How Did Austin Become “Austin”? Know the history to understand the present | Guide

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Austin, an oasis of creativity and technological innovation, lies in the middle of the Lone Star State. The city has always been known for its live music and especially for South by Southwest, the annual technology, film, and music festival that has become a megalithic force that attracts thousands of people around the US every year. Today the Austin of country music, creativity, and fun is perhaps retreating into the shadow of the tech boom, which has turned Austin into one the fastest-growing cities in the states. But for anything significant to happen, there is always a foundation that is laid first. In this post, we are going to take a look at Austin’s fantastic history and learn how it got to where it is standing today.

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Texas State Capitol

A little Background on Austin’s History

In 1835, a sovereign nation known as the Republic of Texas was founded, and within four years, seven capitals were changed before the country decided to choose a small village, at that time known as Waterloo, their permanent capital. This small village, situated close to the Colorado River, was then renamed some years later, in the loving memory of Stephen F. Austin, who is known to be the Father of Texas.   

However, making Austin the cornerstone of Texas was not so straightforward, and it earned a lot of controversies. The reason was that Texas was going through tough times, and Austin was vulnerable to attack by Native Indian tribes. But an attack by the Natives was not the only threat, at the time when Austin was being made the capital, Texas was fighting against the Mexican army as well. So, the decision to make Austin the capital of Texas was opposed by many prominent people, including Sam Houston, the 1st, and 3rd president of the Republic of Texas.   

After Austin became the capital, it did not take long enough to lose its title, and the capital was shifted to Houston. However, Austin regained the title in 1846. For the next twenty years, the city saw three different nations as the governing bodies: The Republic of Texas, the United States, and the Confederacy.

Economic Growth

After the Civil War, it was the time when Austin was set to the path of economic prosperity, and since then, there has been no turning back. The first railroad connection was given to Austin back in 1871, which made the city an economic hub where trade and commerce spread like wildfire. With this economic development, many investors flocked into the capital of Texas, and foundations of the modern buildings were laid for the first time in the city.  

Among all these modern buildings, one building was different from all the others, the iconic Texas State Capitol. The Capitol claimed its spot for the World’s 7th biggest building after the construction was completed in 1888. Since then, the building remains a central landmark on the Austin Skyline.

Colorado River off Highway 71 by Austin’s Airport.

The University’s Arrival

In the early 1880s, the fortune of the people of Austin started to rise, and when the University of Texas was founded, the city to become an educational hub was imminent. The University started to attract the brightest student across the state; Austin started to climb the first ladder towards becoming a technology center. The University of Texas rose to a new level of popularity, when the Main Building of the University, also known as “The Tower,” was completed in 1937.  

Now having its own University, Austin became the source of a knowledgeable, educated, and skilled workforce, whose demand all over the state rose magnificently. Due to its history of producing an educated population, offices of biggest companies in the USA, including Dell, IBM, Intel, and Google, have set up their offices in Austin, making this city the Silicon Valley of South.

University Of Austin – Photo from https://www.utexas.edu/

Great Granite Dam and Colorado River

Another significant milestone for the people of Austin was the construction of the Great Granite Dam on the Colorado river back in 1893. The dam was able to fulfill the water demand of Austin and successfully generated hydraulic power to produce electricity, which was one of the main reasons many manufacturers and investors showed interest in the city.   

Austin: Music Capital Of The World

During 1970-1990, Austin gained a reputation for being the launchpad for new artists and was famous for being a new hub for technological innovation as well. Throughout the journey from a small village to an economic and technology hub of the USA, Austin has performed well at every ground. And since it has been an economic and educational center of Texas, many immigrants from different parts of the world have settled in the city, thus, giving Austin all of its diverse cultural vibes.  

Austin has now become the Live Music Capital of the World, the reason being, no other city in the world has more music venues per person in the world. Every single night, you will encounter hundreds of venues featuring live music ranging from blues to indie rock, country to electronic, jazz, and more. 

If you happen to be in Austin, you must know the vibes given by live indoor music; you cannot describe it in words. It is something you would want to experience over and over again, and photos are the return tickets to moments otherwise gone. If you are a musician, you should consider hiring me to cover your live event. With more than ten years behind the camera, I can assure quality content so you can always show everyone how you were part of Austin’s history.

Live Event At The Dirty Dog On 6th Street

Austin Today

Today, a little more than half of Austin’s population is under 30. You will find different artists and entrepreneurs who are all busy in finding their destiny here, and like in every other city, Austin’s changing every day. If you set yourself as the capital of creativity and DIY, inevitably, people are going to want to join in, and with that, comes gentrification. But while Austin mutates, the spirit of creativity does remain, and perhaps a city with such a habit of writing its history will always find a way for the locals, artists, and entrepreneurs to coexist happily and beneficially.


References:

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Austin,_Texas

2: http://library.austintexas.gov/ahc/brief-history-austin 

3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_F._Austin

4: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_State_Capitol5: https://www.avoyatravel.com/blog/top-7-music-cities-in-the-world-104281/ ( For Music Capital of the World)