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.

 

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