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Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation: Central Texas & Austin History

Austin Community College's Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center planning activities, including the groundbreaking oral histories project, is sponsored by the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

History of the College

Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation logo

Campus Lands

 

Molina, Maribel. (2017, Sep. 25). This Instagram is a time machine for Austin’s black, Latino communities.
 

ACC Opens Its Doors - https://sites.austincc.edu/acchistory/1973/09/home/

ACC Acquires Brackenridge Nursing School, April, 1974 -  http://sites.austincc.edu/acchistory/#3

C

Cedar Park, Texas

 

Rosewood Neighborhood

The Northridge Campus is in the Gracywoods Neighborhood and was constructed on land once devoted to dairy farming.

Gracywood Neighborhood boundaries

“The Gracy family once owned a dairy farm and hundreds of acres in the area, before selling off parcels for niche residential communities.” (Gracywood Neighborhood,  http://www.gracywoods.org/about.php).  “In the 1940’s, what is now north Austin was a collection of dairy farms located on the westernmost extensions of Blackland prairie just east of the Balcones fault, the geological formation that marks the eastern edge of the Texas hill country. Gracywoods is located on what used to be the old Gracy Farm. About a mile to the south was the Kramer Farm." (2009, Mar. 9. “The History of the Gracywoods Guineafowl” Gracy Wild Blog}. Like the Walnut Creek neighborhood to the east, Gracywood may have been the home of the Tonkawa before the arrival of white settlers. According to the austintexas.gov blog, "In 1833, a hunting party of settlers was attacked by Indians along Walnut Creek. Two men died, while Josiah Wilbarger was scalped and left for dead, yet remarkably survived to live an additional nine years (wearing an old sock over his exposed skull). This was the first recorded instance of Indian conflict in Travis County (Black, Keever, and Morehead 1978:24)."

Rio Grande Campus - Downtown

There were three campuses built on land either donated or sold by the Avery family of Round Rock.  According to an article on the construction of Texas State Round Rock,  "'This was land that the Avery family had owned, tilled and preserved for six generations, dating back to Arvid Nelson’s arrival in the United States from Sweden in 1854,' said Texas State President Denise Trauth." (http://www.txstate.edu/news/news_releases/news_archive/2004/11/rravery112204.html).

"...the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents accepted a donation of land by the Avery family. As a result, the Texas A&M Health Science Center now has a permanent site for its Round Rock campus.  The donation includes a gift of 15 acres, the purchase of 10 acres and the option for an additional 25 acres in the future." (http://www.hillcountrynews.com/stories/avery-land-donation-approved-for-texas-am-health-science-center-round-rock-campus,60567).

"... with their families, [the Averys] have donated about 126 acres of family land to make way for the Avery Centre, a mixed-use development that houses the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Texas State University and Austin Community College campuses, Seton Medical Center Williamson, Cornerstone Round Rock, and the San Gabriel Rehabilitation and Care Center. Nearby Hutto has also benefited from Avery land donations in the form of space for the East Williamson County Higher Education Center and public easements for roads." (https://communityimpact.com/austin/round-rock-pflugerville-hutto/features/2017/06/15/learn-charles-avery-influential-community-member-williamson-county/).

Avery Center (https://www.secplanning.com/project/avery-center/)

Avery Ranch and Surrounding Area -- Rich in History
(http://www.buyaustin.com/avery-ranch-history.asp)

The Avery Ranch was acquired by the Avery Family (C.N. Avery, Jr., Mary Avery Watt, Helen Avery Phinney, and Francis Avery McCorqoudale) in several parcels between 1932 and 1949. By 1950, Avery Ranch contained in excess of 1800 acres. The Avery Family (in partnership with John Henry, Art Henry and Buz Henry of Cedar Park) actively engaged in the cattle and sheep raising business from 1940 until 1999 when the Ranch was developed for subdivision and golf course purposes.

The Ranch has been inhabited by humans for over 9,000 years, beginning with the paleo-indians who settled here at the end of the last ice age. Campsites, burial sites, arrowheads, flint tools and debris are frequently found along the banks of Brushy Creek. These items serve as constant reminders of the Ranch’s long and rich history. The early pioneers often interacted with the local Native Americans, called the Tonkawa and also with the occasional Comanche hunting and raiding parties.

In the 1840s and 1850s, the first Anglo settlers found the Ranch to be a pleasant place to homestead. There were abundant springs, creeks, timber and soil to nurture their lifestyles. There are at least five old homestead locations on the Ranch, the most notable is the two-story Spring House located east of Parmer Lane and north of Avery Ranch Boulevard. The early pioneer John Champion family settled in the eastern portion of the Ranch now called the Waters Edge.

In 1882, a railroad was constructed over Brushy Creek on the Ranch west of Parmer Lane to bring granite blocks to the Capitol of Texas building.

As is the case with many states formed through the 'Westward Expansion," Europeans were invited to settle in Texas.  There's a book, Come to Texas: Attracting Immigrants, 1865-1915, in ACC and University of Texas libraries.

"Immigrants from Sweden began coming to Texas in 1848. They were preceded by Swante M. Swenson, who first came to America in 1836. Swenson prospered and soon acquired a plantation in Fort Bend County. He became a friend and admirer of Sam Houston, who urged him to recruit Swedish immigrants to settle the sparsely occupied interior of Texas. Swenson did as Houston suggested and brought twenty-five Swedes to Texas in 1848. First joining Swenson in Fort Bend County, they moved with him after he sold his plantation and slaves to a large sheep and cattle ranch just east of Austin. Swenson continued to assist his countrymen in coming to Texas by advancing passage money in return for their labor. The depression of 1873 slowed immigration, but the movement resumed in 1878."  (Art Leatherwood, "Swedes," Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pts01.) 

The Riverside Campus was developed on the site of the  Austin Country Club and its famous golf course. The Austin Country Club was established in 1899 at what is now Hancock Shopping Center on 41st Street, then moved outside the city limits in 1950 to the current location of the campus.  "Riverside--designed by the revered Perry Maxwell in 1950 and owned by Austin Community College since the 1980s — was the longtime home base for the legendary Harvey Penick...." 

By the late 1970s, however, the club was no longer attracting members. It was seen as "too small and dated to pull in the growing golfing classes who, anyway, were mostly moving north and west of Central Austin."

In 1984, the country club moved from Riverside to Davenport Ranch. Lori Duran, a student at the Riverside Golf Course in 2008 suggested a reason for the move:  'I met someone once who was a member when the country club was on Riverside, and she said they moved to Davenport Ranch because the demographics had changed on Riverside,' Duran says. 'Some of the members didn’t like driving through the area to go to the country club .' (Barnes, Michael. (2015, Apr. 01). Golfers and nonplayers remain fond of former Austin Country Club site.  Austin American Statesman) When the club first opened in 1899, the 'initial membership list contained most of the early pioneer families of Austin and read like 'Who's Who' in Texas." (Austin Country Club)

East Riverside-Oltorf Neighborhood

 

Westgate Neighborhood (Detailed Profile)


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