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  Wikipedia: Austin, Texas

Wikipedia: Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Texas state capitol
(larger version)

Austin is the capital of the state of Texas, within the United States of America. With a year 2000 population of 656,562 people (metro area population of over 1 million people), Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas (behind Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio), and the 16th largest in the U.S. Austin is the county seat of Travis County and is situated in Central Texas.

Austin was founded in 1835 and was first named Waterloo. In 1838, Mirabeau B. Lamar renamed the city in honor of Stephen F. Austin. Its original name is referenced in establishments such as Waterloo Ice House and Waterloo Records.

Austin is also the home of the University of Texas at Austin, aka "UT", the "flagship campus" of The University of Texas System. Other institutions of higher learning include Austin Community College, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson College and St. Edwards University.

Austin has a heady mix of educators and their students, politicians and lobbyists. It is also the self-proclaimed "live music capital of the world", with a vibrant live music scene centered around many clubs on 6th Street and a yearly film/music/multimedia festival known as "South by Southwest". Austin City Limits, the longest-running concert music program on American television, is videotaped on the University of Texas campus.

Austin's biggest employers include the State of Texas, The University of Texas, Dell Computer, Motorola, and IBM. Other high-tech companies headquartered in Austin include Origin Systems and National Instruments, the latter ranking among Fortune's 100 Best Employers. The proliferation of technology companies have led to the region's nickname of the "Silicon Hills" and have spurred rapid development that has greatly expaned the city to the north and south.

The University of Texas has an outstanding Radio, Television, and Film (RTF) department and, partly because of this, Austin has been the location of a number of movies, including Secondhand Lions, Waking Life, Spy Kids, Dazed and Confused, Office Space, and Slacker. Austin is home to several famous directors such as Robert Rodriguez. Austin hosts the annual Austin Film Festival as well as the South by Southwest Festival which draw films of many different types from all over the world.

Austin is situated on the Colorado River, with three lakes within the city limits: Town Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis. The city is also situated on the Balcones Fault, which runs the same route as Interstate Highway 35, Austin's main north-south artery. The eastern part of the city is flat while the western part and western suburbs consist of scenic rolling hills. Because the hills to the west are primarily rock with a thin covering of topsoil, the city is subjected to frequent flash flooding from the excessive runoff caused by thunderstorms. To help control this runoff and to generate hydroelectric power, the Lower Colorado River Authority operates a series of dams which form the Texas Highland Lakes. The lakes also provide venues for boating, swimming and other forms of recreation within several parks located on the lake shores.

Among the professional sports teams in Austin are the Austin Ice Bats of the Central Hockey League and the Austin Wranglers of the Arena Football League.

Austin is served by the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Residents of Austin are called "Austinites".

Government

Austin is administered by a city council of seven members, each of them elected by the entire city, and by an elected mayor. Under a tradition known as the "gentleman's agreement" which has existed since the 1970s, one of the council seats is contested only by an African-American while another council seat is contested only by a Hispanic. Political parties are not a major influence on city politics, and the main political actors within Austin are interest groups like the pro-environmental Save Our Springs Alliance.

The political controversy that dominated the 1990s was the conflict between environmentalists strong in the city center and advocates of more urban growth who tend to live in the outlying areas. This conflict has been less heated in the last several years as the idea of smart growth has become popular.

History

Before the arrival of European settlers, the area around present-day Austin was inhabited for several hundred years by a mixture of Tonkawa, Commanche, and Lipan Apache Indians, who fished and hunted along the creeks, including present-day Barton Springs.

In the late 1700s the Spanish set up temporary missions in the area.

The first Anglo settlers arrived in the area in the 1830s when Texas was still part of Mexico. They founded the village of Waterloo along the banks of the Colorado River. According to local folklore, Stephen F. Austin, the "father of Texas", negotiated a peace treaty with the local Indians at the site of the present day Treaty Oak after several settlers were killed in raids.

In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the new Republic of Texas, and the town was renamed Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas."

A grid plan for the city streets was surveyed by Judge Edwin Waller (after whom Waller Creek was named). The grid survives nearly intact as the streets of present-day downtown Austin. The north-south streets of the grid were named for the rivers of Texas, following an east-west progression from Red River Street to Rio Grande Street. The exception was the central thoroughfare Congress Avenue,which leads up from the river to the foot of the hill where the new Texas State Capitol was to be constructed.

The north-south streets of the grid followed a progression uphill from the river and were named after trees native to the region, with Pecan Street as the main east-west thoroughfare. The east-west streets were later renamed in a numbered progression, with Pecan Street becoming Sixth Street. The original tree-named streets survive in nostalgic names, including Pecan Street, which is the name of a locally produced beer.

In October, the entire government of the Republic of Texas arrived by oxcart from Houston. By the next January, the population of the town was 839 people.

After Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845, two statewide elections were held that attempted to move the capital elsewhere, but Austin remained the capital.

In September 1881, the city schools admitted their first classes. That same year, the first institution of higher learning, the forerunner of Huston-Tillotson College, opened as the Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute.

The Texas State Capitol was completed in 1888 on the site specified in the 1839 plan. At the time it was billed as the "Seventh largest building in the world."

In 1893, the Great Granite Dam on the Colorado River was constructed, stabilizing the river's flow and providing hydroelectric power.

In the 1930s, the original dam was replaced by a series of seven dams built by the federal government which created the string of reservoirs that now define the river's course through Austin. Lyndon Baines Johnson, then a member of the House of Representatives, was instrumental in getting the funding authorized for these dams.

In August 1, 1966, Austin was terrorized by Charles Whitman who shot and killed 16 people with a high-powered rifle from the UT Main Building. The event is considered the most traumatic event in the city's history.

In the 1970s, Austin became a refuge a group of Country and Western musicians and songwriters seeking to escape the corporate industry domination of Nashville. The most well-known artist in this group was Willie Nelson, who became an icon for the local "alternate music industry." In the following years, Austin gained a reputation as a place where struggling musicians could come and launch their careers in informal live venues in front of receptive audiences.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the city experienced a tremendous boom in development that temporarily halted with the Savings and Loan collapse in the late 1980s. The growth led to an ongoing series of fierce political battles that pitted preservationists against developers. In particular the preservation of Barton Springs, and by extension the Edwards Aquifer, became an issue which defined the themes of the larger battles.

In the 1990s, the boom resumed with the influx and growth of a large technology industry. Initially the technology industry was centered around larger established companies such as IBM, but in the late 1990s, Austin gained the additional reputuation of being a center of the Dot-com boom.

In 2000, Austin became the center of an intense media focus as the headquarters of presidential candidate and Texas Governor George W. Bush. Ironically the headquarters of this main opponent, Al Gore, were in Nashville, thus recreating the old Country Music rivalry between the two cities.

Geography

Austin is located at 3016'23" North, 9744'42" West (30.2731, -97.7450).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 669.3 km² (258.4 mi²). 651.4 km² (251.5 mi²) of it is land and 17.9 km² (6.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.67% water.

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 656,562 people, 265,649 households, and 141,590 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,007.9/km² (2,610.4/mi²). There are 276,842 housing units at an average density of 425.0/km² (1,100.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 65.36% White, 10.05% African American, 0.59% Native American, 4.72% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 16.23% from other races, and 2.99% from two or more races. 30.55% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 265,649 households out of which 26.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% are married couples living together, 10.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 46.7% are non-families. 32.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 4.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.40 and the average family size is 3.14.

In the city the population is spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 37.1% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 105.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 105.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $42,689, and the median income for a family is $54,091. Males have a median income of $35,545 versus $30,046 for females. The per capita income for the city is $24,163. 14.4% of the population and 9.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 16.5% are under the age of 18 and 8.7% are 65 or older.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona