Enfield after 1918 

Elizabeth Whitlow of Texas History Research Services has compiled a brief history of Enfield in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of the original plat of the neighborhood.

Miss Julie, daughter of Gov. and Mrs. Pease, was known to so love the trees of Woodlawn that she would not permit a branch to be cut without her supervision.  It may be that in addition to beginning Enfield as close to downtown as possible for economic value, she did not want homes built near Woodlawn.  After she died in January 1918, Enfield developed more quickly.  The timing could reflect the growing economy of the times, but it seems doubtful that Miss Julie wanted to see land turned into a housing development, however lovely.  When her friend Mrs. Tom Taylor spoke about her, she said that Miss Julie’s death meant the death of many trees in Enfield.

Enfield owes its existence to Gov. Pease     When young Marshall Pease first left his Connecticut family he wrote them homesick letters, but by Spring 1836 during the Texas Revolution he wrote his father Lorrain, “If we succeed in maintaining [our independence] … I would not leave Texas for any county on earth.”  In August his brother Lorrain died here, but in writing home about their loss the new Texan — who had already helped to shape the Republic –maintained his position: “Texas is my home, and … here I shall spend the balance of my life.”  Because Gov. Pease felt that way, and because he chose to keep Woodlawn during the Civil War, Enfield exists in Austin, Texas.

 

Select Sources:  Texas General Land Office records; Pease-Graham-Niles Family Papers, Austin History Center, Public Library; Roger A. Griffin, Connecticut Yankee in Texas: A Biography of Elisha Marshall Pease, PhD Dissertation, UT 1973; Old West Austin Historic District, National Register of Historic Places; Austin Statesman microfilm, Austin City Directories, and Austin Lot Registers, Austin History Center, APL.

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Enfield Realty in 1916     

The first records for the Enfield Realty and Home Building Company begin with Articles of Incorporation dated January 28, 1916.  Officers were W. M. (Murray) Graham,  R. Niles Graham, and Paul Crusemann.  That spring the company rented offices and bought a safe, “sold” signs, stationery, and newspaper ads.  The company was not yet listed in the 1916 City Directory, but Enfield Rd. is listed for the first time from Windsor Rd. southwest to two blocks northwest of W. 12th St.  No houses had yet been built on Enfield Rd.

Enfield Gossip Ad

First known advertisement for lots in Enfield

The first known ad for Enfield Realty appeared Sunday, May 14 in the Austin Statesman and refers to “Austin’s exclusive residential section.”  On May 27 the monthly social paper, Gossip, mentioned plans for a “picturesque new addition” and its September 23 ad shows a picture of the curved rock wall in Enfield Rd. just west of Parkway.  This extant structure contains a drain for a periodic spring.  It is part of the first built environment of Enfield, along with streets.

The City Lot Register and City Directories document house building by year but not by order of construction.  It is not possible to name them in this summary, except to say that many of the prominent leaders of Austin, of UT, and of state government lived in Enfield.  Also, this summary only covers Enfield A, not the many sections that were built west of it to the railroad. Into the middle of the century.

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Growth of the Pease family and Austin

Elizabeth Whitlow of Texas History Research Services has compiled a brief history of Enfield in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of the original plat of the neighborhood.

Carrie Pease, who married George Graham, died young, and her children, Richard Niles and Carrie Margaret, were reared by their Aunt Julie at Woodlawn.  As young adults, Niles entered business selling “Lands” since the family owned property in other parts of Texas as well as Austin.  Margaret, as she was called, married Austin business man Paul Crusemann.  Niles married Anita Goeth of Austin. As Austin grew, streets west of Ruiz (now Lamar, but only as far as W. 12th St.) and up nearby hills were populated with Victorian and Edwardian era homes.  Woodlawn had been connected to town for years by a horse and buggy trail across Shoal Creek.  A short stretch of Windsor Ave. appeared first in the Austin City Directory in 1895.

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FROM WOODLAWN TO ENFIELD – A BRIEF HISTORY

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Elizabeth Whitlow of Texas History Research Services has compiled a brief history of Enfield in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of the original plat of the neighborhood.

 Tonkawas:  The Pre-Austinites     

Along Shoal Creek and among trees yet standing, Native Americans called Tonkawas lived only 175 years ago when Austin was founded.  Their name comes from the Wacos and means “They all stay together.” Tonkawas lived as small roaming bands in Central Texas.  They had probably been driven off the Plains, away from their buffalo hunting culture, by Comanches and Apaches.

When Anglo colonists arrived, Tonkawas sometimes allied with them for protection against Comanches.

Tonkawa cheifs courtesy Creative Commons

Tonkawa chiefs courtesy Creative Commons

Stephen F. Austin gave Tonkawas corn to plant, but they refused because, as descendants of the wolf, they would eat meat!  Most “Indian” raids in early Austin were by Comanches.  Tonkawas were further reduced in numbers by Anglo diseases and they were reduced to poverty and begging before finally being forcibly moved with all other Native Americans in Texas to Oklahoma in 1859.

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Shoal Creek, Texas

Ted Eubanks, a long-time advocate of Pease Park has developed a website showcasing Pease Park, including its history, wildlife, and future plans for the park. It’s a great site and he has posted photos from the dedication of the new plaques placed at the stone entrance to the park.

Parks have a way of surviving. Pease Park is a case in point. Governor E.M. Pease gave Austin the original twenty-four acres in 1875, the first public park donated in Texas. Donation is not necessarily protection. The property of what is now the Caswell Tennis Courts (built in 1948) nearly became the site for an apartment hotel. Plans for Pease Park have included a small golf course and an elementary school. Fortunately the original deed of gift barred such uses. Parks have a way of surviving.

Pease Park has survived, but has it thrived? No. Until recently Pease Park suffered both neglect and abuse. The City of Austin has traditionally underfunded its parks, and this short fall has become egregious as parks have aged and public use has expanded. Until a few years ago Pease looked more like a bombing range than a park. Overuse by disc golfers impacted both vegetation and public use, with golfers displacing all but their kind. Trails were eroded and compacted, and many of the trees in the park were dead, dying, or damaged.

Read the rest of the story here: The park is back.

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Austin Historical Survey WIKI

The Austin Historical Survey Wiki is a new interactive tool for the City of Austin. The Wiki allows you to find and contribute information about historic buildings, sites, and landscapes of the past and present that tell the history of Austin. A historical survey is a way to research, identify, and share information. The Wiki is a living survey database where information from previous historical surveys can be accessed and new information can be contributed by Wiki users. The Austin Historical Survey Wiki is a resource for planning Austin’s future and sharing its history.

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City of Austin Program Allows you to Opt Out of Junk Mail and Phone Books

The City of Austin Resource Recovery Center has a number of programs to help promote wise use of resources. For example, their Re-Blend paint program, which takes unused paint, remixes it and offers it free back to citizens.

Registering via the site allows the city to act as your agent in preventing delivery of certain kinds of junk mail and phone books. More than 1,000 companies have agreed to partipate in the program and honor residents’ request to opt out of receiving these items.

Read more about these programs here: https://austin.catalogchoice.org/

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