Whoopee, biannual roundup: Favorite postcards from this blog

Above: Remnants of the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture are found at its former home on South Lamar Boulevard.

Yes, I know. This blog is suffering a bit of an identity crisis. First, 2020 abruptly cut short my boulevardier ways, and then in early 2021 we pulled up stakes and moved up the road to Austin.

This blogger entertained herself throughout much of the pandemic by posting her entire novel – An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and, Yes She Shot Him Dead – online, slowly unfolding it chapter by chapter. A few of my readers actually followed Hedda Burgemeister all the way through her 19teens trial for murder; although, I had been hoping for a little more feedback and filming rights have yet to be sold. Others have embraced posts about our new neighborhood as we started boulevardier-ing north and south off Lamar Bouldevard.

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Zilker Park: Founded on a fortune made in ice

lone star ice works

Above: Lone Star Ice Works, George H. Berner and H.R. Marks, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Portal to Texas History

The loss in this climate is enormous and it is probably within bounds to say that at least one sixth of the gross output melts away. The manufacture of tons of ice and its delivery to customers at a cent a pound is one of the novelties of this age, and had you ever hinted such a thing 30 years ago you would have been looked upon as insane.

Austin Statesman, July 17, 1890

Born in 1858 on the banks of the Ohio River in Indiana, Andrew Jackson Zilker started working riverside as a stevedore and cabin boy while young. He stumbled across a copy of Henderson Yoakum’s extensive History of Texas, published in 1846, and began dreaming of Texas. He worked his way via riverboat to New Orleans; earned his way to Texas by driving oxcarts to San Antonio; and arrived in Austin at age 18.

The 50 cents in his pocket, according to numerous accounts, was quickly depleted – half for a bed on the first night and the other half for food. Hunger motivated him to land employment helping to construct the International-Great Northern freight depot and then the Congress Avenue Bridge over the Colorado.

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Who was the ‘Barton’ of the springs?

barton springs 1882

Above, “Barton Springs,” A.M. Ramsey, 1882 oil painting, Austin History Center, Portal to Texas History

…”waters are as transparent as glass. Small objects can be seen at the bottom, 15 or 20 feet below the surface. The flow never changes. Prolonged rains, over a wide extent of the country, do not increase their volume, nor do the severest drouths diminish it.”

Frank Brown writing in Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin, (From the Earliest Times to the Close of 1875), Collection of Travis County Historical Commission, Portal to Texas History

New zipcode for this blogger. Jumped from 78204 to 78704, which means a whole batch of historical tidbits to master in order to understand home in South Austin. With an address on Barton Springs Road, finding out about Barton seems a good place to start.

Continue reading “Who was the ‘Barton’ of the springs?”