
(127.8)
3.81
(96.8)
1.97
(50)
2.31
(58.7)
2.91
(73.9)
3.97
(100.8)
2.68
(68.1)
2.44
(62)
33.65
(854.7)
Source: NOAA[45]
Source #2: weather.com[47]
Table Note: Averages are from the 30 year average from 1971–2000 at Camp Mabry, and records are from Camp Mabry and from previous climate sites, spanning from 1897 to present.[45][47]

Government and politics

Law and government

Austin City Hall

Austin is administered by a city council of seven members, each of them elected by the entire city. The council is composed of six council members, and by an elected mayor, accompanied by a hired city manager under the manager-council system of municipal governance. Council and mayoral elections are non-partisan, with a runoff in case there is no majority winner. Austin remains an anomaly among large Texas cities in that council members are elected on an at-large basis by all voters, as opposed to elections by districts.

Austin formerly operated its city hall at 128 West 8th Street.[48] Antoine Predock and Cotera Kolar Negrete & Reed Architects designed a new city hall building, which was intended to reflect what The Dallas Morning News referred to as a "crazy-quilt vitality, that embraces everything from country music to environmental protests and high-tech swagger."[49] The new city hall, built from recycled materials, has solar panels in its garage.[50] The city hall, at 301 West Second Street, opened in November 2004.[51]

The current mayor of Austin is Lee Leffingwell. His first term ends in 2012.

Austin Main Post Office

Law enforcement in Austin is provided by the Austin Police Department, except for state government buildings, which are patrolled by the Texas Department of Public Safety, along with the Texas Rangers, and the Texas Homeland Security Committee.

Fire protection is provided by the Austin Fire Department, and emergency medical services are provided by Austin-Travis County EMS.

The Texas Department of Transportation operates the Austin District Office in Austin.[52]

The United States Postal Service operates several post offices in Austin. The main post office, the Austin Post Office, is located at 8225 Cross Park Drive.[53]


Politics

The controversy that dominated Austin politics during the 1990s was the conflict between environmentalists and advocates of urban growth. The city council has in the past tried to mitigate the controversy by advocating smart growth, but growth and environmental protection are still the most divisive issues in city politics.[citation needed]

Austin is well known as a center for liberal politics in a generally conservative state, so much so that the city is sometimes sarcastically referred to as "The People's Republic of Austin" by residents of other parts of the state and by conservatives in the Texas Legislature.[54][55] Suburban neighborhoods in Austin, especially to the west and north, and several satellite municipalities, however, tend toward political conservatism.[citation needed]

As a result of the major party realignment that began in the 1970s, central Austin became a stronghold of the Democratic Party, while the suburbs tend to vote Republican. One consequence of this is that in the most recent redistricting plan, formulated by former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay and enacted by the Republican-majority legislature, the central city has been split among multiple sprawling districts. Opponents characterized the resulting district layout as excessively partisan gerrymandering, and the plan was challenged in court on this basis by Democratic and minority activists; of note, the Supreme Court of the United States has never struck down a redistricting plan for being excessively partisan. The plan was subsequently upheld by a three-judge federal panel in late 2003, and on June 28, 2006, the matter was largely settled when the Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision upheld the entire congressional redistricting plan with the exception of a Hispanic-majority district in southwest Texas. This may later affect Austin's districting, as U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett's district was found not to be sufficiently compact to compensate for the reduced minority influence in the southwest district.[56]

Overall, the city is a blend of downtown liberalism and suburban conservatism but leans strongly to the political left as a whole. In 2003, the city adopted a resolution against the USA PATRIOT Act that reaffirmed constitutionally guaranteed rights. In the 2004 presidential election, Senator John Kerry won a substantial majority of the votes in Travis County.[57] Of Austin's six state legislative districts, three are strongly Democratic and three are swing districts all of which are held by Democrats. However, two of its three congressional districts (the 10th and the 21st) are presently held by Republicans, with only the 25th held by a Democrat. This is largely due to the 2003 redistricting, which left downtown Austin without an exclusive congressional seat of its own. Travis County was also the only county in Texas to reject Texas Constitutional Amendment Proposition 2–effectively outlawing gay marriage and status equal or similar to it–and did so by a wide margin (40% for, 60% against).[58][59][60]

Austin is also an active area for the Libertarian Party. Although the Libertarians remain a third party, they occasionally garner substantial votes, and one of the past Libertarian presidential candidates, Michael Badnarik, comes from Austin.

Two of the candidates for president in the 2004 race call Austin home. Michael Badnarik, mentioned above as the Libertarian Party candidate, and David Cobb of the Green Party both have lived in Austin. During the run up to the election in November, a presidential debate was held at the University of Texas student union involving the two minor party candidates. While the Commission on Presidential Debates only invites Democrats and Republicans to participate in televised debates, the debate at UT was open to all presidential candidates. Austin also hosted one of the last presidential debates between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during their heated race for the Democratic nomination in 2008.[61]

Economy

Whole Foods Market headquarters in Austin

Austin is considered to be a major center for high tech.[62] Thousands of graduates each year from the engineering and computer science programs at The University of Texas at Austin provide a steady source of employees that help to fuel Austin's technology and defense industry sectors. The metro Austin area has much lower housing costs than Silicon Valley, but much higher housing costs than many parts of rural Texas. As a result of the high concentration of high-tech companies in the region, Austin was strongly affected by the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and subsequent bust.[62] Austin's largest employers include the Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin, Dell, the United States Federal Government, Freescale Semiconductor (spun off from Motorola in 2004), IBM, St. David's Healthcare Partnership, Seton Healthcare Network, the State of Texas, Texas State University-San Marcos, and the University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas.[62] Other high-tech companies with operations in Austin include 3M, Apple Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Google, AMD, Applied Materials, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, eBay/PayPal, Hoover's, Intel Corporation, National Instruments, Samsung Group, Silicon Laboratories, Sun Microsystems and United Devices. The proliferation of technology companies has led to the region's nickname, "the Silicon Hills," and spurred development that greatly expanded the city. The concentration of high-tech companies has led the former American Airlines flight between Austin and San Jose, California to be dubbed the "nerd bird." This route will now be operated by Alaska Airlines effective September 2, 2009.[63]

Southward view of downtown Austin from The Capitol Grounds on 11th Street.

Austin is also emerging as a hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. About 85 companies from this industry are based in Austin.[62] The city was ranked by the Milken Institute as the #12 biotech and life science center in the United States.[64]

It is also home to advertising agencies including Omnicom owned GSD&M Idea City and LatinWorks, as well as Dell’s agency of record, WPP Group owned Enfatico.

Whole Foods Market is a grocery store that specializes in organic, local, and natural foods and other goods. It was founded and based in Austin. As of August 25, 2008, Whole Foods has 271 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.[65]

In addition to global companies, Austin features a strong network of independent, locally-owned firms and organizations. The success of these businesses reflects the high level of commitment by the citizens of Austin to preserving the unique spirit of the city and has been tied to the "Keep Austin Weird" campaign.

Cityscape

Skyline of Austin
A moonlight tower

Buildings that make up most of Austin's skyline are modest in height and somewhat spread out. The latter characteristic is due to a restriction that preserves the view of the Texas State Capitol building from various locations around Austin (known as the Capitol View Corridor).[66] However, many highrise towers have been constructed and the downtown area is looking more modern and dense. The city's tallest building, The Austonian, was topped out on September 17, 2009.[67] Austin is currently undergoing a skyscraper boom, which includes recent construction on the now complete 360 Condominiums at 563 feet (172 m), the Austonian at 683 feet (208 m), the T. Stacy Towers at 830 feet (253 m) and 420 feet (128 m) tall and several others that are mainly for residential use. By 2015, the Frost Bank Tower could be the only skyscraper built before 2005 to remain in the top ten tallest buildings in the city.

At night, parts of Austin are lighted with "artificial moonlight" from 17 surviving Moonlight Towers. Several 165-foot (50 m) moonlight towers, built in the late 19th century and recognized as historic landmarks, illuminate the central part of the city. Only 17 of the 31 original towers remain standing. The towers are featured in the film Dazed and Confused.

Downtown

Downtown skyline as seen from Lady Bird Lake

The central business district of the city is now home to some of the newest and tallest condo towers in the state. The 360 Tower, one of several new condo towers in Austin, opened in early 2008. The mayor strives to have up to 25,000 people living Downtown by 2015.[68] Because of this, the city has been driven to increase density in Austin's urban core. The skyline has drastically changed from 5 years ago, and the residential real estate market has remained relatively strong while other parts of the city have seen a slowing along with the rest of the country. Downtown growth has been aided by the presence of a popular live music and nightlife scene, Whole Foods Market flagship store and headquarters, museums, restaurants, and Lady Bird Lake, considered one of the city's best recreational spots. The 2nd Street District consists of several new residential projects, restaurants, coffee shops, record stores, upscale boutiques and museums, and the Austin City Hall. Under construction across 2nd Street from Austin City Hall is the new Austin City Limits location that will be housed beneath a new 478 feet (146 m) W Hotel and residential tower. Each year SXSW, the largest music conference in the world, is hosted in downtown Austin.

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 629
1860 3,494 455.5%
1870 4,428 26.7%
1880 11,013 148.7%
1890 14,575 32.3%
1900 22,258 52.7%
1910 29,860 34.2%
1920 34,876 16.8%
1930 53,120 52.3%
1940 87,930 65.5%
1950 132,459 50.6%
1960 186,545 40.8%
1970 251,808 35.0%
1980 345,496 37.2%
1990 472,020 36.6%
2000 656,562 39.1%
Est. 2009 757,688 15.4%

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 63.7% of Austin's population; of which 49.9% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 8.5% of Austin's population; of which 8.3% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.5% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 5.6% of the city's population; of which 5.5% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 19.5% of the city's population; of which 0.4% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.1% of the city's population; of which 1.3% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 34.2% of Austin's population.[69]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 656,562 people, 265,649 households, and 141,590 families residing in the city (roughly comparable in size to San Francisco, Memphis, and Columbus). The population density was 2,610.4 people per square mile (1,007.9/km²). There were 276,842 housing units at an average density of 1,100.7/sq mi (425.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.4% White, 10.0% Black or African American, 4.7% Asian, 0.6% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 16.2% from other races. 3.0% were from two or more races. 30.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino, who can be of any race. About 52.9% of the population were non-Hispanic whites.

There were 265,648 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.7% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 37.1% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 105.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,689, and the median income for a family was $54,091. Males had a median income of $35,545 vs. $30,046 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,163. About 9.1% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over. The median house price was $185,906 in 2009, and it has increased every year since 2003.[70]

According to the US Census Bureau, as of July 2008 the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area had 1,652,602 people. It is one of the five fastest-growing metro areas in the nation.[citation needed]

Austin is consistently ranked among the three safest cities per capita of any size in many categories. Its annual murder rate is fewer than five people per 100,000 residents.

Arts and culture

Austinites take pride in eccentricities and celebrate differences and being different (in lifestyle, character, beliefs, etc.). Austin is the only major Texas city that has no ordinance against women appearing topless in public.[citation needed] "Keep Austin Weird" has become a local motto in recent years, featured on innumerable bumper stickers and t-shirts. This motto has not only been used in promoting Austin's eccentricity and diversity, but is also meant to bolster support of local and independent businesses.[20] According to the Nielsen Company, adults in Austin read and contribute to blogs more than those in any other U.S. metropolitan area.[71] Austin residents have the highest internet usage in all of Texas.[72]

SoCo is a shopping district stretching down South Congress Avenue from Downtown. This area is home to many coffee shops, eccentric stores, restaurants and festivals. It prides itself on "Keeping Austin Weird", despite constant development surrounding the area.

Annual cultural events

The sights of Austin's nightlife on 6th Street.

The O. Henry House Museum hosts the annual O. Henry Pun Off, which is a pun contest where the contestants exhibit amazing wit. Other annual events include Eeyore's Birthday Party, Spamarama, and the Austin Reggae Festival and Art City Austin in April and Carnaval Brasileiro in February. Sixth Street features annual festivals such as the Pecan Street Festival and Halloween night. The three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival has been held in Zilker Park every year since 2002.

Austin's Zilker Park Tree is a Christmas display made of lights strung from the top of a Moonlight tower in Zilker Park. The Zilker Tree is lit in December along with the "Trail of Lights," an Austin Christmas tradition.

Music

2009 Austin City Limits Music Festival with view of stages and Austin skyline.

As Austin's official slogan is The Live Music Capital of the World, the city has a vibrant live music scene with more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city.[1][2] Austin's music revolves around the many nightclubs on 6th Street and an annual film/music/interactive festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW). The longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits, is recorded on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Austin City Limits and C3 Presents produce the Austin City Limits Music Festival, an annual music and art festival held at Zilker Park in Austin based on the Austin City Limits television show. The festival and television show alike attract musical artists from around the world. Other music events include the Urban Music Festival, the Fun Fun Fun Fest, Chaos In Tejas and the Old Settlers Music Festival. The Austin Symphony Orchestra traces its roots to 1911.

Film

Austin hosts the annual Austin Film Festival, which draws films of many different types from all over the world. In 2004 the city was first in Moviemaker Magazine's annual top ten cities to live and make movies. The 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival included Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, Tom Morello, and Rickie Lee Jones.

Austin has been the location for a number of motion pictures, partly due to the influence of The University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio-Television-Film. Films produced in Austin include Man of the House, Secondhand Lions, Waking Life, Spy Kids, Dazed and Confused, Office Space, The Life of David Gale, Miss Congeniality, Doubting Thomas, Slacker, Idiocracy, The New Guy, Hope Floats, The Alamo (2004 film), Blank Check, The Wendall Baker Story , A Scanner Darkly, and most recently, Grindhouse, How To Eat Fried Worms and Bandslam. In order to draw future film projects to the area, the Austin Film Society has converted several airplane hangars from the former Mueller Airport into filmmaking center Austin Studios. Projects that have used facilities at Austin Studios include music videos by The Flaming Lips and feature films such as 25th Hour and Sin City. Austin also hosted the MTV series, The Real World: Austin in 2005. The Film review websites Spill.com and Ain't It Cool News are based in Austin.

Media

Austin's main daily newspaper is the Austin American-Statesman. The Austin Chronicle is Austin's alternative weekly, while The Daily Texan is the student newspaper of the University of Texas. Austin also has smaller newspapers such as the Oak Hill Gazette, and Austin Business Journal. Texas Monthly, a major regional magazine, is also headquartered in Austin. The Texas Observer, a muckraking biweekly magazine, has been based in Austin for over five decades.Community Impact Newspaper is a free monthly hyperlocal newspaper with separate editions for various regions of Austin. Newspapers are delivered to every house and business within certain zip codes and all of the news is specific to those zip codes.[73] The local PBS station KLRU produces several award winning locally produced programs.[74] KUT is the leading public radio station in Texas and produces the majority of its content locally.[75] KOOP (FM) is a volunteer-run radio station with more than 60 locally produced programs.[76] Network television stations (affiliations in parentheses) include KTBC (Fox), KVUE (ABC), KXAN (NBC), KEYE-TV (CBS), KNVA (The CW), KBVO (My Network TV), and KAKW (Univision). Also, subscribers to Time Warner Cable receive a 24-hour local news station, News 8 Austin. In some parts of Austin, Time Warner has cable competition from Grande Communications.

Theater

Austin also has a strong theater culture, with dozens of itinerant and resident companies producing a wide variety of work. The city also has a burgeoning circle of live performance theater venues such as the Zachary Scott Theatre Center (Scott was born in Austin and an alumnus of the University of Texas), Vortex Repertory Company, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Rude Mechanicals, Refraction Arts, Arts on Real, Scottish Rite Children's Theater, Hyde Park Theatre, The City Theatre, and Esther's Follies, a comedy and magic show.[77] The Victory Grill was a renowned venue on the Chitlin' circuit.[78] Public art and performances of many kinds in the parks and on bridges is popular and it is easy to find a myriad of diverse and creative free productions. Austin hosts the Fuse Box Festival each April featuring international, leading-edge theater artists.[79]

The Paramount Theatre opened in downtown Austin in 1915. Managing to escape destruction throughout the years, it contributes not only to Austin's theater culture, but also to its film culture, showing a variety of classic films throughout the summer. The summer program features a series of double features, often paired with vintage cartoons or serials to complete the retro feel. Gone With the Wind is always shown, usually at the end of the season or over the Labor Day weekend. The theater also hosts regional premieres for films such as Miss Congeniality.[80] The long-running outdoor musical, the Zilker Park Summer Musical, expects to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2008.[81]

The Long Center is also a large theater, which opened in 2008. It used to be the Lester E. Palmer Auditorium, which housed various events. The Long Center was built with recycled materials from the old auditorium, and is an example of Austin's green lifestyle. The Long Center features a 2,300 seat theater, which houses plays, comedians, musicals, etc.

Ballet Austin is the fourth largest ballet academy in the country.[82] Each year Ballet Austin's twenty member professional company performs ballets from a wide variety of choreographers, including their international award winning artistic director, Stephen Mills. Ballet Austin has traveled around the world performing in Europe, the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), and New York City's Joyce Theatre.[citation needed] The city is also home to the Ballet East Dance Company, a modern dance ensemble, and the Tapestry Dance Company which performs a variety of dance genres.

In January 2007, Austin Lyric Opera hosted the American Premiere of the Philip Glass opera, Waiting for the Barbarians, an allegory of oppressor and oppressed based on the novel by J. M. Coetzee of South Africa. Coetzee, the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 2003, is a University of Texas at Austin graduate and former UT professor.

Austin Lyric Opera has, since its founding in 1986, provided area residents with performances of multiple operas each year (including the 2007 opening of Philip Glass's Waiting for the Barbarians, written by University of Texas alumnus J. M. Coetzee). Performances are held at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. The company performs outdoors at Zilker Hillside Theater every October.[83]

The growing Austin improv comedy scene is spread over several theaters: ColdTowne Theater, The Hideout Theater, The New Movement Theater, and Salvage Vanguard Theater. Some of Austin's best known improv troupes include ColdTowne, The Frank Mills, Girls Girls Girls, Parallelogramophonograph, and Get Up. Austin also hosts the annual Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. Out of Bounds has drawn comedic artists in all disciplines to Austin from international and mostly national points of origin. In 2009, Out of Bounds hosted over 300 improv and sketch comedy artists over 7 days in 7 different venues. Held every year during the week leading up to Labor Day, the festival continues to grow thanks to a great reputation and a fertile, supportive Austin community.[citation needed]

Sports

Austin is the largest city in the United States without a franchise in a major professional sports league.[84] Many Austinites support the University of Texas Longhorns' sports programs. The University of Texas football and baseball teams each won their respective national championships during the 2005–2006 seasons. Minor-league professional sports came to Austin in 1996, when the Austin Ice Bats began playing at the Travis County Expo Center. Since then, they have been joined by many other teams including the Austin Wranglers, an arena football team, and the Austin Aztex FC, a professional soccer team of the USL First Division. Austin is home to the state's largest sports stadium, Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, seating over 101,000 fans.[85]

Austin area minor-league professional sports teams
Club Sport Founded League Venue
Round Rock
Express
Baseball 1999 Pacific Coast League Dell Diamond
Austin Aztex U23 Soccer 2008 USL Premier
Development League
Dragon Stadium
Austin Aztex FC Soccer 2009 United Soccer
Leagues -
First Division
Nelson Field (2009) and
House Park(2010+)
Austin Outlaws Football 2003 National Women's
Football Association
House Park
Austin Toros Basketball 2005 NBA D-League Austin Convention Center
Texas Stars Ice hockey 2009 American Hockey
League
Cedar Park Center
Austin Turfcats Indoor football 2009 Southern Indoor
Football League
Luedecke Arena
Austin
Gamebreakers
Football 1998 North American
Football League
Yellow Jacket Stadium

In addition to team sports, Austin is generally known for its active outdoor culture. Austin is home to many runners, rock-climbers, swimmers, divers, snorkelers, mountain bikers, cyclists, and more. Natural features like the bicycle-friendly Texas Hill Country, limestone rock formations, and generally mild climate work with the centrally-located Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, and local pools like Barton Springs to make Austin the home of several endurance and multi-sport races and communities. The Capitol 10,000 is the largest 10 K race in Texas, and approximately fifth largest in the nation. The Austin Marathon has been run in the city every year since 1992. The Austin-founded American Swimming Association hosts an open water swimming event, the Cap 2 K, and other closed-course, open water, and cable swim races around town. Austin is also the hometown of several cycling groups and the champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, as well as environmentally- and economically-minded bicycle commuters. Combining these three disciplines is a growing crop of triathlons, including the Capital of Texas Triathlon held every Memorial Day on and around Lady Bird Lake, Auditorium Shores, and Downtown Austin.[86]

Museums and other points of interest

Museums in Austin include the Texas Memorial Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art (reopened in 2006), the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum across the street (which opened in 2000), the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA), and the galleries at the Harry Ransom Center. The Texas State Capitol itself is also a major tourist attraction. The Driskill Hotel built in 1886, and located at 6th and Brazos, was finished just before the construction of the Capitol building. Sixth Street is a musical hub for the city. The Enchanted Forest, a multi-acre outdoor music, art, and performance art space in South Austin hosts events such as fire-dancing and circus-like-acts.[87] Austin is also home to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, which houses documents and artifacts related to the Johnson administration, including LBJ's limousine and a recreation of the Oval Office.

The art that gave Austin its reputation for being weird is featured at the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture. The Mexic-Arte Museum is a Latin American art museum founded in 1983. Austin is also home to the O. Henry House Museum, which is where O. Henry lived in Austin in 1891. Farmers markets are popular attractions, providing a variety of locally grown and often organic goods.[88]

Austin is also "weird" for its many statues and landmarks, such as the Hyde Park Bar & Grill fork, the Mangia dinosaur, the Loca Maria lady at Taco Xpress on South Lamar, the pink flamingo lawn in front of the Pots and Plants Garden Center, the Hyde Park Gym's giant flexed arm, and Daniel Johnston's Hi, how are you? frog mural. Austin locals are proud of these landmarks and work to preserve them, even as the city grows.[89]

The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge houses the world's largest urban population of Mexican Free-tailed Bats. Starting in March[90][91], up to 1.5 million bats take up residence inside the bridge's expansion and contraction zones as well as in long horizontal grooves running the length of the bridge's underside, an environment ideally suited for raising their young. Every evening around sunset, the bats emerge in search of insects, an exit visible on weather radar. Watching the bat emergence is an event that is popular with locals and tourists, with more than 100,000 viewers per year. The bats migrate to Mexico each winter.[92]

The Austin Zoo, located at 10807 Rawhide Trail in unincorporated western Travis County, west of Austin and north of U.S. Highway 290,[93] is a rescue zoo that provides sanctuary to displaced animals from a variety of situations, including those involving neglect.

Parks and recreation

Austin's Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest man-made pool in Texas

The Austin Parks & Recreation Department received the Excellence in Aquatics award in 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards in 2004 from the National Recreation and Park Association.[94][95] Home to more than 50 public swimming pools, Austin has parks and pools throughout the city. There are several well-known swimming locations. These include Deep Eddy Pool, Texas' oldest man-made swimming pool, and Barton Springs Pool, the nation's largest natural swimming pool in an urban area.[96][97] Barton Springs Pool is spring-fed and ranges in temperature from about 68.0 °F (20.0 °C) during the winter to about 71.6 °F (22.0 °C) during the summer.[98][99][100] Hippie Hollow Park, a county park situated along Lake Travis, is the only officially sanctioned clothing-optional public park in Texas. Activities include rockclimbing, kayaking, swimming, exploring, and hiking along the greenbelt, a long-spanning area that runs through the city. Zilker Park, a large green area close to downtown, forms part of the greenbelt along the Colorado River. Hamilton Pool is a pool and wildlife park located about 30 minutes from the city.[101]

Transportation

Highways

Night view of the Pennybacker Bridge on Loop 360.

Central Austin is bracketed by Interstate 35 to the east and the Mopac Expressway to the west. U.S. Highway 183 runs from northwest to southeast, and State Highway 71 crosses the southern part of the city from east to west, completing a rough "box" around the central and north-central city. Austin is the largest city in the United States to be served by only one Interstate Highway.

U.S. Highway 290 enters Austin from the east and merges into I-35. Its highway designation continues south on I-35 and then becomes part of Highway 71, continuing on to the west. Highway 290 becomes its own road again southwest of the city, when it splits from Highway 71 in a busy interchange in Oak Hill known as "The Y." Highway 71 continues as far west as Brady, Texas, and Highway 290 continues west to intersect Interstate 10 near Junction. Interstate 35 continues south through San Antonio, and continues to its culmination at Laredo, Texas, which is on the Texas-Mexico border. Interstate 35 is the highway link to the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex in northern Texas. There are two links to Houston, TX (Highway 290 and State Highway 71/Interstate 10). Highway 183 leads northwest of Austin and is a route with other major highways to such cities as Abilene, San Angelo, Lubbock, Amarillo, Albuquerque and Denver.

In the mid-1980s, Austin completed construction on Loop 360, a scenic highway that curves through the hill country from near the 71/Mopac interchange in the south to near the 183/Mopac interchange in the north. The iconic Pennybacker Bridge, also known as the "360 Bridge", crosses Lake Austin to connect north and south Loop 360.

Tollways

Interchange of Interstate 35 and State Highway 45.

In November 2006, Austin opened the first segments of its first-ever tollway system: State Highway 130 runs from just south of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Interstate 35 just north of Georgetown. Highway 130 connects with Highway 45 in Pflugerville, Texas. The project, when completed, will end at Interstate 10 just east of Seguin, about 30 miles east-northeast of San Antonio.

State Highway 45 runs east-west from just west of Highway 183 in Cedar Park to 130 inside Pflugerville (just east of Round Rock). The project also included a tolled extension to Mopac that allows direct access to I-35. A new southeast leg of Highway 45 has recently been completed, connecting US 183 and the current south end of TX-130 to I-35 at the FM 1327/Creedmoor exit near the south end of Austin and close to the town of Buda's northernmost interchange.

The 183A Toll Road opened March 2007, providing a tolled alternative to 183 through the cities of Leander and Cedar Park.

Airports

Austin's airport is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) (IATA code AUS), located 5 miles (8 km) southeast of the city. The airport is on the site of the former Bergstrom Air Force Base, which was closed in 1993 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process. Previously Robert Mueller Municipal Airport was the commercial airport of Austin.

Intercity bus service

Greyhound Lines operates the Austin Station at 916 East Koenig Lane.[102]

Turimex Internacional, a division of Mexican company Grupo Senda, operates bus service from Austin to Nuevo Laredo and on to many destinations in Mexico. The Turimex station is located at 5012 East 7th Street, near Shady Lane.[103] It is advisable to disembark at the station in Laredo, Texas, take a cab across the border and onto the Nuevo Laredo bus station where you can find buses to the major cities to continue your journey.

Public transportation

A Capital Metro bus designated as a shuttle bus for University of Texas at Austin students and staff

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) provides public transportation to the city, primarily by bus. Capital Metro is planning to change some routes to "Rapid Lines". The lines will feature 60 ft (18 m) long, train-like high-tech buses. This addition is going to be implemented to help reduce congestion. Capital Metro is also testing a commuter rail system known as Capital MetroRail that was scheduled to open in March 2009.[104] The system was built on existing freight rail lines and will serve downtown Austin, East Austin, North Central Austin, Northwest Austin, and Leander in its first phase. Future expansion could include a line to Manor and another to Round Rock. Capital Metro is also looking into a circulator system of streetcars to connect most of Downtown, the University of Texas, and the 700-acre (2.8 km2) Mueller Airport Redevelopment. The streetcar system would help connect the new rail line to key destinations in Central Austin. An Amtrak Texas Eagle station is located west of downtown. Segments of the Amtrak route between Austin and San Antonio are under evaluation for a future passenger rail corridor as an alternative to the traffic congestion of Interstate 35. Austin is known as the most bike-friendly city in Texas and has a Silver-level rating from the League of American Bicyclists.

Education

John Henry Faulk Library of the Austin Public Library

Researchers at Central Connecticut State University ranked Austin the 16th most literate city in the United States for 2008.[105] The Austin Public Library operates the John Henry Faulk Library and various library branches. The Travel Channel gave Austin the title "America's #1 College Town".[15]

Higher education

Austin is home to the University of Texas at Austin, the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The university has several internal colleges located inside the city including the College of Pharmacy, McCombs School of Business, the School of Architecture, and the School of Engineering. Other institutions of higher learning in Austin include Austin Community College, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University, St. Edward's University, the Seminary of the Southwest, the Acton School of Business, Austin Graduate School of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Virginia College's Austin Campus, The Art Institute of Austin, and a branch of Park University.

Public primary and secondary education

Most of the city is served by the Austin Independent School District. Some parts of Austin are served by other districts, including Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, Manor, Del Valle, Lake Travis, and Eanes ISDs, Hays.

Private and alternative education

Private and alternative education institutions for children in preschool-12th grade include Regents School of Austin, Redeemer Lutheran School, Garza (public), the Waldorf schools, The Griffin School, The Khabele School, Concordia Academy, St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic School, San Juan Diego Catholic High School, Brentwood Christian School, St. Austin Catholic School, St. Stephen's Episcopal School, St. Mary's, St. Theresa's, St. Michael's Catholic Academy, St. Gabriel's Catholic School, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, St. Francis School, Saint Paul Lutheran School, Trinity Episcopal School, Huntington-Surrey, Sri Atmanada, and many Montessori schools. Paragon Preparatory Middle School is a private school for grades 5-8, founded in 1997.

Sister cities

Sister city monument in Austin commemorating the relationship with Saltillo

List of sister cities of Austin, Texas, designated by Sister Cities International.[106]

Notes

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  75. ^ Beach, Patrick (2008-08-15). "KUT's 50 years of not playing the hits". Austin American-Statesman. http://www.austin360.com/music/content/music/stories/2008/08/0817kut.html. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
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  99. ^ "Temperature, Water, Degrees Celsius Water Year October 2006 to September 2007" (PDF). Water-Data Report 2007, 08155500 Barton Springs at Austin, TX. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. 2007. pp. 11–13. http://wdr.water.usgs.gov/wy2007/pdfs/08155500.2007.pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  100. ^ "Water Quality Records" (PDF). Water-Data Report 2007, 08155500 Barton Springs at Austin, TX. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. 2007. pp. 4. http://wdr.water.usgs.gov/wy2007/pdfs/08155500.2007.pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
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References

Further reading

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

AUSTIN, the capital of Texas, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Travis county, on the N. bank of the Colorado river, near the centre of the state and about 145 m. W.N.W. of Houston. Pop. (1890) 14,575; (1900) 22,258, of whom 5822 were negroes; (1906, estimate) 25,290. Austin is served by the Houston & Texas Central, the International & Great Northern, and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railways. The city is built on high bluffs 40-120 ft. above the river, which is spanned here by a bridge, built in 1874. The Texas State Capitol, a handsome building of red Texas granite, with a dome 318 ft. high, cost more than $ 3 ,500,000, and stands in a square in the centre of the city. It was built (1881-1888) by Chicago capitalists in exchange for a land grant of 3,000,000 acres. It is in the form of a Greek cross, with an extreme length of 556.5 ft. and an extreme width of 288.8 ft. Next to the National Capitol at Washington, it is the largest capitol building in the United States, and it is said to be one of the ten largest buildings in the world. Austin is the seat of the University of Texas (opened in 1883; coeducational); the medical department of the state university is at Galveston, and the departments in Austin are the college of arts, department of education, department of engineering, department of law, school of pharmacy, and school of nursing. The government of the university is vested in a board of eight regents nominated by the governor and appointed with the advice and consent of the state senate. At Austin are also state institutions and asylums for the insane, the blind, the coloured deaf and blind; the state school for the deaf and dumb; the state Confederate home; the Confederate woman's home (1907; for wives and widows of Confederate soldiers and sailors), maintained by the Daughters of the Confederacy; St Mary's Academy (Roman Catholic, under the supervision of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, founded 1875, chartered 1886); St Edward's College (Roman Catholic, chartered 1885); the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Presbyterian Church, South), opened in 1902 by the Synod of Texas, and after 1905 partly controlled by the Synod of Arkansas; Tillotson College (a negro school under Congregational control, founded by the American Missionary Association, chartered in 1877, and opened in 1881); and Samuel Huston College (for negroes; Methodist Episcopal; opened in 1900 and named in honour of an Iowan benefactor). The principal newspapers of Austin are the Statesman (Democratic, established in 1871), a morning paper, and the Tribune (Democratic, established in 1891), an evening paper. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Society is published here. Austin is the principal trade and jobbing centre for central and western Texas, is an important market for livestock, cotton, grain and wool, and has extensive manufactories of flour, cotton-seed oil, leather goods, lumber and wooden ware; the value of the factory product in 1905 was $1,569,353, being 105.2% more than in 1900. The city owns and operates its water-supply system. In 1890-1893 one of the largest dams in the world, an immense structure of granite masonry, 1200 ft. long, 60-70 ft. high, and 18 to 66 ft. ,thick, was constructed across the Colorado river 2 m. above the city for the purpose of supplying water and power, creating a reservoir (Lake M'Donald) about 30 m. long. Freshets in the spring of 1900, however, undermined the wall, and on the 7th of April the dam broke with a resulting loss of several lives and about $1,000,000 worth of property. The rebuilding of the dam was projected in 1907. Austin was first settled in 1838 and was named Waterloo, but in 1839, when it was chosen as the site of the capital of the Republic of Texas, it was renamed in honour of Stephen F. Austin, one of its founders. Under the influence of General Sam Houston the capital was for a time in 1842-1845 removed from Austin to Houston, but in 1845 an ordinance was passed making Austin the capital, and it remained the state capital after Texas entered the Union, although Huntsville and Tehuacana Springs in 1850 and Houston in 1872 attempted in popular elections to be chosen in its place. The first Anglo-American settlement in Texas, established on the Brazos river in 1823 by members of the Austin colony, was San Felipe de Austin, now San Felipe. In 190 9 Austin adopted a commission form of government.


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Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

City of Austin
File:AustinSkyline3.jpeg
Nickname: "Live Music Capital of the World[1]"
Location in the state of Texas
Location in the state of Texas
Coordinates: 30°16′2″N, 97°45′50″WLatitude: 30°16′2″N
Longitude: 97°45′50″W
Country United States
State Texas
Counties Travis
Williamson
History  
Settled 1835
Incorporated December 27, 1839
Government  
 - Mayor Will Wynn
 - City Manager Toby Futrell
Population  
 - City (2006) 709893
 - Metro 1513565
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78701-78705, 78708-78728, 78730-78739, 78741-78742, 78744-78769
Website: www.ci.austin.tx.us

Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Situated in Central Texas and part of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 16th-largest in the United States of America, as well as the 3rd fastest growing large city in the nation between 2000-2006.[2] As of the 2006 U.S. Census estimate, Austin has a population of 709,893.[3] The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan area with a population of more than 1.5 million.

Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and the "Greenest City in America" by MSN ("Greenest" referring to a commitment to sustainable living). [4][5]

Residents of Austin are known as "Austinites," and include a mix of university professors, students, politicians, lobbyists, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, and white-collar workers. The city is home to enough large sites of major technology corporations to have earned it the nickname "Silicon Hills." Austin's official slogan promotes the city as "The Live Music Capital of the World", a reference to its status as home to many musicians and music venues.[1] In recent years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird"; this refers partly to the eclectic and progressive lifestyle of many Austin residents, but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive commercialization.

Contents

History

Main article: History of Austin, Texas

Before the arrival of settlers from the United States, the area that later became Austin was inhabited by a variety of nomadic Native American tribes, including the Tonkawa tribe, the Comanches, and the Lipan Apaches.[6]

Edward Burleson laid out the town of Waterloo in the mid-1830's. In 1838 Mirabeau Lamar, vice-president of the Republic of Texas, visited Waterloo, where he stayed with one of the earliest settlers, Jacob Harrell. Lamar was elected president shortly thereafter. When The Texas Congress formed a commission to seek a site for a new capital to be named Austin, Lamar advised the commissioners to investigate Waterloo, which was then indeed chosen. In May 1839 Lamar's designated government agent Edwin Waller organized and led a workforce of about 200 men from Houston to Waterloo to construct the new city.

At first, the new capital thrived. By the early 1840's the population stood at about 850 people. But when Lamar's political enemy Sam Houston regained the presidency in 1841, he used two Mexican army incursions to San Antonio as an excuse to move the government to Washington (now known as Washington-on-the-Brazos). Within months Austin's population had shrunk to about 200, and many Texans assumed that that city would die. Remaining Austin residents responded to the threat by forcibly keeping the national archives in their city in defiance of President Houston's attempts to bring them to Washington.

Anson Jones became president in 1844. The following year he called a convention in Austin to discuss annexation to the United States as well as to consider a new constitution. Once annexation became official, delegates wrote a new state constitution in which Austin was again named the seat of government.

The Texas State Capitol was completed in 1888 advertised as the 7th largest building in the world. Funded by the famous XIT ranch, the building still remains part of the Austin skyline. The state capitol building is taller than the United States capitol building.

In September of 1881, Austin public schools held their first classes. The same year, Huston-Tillotson College opened its doors.

In the 1950's, Austin's first research labs and think tanks were built. As Austin's economy prospered, several movie theaters, public pools, and a local library system were opened.

The Austin music scene was born in the 70's when artists such as Willie Nelson brought national attention.

Today, Austin is known as much for its cultural life as its high-tech innovations. It is also known for the senators and schoolteachers who shaped its beginnings. The same success that has gained the city a national reputation has brought with it many difficult choices.

Geography

Hill Country

Austin is located at 30°16′N 97°45′W / 30.267, -97.75 GR1 and is approximately 541 ft (165 m) above sea level. According to the 2000 census, the city has a total area of 258.4 mi² (669.3 km²). 251.5 mi² (651.4 km²) of it is land and 6.9 mi² (17.9 km²) (2.67%) is water.

Austin is situated on the Colorado River, with three man-made (artificial) lakes wholly within the city limits: Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Walter E. Long. Additionally, the foot of Lake Travis, including Mansfield Dam, is located within the city's limits. Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis are each on the Colorado River. The city is also situated on the Balcones Fault, which, in much of Austin, runs roughly the same route as the State Highway Loop 1 (Texas) or Mo-Pac Expressway. The eastern part of the city is relatively flat, whereas the western part and western suburbs consist of scenic rolling hills on the edge of the Texas Hill Country. Because the hills to the west are primarily limestone rock with a thin covering of topsoil, portions of the city are frequently subjected to flash floods from the runoff caused by thunderstorms. To help control this runoff and to generate hydroelectric power, the Lower Colorado River Authority operates a series of dams that form the Texas Highland Lakes. The lakes also provide venues for boating, swimming, and other forms of recreation within several parks located on the lake shores.

Austin is located at the intersection of four major ecological regions and is consequently mostly a temperate-to-hot green oasis but has some characteristics of the desert, the tropics, and a wetter climate. It is very diverse ecologically/biologically and the home of a variety of beautiful animals and plants, notably the wildflowers that blossom throughout the year but especially in the spring, including the popular bluebonnets, some planted in an effort by Lady Bird Johnson.

The view from Mount Bonnell

A popular point of prominence in Austin is Mount Bonnell. At about 780 feet above sea level, it is a natural limestone formation overlooking Lake Austin on the Colorado River, approximately 200 feet below its summit. From the observation deck, many homes are visible.

The soils of Austin range from shallow gravelly clay loams over limestone in the western outskirts to deep fine sandy loams, silty clay loams, silty clays or clays in the city's eastern part. Some of the clays have pronounced shrink-swell properties and are difficult to work under most moisture conditions. Many of Austin's soils, especially the clay-rich types, are slightly to moderately alkaline and have free calcium carbonate.

See also: List of Austin Neighborhoods

Climate

Austin has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters.[7] On average, Austin receives 33.6 inches (853.4 mm) of rain per year, with most of the precipitation in the spring, and a secondary maximum in the fall.[8] During springtime, severe thunderstorms sometimes occur, though tornadoes are rare in the city. Austin is usually at least partially sunny.

Austin summers are usually hot and humid, with average temperatures of approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) from June until September. Temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) are common. The highest recorded temperature was 112 °F on September 5, 2000.[7][9][10] For the entire year there is an average of 111 days above 90 °F (32 °C) and 198 days above 80 °F (27 °C).[7]

Winters in Austin are mild and dry. For the entire year, Austin averages 88 days below 45 °F (7 °C) and 24 days when the minimum temperature falls below freezing. The lowest recorded temperature was -2 °F on January 31, 1949.[7] Snowfall is rare in Austin, but once every year or two Austin is hit with an ice storm that freezes roads over and shuts down much of the city for around a day.[7]

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °F (°C) 60 (16) 65 (18) 73 (23) 79 (26) 85 (29) 91 (33) 95 (35) 96 (37) 90 (32) 81 (27) 70 (21) 62 (17) 79 (26)
Rec high °F (°C) (year) 90 (32) (1971) 99 (37) (1996) 98 (37) (1971) 99 (37) (1939) 104 (40) (1925) 108 (42) (1998) 108 (42) (1925) 110 (43) (2003) 112 (44) (2000) 100 (38) (1938) 91 (33) (1947) 90 (32) (1955) 112 (44) (2000)
Avg low °F (°C) 40 (4) 44 (7) 51 (11) 58 (14) 65 (18) 71 (22) 73 (23) 73 (23) 69 (21) 60 (16) 49 (10) 42 (6) 58 (14)
Rec low °F (°C) (year) -2 (-19) (1949) -1 (-18) (1899) 18 (-8) (1948) 30 (-1) (1926) 40 (4) (1925) 51 (11) (1926) 57 (14) (1924) 58 (14) (1915) 41 (5) (1942) 30 (-1) (1993) 20 (-7) (1976) 4 (-16) (1989) -2 (-19) (1949)
Rainfall in (mm) 1.89 (48) 1.99 (51) 2.14 (54) 2.51 (64) 5.03 (128) 3.81 (97) 1.97 (50) 2.31 (59) 2.91 (74) 3.97 (101) 2.68 (68) 2.44 (62) 33.6 (853)
Averages are from the 30 year average from 1971–2000 at Camp Mabry, and records are from Camp Mabry and from previous climate sites, spanning from 1897 to present.[8][10]

Government and politics

Law and government

View of Downtown Austin and Texas State Capitol from south Congress Avenue
Austin is administered by a city council of seven members, each of them elected by the entire city, and by an elected mayor under the mayor-council government system of municipal governance. Council and mayoral elections are non-partisan, with a runoff in case there is no majority winner. Austin remains an anomaly among large Texas cities in that council members are elected on an "at large" basis by all voters, as opposed to elections by districts.

The current mayor of Austin is Will Wynn. His second term ends in 2009.

Wynn is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[11] a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Austin is located in Travis County, Texas.

See also: List of current and former capital cities in the United States

Politics

The main political actors in Austin city politics are interest groups such as the pro-environmental Save Our Springs Alliance, Save Barton Creek Association, Equality TX, the Austin Police Association, and the Austin Business Council. Texas Democrats are very active here as well are several youth groups, including the Youth Activists of Austin.

The controversy that dominated Austin politics during the 1990s was the conflict between environmentalists, strong in the city center, and advocates of urban growth, who tend to live in the outlying areas. The city council has in the past tried to mitigate the controversy by advocating smart growth, but growth and environmental protection are still the most divisive issues in city politics. Today conservatives in Austin argue that the city's various highway traffic problems are rooted in the denial of past highway/infrastructure development by political action committees who do not support highway expansion. Environmentalists counter that their efforts contributed to the city's large green spaces, which many Austinites enjoy. Progressives also maintain that unlike several other cities in Texas, Austin's smart growth policies have contributed to a rapidly-increasing population density in and around the downtown area.

Austin is well known as a center for liberal politics in a generally conservative state. Suburban neighborhoods in Austin, especially to the west and north, and several satellite municipalities, however, tend toward political conservatism.

As a result of the major party realignment that began in the 1970s, central Austin became a stronghold of the Democratic Party while the suburbs tend to vote Republican. One consequence of this is that in the most recent redistricting plan, formulated by former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay and enacted by the Republican-majority legislature, the central city has been split among multiple, sprawling districts. Opponents characterized the resulting districting layout as excessively partisan gerrymandering, and the plan was challenged in court on this basis by Democratic and minority activists; of note, the Supreme Court of the United States has never struck down a redistricting plan for being excessively partisan. The plan was subsequently upheld by a three-judge federal panel in late 2003, and on June 28, 2006, the matter was largely settled when the Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision upheld the entire congressional redistricting plan with the exception of a Hispanic-majority district in southwest Texas. This may later affect Austin's districting, as U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett's district was found not to be sufficiently compact to compensate for the reduced minority influence in the southwest district.[1]

Overall, the city is a blend of downtown liberalism and suburb conservatism, but leans strongly to the political left. In the 2004 presidential election, Senator John Kerry won a substantial majority of the votes in Travis County as illustrated in this pictorial of votes by-county. Of Austin's six state legislative districts, three are strongly Democratic and three are swing districts all of which are held by Democrats. However, two of its three congressional districts are presently held by Republicans; this is largely due to the 2003 redistricting, which left downtown Austin without an exclusive congressional seat of its own. Travis County was also the only county in Texas to reject Texas Constitutional Amendment Proposition 2 — effectively outlawing gay marriage and status equal or similar to it — and did so by a wide margin (40% for, 60% against).

Vista of Austin's riverfront from Auditorium Shores Park.

Austin is also an active area for the Libertarian Party. Although the Libertarians remain a third party, they occasionally garner substantial votes, and one of the past Libertarian presidential candidates, Michael Badnarik comes from Austin, while another, Ron Paul represented a congressional district that includes part of the greater Austin area.

Two of the candidates for President in the 2004 race call Austin home. Michael Badnarik, mentioned above as the Libertarian Party candidate, and David Cobb of the Green Party both have lived in Austin. During the runup to the election in November, a presidential debate was held at the University of Texas student union involving the two minor party candidates. While the Commission on Presidential Debates only invites Democrats and Republicans to participate in televised debates, the debate at UT was open to all presidential candidates.

Sister cities

List of sister cities of Austin, Texas, designated by Sister Cities International.[12]

Cities whose claims to sister city status are not recognized officially by the City of Austin

Economy

Southward view of downtown Austin from The Capitol Grounds on 11th Street.

Thousands of graduates each year from the engineering and computer science programs at The University of Texas at Austin provide a steady source of employees that help to fuel Austin's technology and defense industry sectors. The metro Austin area has much lower housing costs than Silicon Valley, but much higher housing costs than many parts of rural Texas. As a result of the relatively high concentration of high-tech companies in the region, Austin was strongly affected by the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and subsequent bust. The general consensus is that high-tech recovery is proceeding rapidly. Austin's biggest employers include the State of Texas, The University of Texas, the SETON Healthcare Network, Dell, IBM and Freescale Semiconductor (spun off from Motorola in 2004). Other high-tech companies with operations in Austin include Borland Software Corporation (headquarters), Apple Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Vignette, AMD, Applied Materials, Cirrus Logic, Cisco, Hoover's, Intel, Motive Inc, National Instruments, Samsung, Silicon Laboratories, Sun Microsystems, and United Devices. The proliferation of technology companies has led to the region's nickname, "the Silicon Hills," (Austin was originally "Silicon Gulch", but San Jose already had that distinction) and has spurred rapid development that has greatly expanded the city to the north, south, east, and west.

In addition to global companies, Austin features a strong network of independent, locally-owned firms and organizations such as the Austin Independent Business Alliance. The success of these businesses reflects the high level of commitment by the citizens of Austin to preserving the unique spirit of the city, and has been tied to the "Keep Austin Weird" campaign. Small businesses from restaurants to clothing shops to salons to arts companies in Austin enjoy a lively existence gained by direct competition with large national and global rivals. The state government, non-profits, and schools (the university and colleges, preschool-12th grade) also provide many jobs. Whole Foods, a market/grocery store specializing in organic, local, and natural foods and other goods (now a corporation) started in and is based out of Austin, and work in the food industry/farming/culinary arts also provides a surprisingly high amount of employment/income for many people.

Demographics

As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 656,562 people, 265,649 households, and 141,590 families residing in the city (roughly comparable in size to San Francisco, Memphis, and Columbus). The population density was 1,007.9/km² (2,610.4/mi²). There were 276,842 housing units at an average density of 425.0/km² (1,100.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.36% White, 10.05% Black or African American, 4.72% Asian, 0.59% Native American, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 16.23% from other races. 2.99% were from two or more races. 30.55% of the population were Hispanic or Latino, who can be of any race.

There were 265,649 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.7% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 37.1% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 105.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,689, and the median income for a family was $54,091. Males had a median income of $35,545 vs. $30,046 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,163. About 9.1% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over. From the year 2000 to 2005, the median house price in Austin grew 34%.

The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Area had 1,513,565 people as of 2006. Combined with the population of the San Antonio metropolitan area (nearly 75 miles to the southwest; the two areas together are commonly referred to as South Central Texas), the region is home to about 3.6 million people.

Austin is consistently ranked among the three safest cities per capita of any size in many categories and for many reasons, especially because annually, per 100,000 people there are fewer than 5 people murdered.

Culture

The sights of Austin's nightlife on 6th Street.

As Austin's official slogan is The Live Music Capital of the World,[1] the city has a vibrant live music scene with more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city. Austin's music revolves around the many nightclubs on 6th Street and an annual film/music/multimedia festival known as South by Southwest. The city also has a burgeoning circle of live performance theater venues such as: Zachary Scott Theatre Center, Vortex Repertory Company, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Arts on Real, Scottish Rite Children's Theater, Hyde Park Theatre, and the Esther's Follies comedy & magic show which has been operating for over 3 decades now. The longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits, is videotaped on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Austin City Limits and Capital Sports & Entertainment run the Austin City Limits Music Festival, an annual music and art festival held at Zilker Park in Austin. The long-running outdoor musical, the Zilker Park Summer Musical expects to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2008. The Urban Music Festival is held during the Texas Relays weekend every April. Other annual events include Eeyore's Birthday Party and the Austin Reggae Festival (previously named Bob Marley Festival) in April and Carnaval in February. Halloween, the two Mexican independence days (Cinco de Mayo and El 16 de Septiembre), St Patrick's Day, Mardi Gras, July 4, and Juneteenth (Emancipation Day) are all widely celebrated. First Thursday is a popular festival which takes place the first Thursday of each month.

Austinites take pride in eccentricities and celebrate differences and being different (in lifestyle, character, beliefs, etc.). "Keep Austin Weird" has become a local motto in recent years, featured on innumerable bumper stickers and t-shirts. This motto has not only been used in promoting Austin's eccentricity and diversity, but is also meant to bolster support of local and independent businesses.

Ballet Austin is the fourth largest ballet academy in the country.[13] Each year Ballet Austin's twenty member professional company performs ballets from a wide variety of choreographers, including their international award winning artistic director, Stephen Mills. Ballet Austin has traveled around the world performing in Europe, twice at the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), and in New York City's famous Joyce Theatre.

Nationally known Austinites include Willie Nelson, Lance Armstrong, Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock , Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, Andy Roddick, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Michael Dell. Other well-known Austinites can be found in the List of Austinites.

Media

2007Austin City Limits Music Festival with view of stages and Austin skyline.

Austin has been the location for a number of motion pictures, partly due to the influence of The University of Texas at Austin's Department of Radio-Television-Film. Films produced in Austin include Man of the House, Secondhand Lions, Waking Life, Spy Kids, Dazed and Confused, Office Space, The Life of David Gale, Miss Congeniality, Doubting Thomas, Slacker, Idiocracy, Road Trip, A Scanner Darkly,The Wendall Baker Story and most recently, Grindhouse and How To Eat Fried Worms . In order to draw future film projects to the area, the Austin Film Society has converted several airplane hangars from the former Mueller Airport into filmmaking center Austin Studios. Projects that have used facilities at Austin Studios include music videos by The Flaming Lips and feature films such as 25th Hour and Sin City. Austin also hosted the MTV series, The Real World: Austin in 2005.

Austin's main daily newspaper is the Austin American-Statesman. The Austin Chronicle is Austin's alternative weekly, while The Daily Texan is the student newspaper of the University of Texas. Austin also has smaller newspapers such as the Oak Hill Gazette, Austin Business Journal, and Texas Family Magazine. Texas Monthly, a major regional magazine, is also headquartered in Austin.

Austin hosts the annual Austin Film Festival, as well as the nationally acclaimed South by Southwest, which draw films of many different types from all over the world. In 2004 the city was first in Moviemaker Magazine's annual top ten cities to live and make movies. The 2007 South by Southwest festival included Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, Tom Morello, and Rickie Lee Jones.

Austin also hosts the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, based on its own Austin City Limits television show, which has been produced for over 30 years at their resident PBS affiliate KLRU. The festival and television show alike attract musical artists from around the world.

Austin also has a strong theater culture, with dozens of itinerant and resident companies producing a wide variety of work. From Esther's Follies on E. 6th Street to Zachary Scott on S. Lamar, live entertainment can be found around the city. Many, many other theater groups exist and often perform publicly, collaborating often with dance and music groups. Public art and performances of many kinds in the parts and on bridges is popular and it is easy to find a myriad of diverse and creative free productions.

Local businesses and artists produce a lot of interesting handmade indie-fashion and organic-and-eco-friendly fashion, as can be seen on the 32nd street artist market, at festivals, and in many shops. Independent film is prominent in the city. Wes Anderson, the director of The Royal Tennenbaums and other cult films, lived in Austin.

In January 2007, Austin Lyric Opera hosted the American Premiere of the Philip Glass opera, Waiting for the Barbarians. Waiting for the Barbarians is an allegory of oppressor and oppressed based on the novel by John Maxwell Coetzee of South Africa. Coetzee, the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 2003, is a University of Texas at Austin graduate and former UT professor.

Sports

Austin is the largest city in the United States without a franchise in the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, or the National Hockey League. However, many Austinites enthusiastically support the University of Texas Longhorns' sports programs. The University of Texas football and baseball teams each won their respective national championships during the 2005-2006 seasons. Minor-league professional sports came to Austin in 1996, when the Austin Ice Bats began playing at the Travis County Expo Center. Since then, they have been joined by many other teams.

Austin is home to many rock-climbers, swimmers, divers, snorkelers, mountain bikers, cyclists, as the cities numerous trails and limestone rock formations support such outdoor activities. Cycling is popular partly due to an environmental awareness and also due to the popularity of Lance Armstrong, who lives in the suburb of Dripping Springs. It is a city of volunteering, activism, intellectualism, charity, and giving to the community; the sense of community is strong and people participate in many events to help their neighbors and many causes.

Minor-League Professional Sports Teams
Club Sport Founded League Venue
Austin Ice Bats Hockey 1996 Central Hockey League Chaparral Ice
Round Rock Express Baseball 1999 Pacific Coast League Dell Diamond
Austin Lightning Soccer 2002 USL Premier Development League Tony Burger Center
Austin Outlaws Football 2003 National Women's Football Association House Park
Austin Wranglers Arena Football 2004 Arena Football League Frank Erwin Center
Austin Toros Basketball 2005 NBA D-League Austin Convention Center
Austin's Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest man-made pool in Texas

In addition to team sports, the combined draws of the bicycle-friendly Texas Hill Country that begins in Northwest Austin, the centrally-located Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, and local pools like Barton Springs make Austin the home of several endurance and multi-sport races and communities. The Capitol 10,000 is the largest 10 K race in Texas, and approximately fifth largest in the nation. The Austin Marathon has been run in the city every year since 1992. The Austin-founded American Swimming Association hosts an open water swimming event, the Academy Capital 2K, and other closed-course, open water, and cable swim races around town. Austin is also the hometown of several cycling groups and the champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. Combining these three disciplines is a growing crop of triathlons, including the Capital of Texas Triathlon held every Memorial Day on and around Lady Bird Lake, Auditorium Shores, and downtown Austin, even crossing 6th Street on several legs of the race.

Tourist attractions

Many of the tourists that visit Austin come for its vibrant nightlife; however, there are many other attractions in Austin, including the Texas Memorial Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art (opened in 2006), the galleries at the Harry Ransom Center, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum across the street (which opened in 2000). The Texas State Capitol itself is also a major tourist attraction. The Driskill Hotel built in 1886, located at 6th and Brazos, was finished just before the construction of the Capitol building. Sixth Street is a musical hub for the city but also includes annual festivals such as the Pecan Street Festival and Halloween night. A very strange and eccentric, unique Austin haven for weird arts such as fire-dancing and circus-like-acts is the Enchanted Forest, which hosts many outdoor art and performance events.

The Austin City Limits Music Festival also brings many tourists from around the nation.

The Congress Avenue Bridge houses the world's largest urban population of Mexican free-tailed bats. Starting in late February, up to 1.5 million bats take up residence inside the bridge's expansion and contraction zones as well as in long horizontal grooves running the length of the bridge's underside, an environment ideally suited for raising their young. Every evening around sunset, the bats emerge in search of insects, an exit visible on weather radar. Watching the bat emergence is an event that is popular with locals and tourists, with more than 100,000 viewers per year. The bats migrate to Mexico each winter.

Considering Austin's "Earth-friendly" persona, it is appropriate that the Austin Zoo, located in the Oak Hill neighborhood just north of U.S. 290, is a rescue zoo that provides sanctuary to displaced animals from a variety of unfortunate and often neglectful situations.

Austin also has several well-known swimming locations. These include Deep Eddy Pool, Texas' oldest man-made swimming pool, and Barton Springs Pool, the nation's largest natural swimming pool in an urban area. Both are spring-fed and maintain a constant temperature of 69 degrees year-round -- swimming in Barton Springs at Christmas is an annual tradition for many Austinites. Hippie Hollow, a county park situated along Lake Travis, is the only clothing-optional public park in Texas. Activities include rockclimbing, kayaking, swimming, exploring, and hiking along the greenbelt, a green, lush, long-spanning area that runs through the city. Hamilton Pool is a gorgeous and cool (temperature-wise) pool and wildlife park located about 30 minutes from the city and is strongly recommended by many locals.

Farmers markets are popular attractions, provided a variety of locally grown and often organic goods.

Architectural landmarks

A moonlight tower.

Buildings that make up Austin's skyline are modest in height and somewhat spread out. The latter characteristic is due to a restriction that preserves the view of the Texas State Capitol building from various locations around Austin. The city's tallest building, 360 Condominiums, is under construction and topped out in late 2007. Austin's second tallest building and tallest completed structure, the Frost Bank Tower, opened in 2004 and stands at 515 feet and is located at the corner of Congress Avenue and 4th Street. Austin is currently undergoing a skyscraper boom, which includes construction on the 360 Condominiums at 563 feet, the Austonian at 683 feet, and the 5th and Congress Tower at 705 feet tall. By 2011, the Frost Bank Building will be the only skyscraper built before 2005 to remain in the top ten tallest buildings in the city.

The iconic Pennybacker Bridge, also known as the "360 Bridge," crosses Lake Austin to connect north and south Loop 360.

At night, parts of Austin are lit with "artificial moonlight." Several 165-foot moonlight towers, built in the late 19th century and recognized as historic landmarks, illuminate the central part of the city. Only 17 of the 31 original towers remain standing. The towers featured in the film, Dazed and Confused. Austin's Zilker Park Tree is a Christmas display made of lights strung from the top of a Moonlight Tower in Zilker Park. The Zilker Tree is lighted in December along with the "Trail of Lights," an Austin Christmas tradition.

Transportation

Interchange of Interstate 35 and State Highway 45.

Central Austin is bracketed by Interstate 35 to the east and the Mopac Expressway to the west. U.S. Highway 183 runs from northwest to southeast, and State Highway 71 crosses southern part of the city from east to west, completing a rough "box" around the central and north-central city. Austin is the largest major city in the United States to be served by only one Interstate Highway.

U.S. Highway 290 enters Austin from the east and merges into I-35. Its highway designation continues south on I-35 and then becomes part of Highway 71, continuing on to the west. Highway 290 becomes its own road again southwest of the city, when it splits from highway 71 in a busy interchange in Oak Hill known as "The Y." Highway 71 continues as far west as Brady, TX, and Highway 290 continues west to intersect Interstate 10 near Junction. Interstate 35 continues south through San Antonio, TX, and continues to its culmination at Laredo, TX, which is on the Texas-Mexico border. Interstate 35 is the highway link to the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex in the northern Texas. There are two links to Houston, TX (Highway 290 and State Highway 71/Interstate 10). Highway 183 leads northwest of Austin and is a route with other major highways to such cities as Abilene, San Angelo, Lubbock, Amarillo, Albuquerque and Denver.

In the mid-1980s, Austin completed construction on State Highway Loop 360, a scenic highway that curves through the hill country from near the 71/Mopac interchange in the south to near the 183/Mopac interchange in the north.

In November 2006, Austin opened the first segments of its first-ever tollway system: State Highway 130 runs from Georgetown, Hutto, Round Rock, Pflugerville, where it connects with 45, passes US 290 just between the city limits of Austin and Manor, extending around the east side of the city until it ends at 71 just east of the airport. The next segment will loop around the airport to the east and meet with US 183 south of Creedmoor, then the last few segments will continue southward until it reaches Interstate 10 in Seguin, east of San Antonio.

State Highway 45 runs east-west from just west of 183 in Cedar Park to 130 inside Pflugerville (just south of Round Rock). From there it becomes 45 North/South and is cosigned with 130, currently where 130 ends.

The project also included a tolled extension to Mopac that allows direct access to I-35.

The 183A Toll Road opened as of March 2007, providing a tolled alternative to 183 through the congested cities of Leander and Cedar Park.

Remaining segments of 45 and 130 are scheduled for completion in 2007. A separate segment of 45 still under development (Texas 45 SE) will eventually connect U.S. 183/Texas 130 to I-35, in south Austin.

Austin's airport is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (IATA code AUS), located 5 miles (8 km) southeast of the city.

A Capital Metro bus designated as a shuttle bus for University of Texas at Austin students and staff.

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) provides public transportation to the city, primarily by bus. Capital Metro is building a commuter rail system that is scheduled for completion in 2008. The system will be built on existing freight rail lines and will serve downtown Austin, East Austin, Northwest Austin, and Leander in its first phase. An Amtrak Texas Eagle station is located west of downtown. Segments of the Amtrak route between Austin and San Antonio are under evaluation for a future passenger rail corridor as an alternative to the traffic congestion of Interstate 35.

Many citizens are demanding a light-rail system, better and more common bike-rails to be made all over the city that will be easily accessible/rideable and safe, better pedestrian sidewalks and lanes, and alternative modes of transportation, as car congestion is quite bad recently due to the sudden population boom and people refusing to carpool, take the bus, seek alternative modes and/or alternative modes being unavailable. Solutions are being worked on.

Education

Given the title of America's #1 College Town by the Travel Channel, Austin is home to The University of Texas at Austin, one of the largest universities in the country. It is also the flagship institution of The University of Texas System — the largest state system of higher education in Texas. Other institutions of higher learning include Austin Community College, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University, St. Edward's University, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the Acton School of Business, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and a branch of LeTourneau University.

Most of the city is covered by the Austin Independent School District. Parts of Austin are served by other districts, including Round Rock Independent School District, Pflugerville Independent School District, Leander Independent School District, Manor Independent School District, Del Valle Independent School District, and Eanes Independent School District. Researchers at Central Connecticut State University ranked Austin the 16th most literate city in America for 2005.[14]

Private and alternative education is also available for children in preschool-12th grade. Institutions include Garza (which is public), the Waldorf schools, The Griffin school, St. Stephen's, St. Mary's, St. Michael's, St. Andrew's, St.Francis School, Huntington-Surrey, and many Montessori schools. Liberal Arts and Science Academy of Austin at LBJ High School has been considered by many magazines and scholars to be one of the best public high schools in the country, and Kealing and Fulmore middle schools participate in similar and similarly nationally-acclaimed programs known as the magnet programs. There are also some elementary, middle, and high schools that ofter gifted & talented, and International Baccalaureate programs.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Live Music Capital of the World. City of Austin. Retrieved on 2007-06-12.
  2. ^ http://money.cnn.com/2007/06/27/real_estate/fastest_growing_cities/
  3. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named 06EST
  4. ^ http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2006/top100/bigcities.html Money.cnn.com
  5. ^ http://cityguides.msn.com/citylife/greenarticle.aspx?cp-documentid=4848625 "The 10 Greenest Cities in America " (MSN City Guide)
  6. ^ What Native American tribe was most common in the area?. Austin City Connection. Retrieved on 2007-09-20.
  7. ^ a b c d e Austin Weather & Climate. About.com. Retrieved on 2007-03-19.
  8. ^ a b Austin Climate Summary. NOAA. Retrieved on 2006-07-13.
  9. ^ VERY HOT EARLY SEPTEMBER 2000 WEATHER. National Weather Service. Retrieved on 2007-03-19.
  10. ^ a b MontAverages. Weather.com. Retrieved on 2006-07-13.
  11. ^ Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members.
  12. ^ http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/siscity/ Austin Sister Cities - general information
  13. ^ PRWeb (2006-10-06). Ballet Austin Celebrates Golden 50th Anniversary Season. Press releaseImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif. Retrieved on 2007-10-04Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif.
  14. ^ Central Connecticut State University study, accessed August 1, 2006

External links

Media and entertainment

Nature and environment

CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 30.266667° N 97.75° W

Resources


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Austin, Texas. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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County names Austin, Texas  +
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This article uses material from the "Austin, Texas" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

City of Austin
Nickname(s): Live Music Capital of the World[1], River City, ATX, The City with the Violet Crown
Coordinates: 30°16′N 97°45′W / 30.267°N 97.75°W / 30.267; -97.75
Country United States
State Texas
Counties Travis County
Government
 - Mayor Lee Leffingwell
Area
 - City 296.25 sq mi (767.28 km2)
 - Metro 4,285.7 sq mi (11,099.91 km2)
Population (2006)[2]
 - City 709,893
 Density 2,396.3/sq mi (925.21/km2)
 Metro 1,513,565
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78701-78705, 78708-78728, 78730-78739, 78741-78742, 78744-78769
Area code(s) 512
Website www.ci.austin.tx.us

Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of Texas. The University of Texas at Austin is located there.

Contents

History

Austin was first called Waterloo in 1835. In 1839 it was chosen to be the capital city of The Republic of Texas and named for Stephen F. Austin. The University of Texas at Austin was founded in 1883.

Government

The mayor of Austin is Lee Leffingwell.

Austin also has a city council with seven members.

Business

Many businesses have their main offices in or near Austin, including AMD, Dell, Freescale Semiconductors and Whole Foods.

Sports

Formula One has made an agreement with the city of Austin to host the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. The first race will be in 2010. A new racetrack will be built to host the race.[3] The last United States Grand Prix was in 2007 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Herrman Tilke will design the Austin F1 track. He has been asked to design a track like the classic racetracks of Silverstone, Hockenheim and Spa. The track will be over 3-miles in length.[4]

References








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