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.

Share

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.

Share

Woodlawn begins to become planned Enfield

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.

On June 14, 1914, a plat for Enfield A, “a subdivision by R. Niles Graham et al of Part of Outlots 6, 7, and 8 in Division Z of the City of Austin, Travis County, Texas” was made official.  The plat shows a neighborhood with a street plan that remains today. The area, with 65 planned lots, was bordered on the north by Lorrain St. and Windsor Rd., and on the south by Parkway along Shoal Creek.  The west boundary was at W. 12th St; the east boundary was Pease Park.  (Gov. and Mrs. Pease deeded land for the park to the City in 1875.)  The plat was signed by R. Niles Graham, J. M. (Julie) Pease, Margaret G. Crusemann, and Paul Crusemann.  A statement of June 20, 1914 on the map makes clear that the land belonged to those named, and that a sub-division was intended.

Selling of lots and home building did not begin until roads and sewers were built and lots were cleared in 1915.  A literally “thorny” issue was removal of native cactus (after all, St. Augustine grass is a tropical Florida  import).  The issue was thorny, however, because the “cactus pickers” went on strike.  There is no record of how much rock and caliche also had to be moved.  The City Engineer approved subdivision plans and was stated willingness in July 1915 to recommend them to City Council.

Enfield A is the first neighborhood in Austin built for automobiles and paved with “tarvia.”  (Hyde Park, developed just before Enfield, was designed for streetcars.)  Hugo F. Kuehne, who had founded the UT Architecture Department, was the consulting architect of Enfield.  His plan followed principles of the fashionable American “City Beautiful” movement, which emphasized the natural beauty of topography with curving streets and saved trees, using water features, and setting homes well back from on large lots.  Strict deed restrictions, including minimum amounts to be spent on building homes, insured that Enfield would be beautiful.

 

Share

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.

Share

FROM WOODLAWN TO ENFIELD – A BRIEF HISTORY

Image

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.

Share

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.

Share

Walter Benson, Jr.

Walter Benson, Jr. has been a resident of Old Enfield since the 50s. We recently learned he has decided to relocate. Like so many long-time residents, he has an interesting history, including a great golfing career.

We thought you’d like to read a bit about him:

The native austinite graduated from Austin High School and after World War II, completed two degrees at The University of Texas, a Bachelors in Business Administration in 1946 and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering in 1948.

In between high school and graduation from the University, Benson worked in Austin and then served in the United States Army Air Core. He was as an Aviation Cadet from November 1941 to December 1942 then became a training officer in 1943 and moved on to Squadron Communications Officer in the Eighth Air Force in 1943 and achieved the rank of Captain in the United States Army in May of 1944.

Read the complete article on Golf Austin.

Share