A Name Change Created Austin City

Because Texas is such a large state, some people travel hundreds and hundreds of miles just to reach Austin City, the Capital of that Lone Star State. Sometimes politically-minded students from far-away El Paso, TX travel to Austin. More than once, Austin City aided the brief shortening of a long distance relationship, a relationship that could have ended in a real waterloo.

Today some people refer to Austin City as "Silicon Hills."  They know that many major technology firms, such as Dell, IBM and Intel, have offices in Austin City. It's possible that those computer geeks know the complete history of the "Silicon Hills." The capital of Texas did not always have "Austin" in its name.

When the city was founded, way back in 1837, it was called Waterloo. In 1839 Waterloo became the capital of the Republic of Texas. The residents of Waterloo had thus reaped the benefits of a peace treaty made with the local Native Americans. Stephen Austin had negotiated that treaty. The residents of Waterloo therefore chose to rename their town, giving it the name Austin City.

Still peace with the Native people of the area did not provide the status of citizenship in the United States. The residents of Austin City wanted that status.  The Republic of Texas became the state of Texas in 1846. Austin City thus became the capital of the 28th U.S. state.

That new status for Texas did not offer instant benefits. In fact, Texas joined the Confederacy during the Civil War. In the latter part of the 19th Century, a series of floods plagued the area around Austin City. The Texans did without federal assistance until the 1930's.  Then Texas's voice spoke loudly in the halls of the U.S. Congress.

A congressman named Lyndon Baines Johnson sought funding for dams along the river that passed through Austin City. The Congress agreed to provide money for 7 dams and reservoirs. The people of Austin finally had a solution to their flood-control problem, and Lyndon Johnson had taken a big step towards the U.S. Presidency.

On August 1, 1966 President Lyndon Johnson watched the TV news, and he worried again about the residents of Austin. On that day Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the tower at the University of Texas, and he shot 11 people on the ground. By the time that the authorities had captured Whitman, he had killed 14 people, and he had brought Austin an unwanted notoriety.

Despite that unneeded notoriety, Austin City continued to draw plenty of tourists. Both tourists and musicians continued to stay in the Austin hotels. Both tourists and musicians appreciated the location of Texas' State Capital. They liked to stay in Austin City, because it was close to many larger Texas cities.

Guests at any of the Austin hotels know that they are only 192 miles south of Dallas; they are just 162 miles northwest of Houston; and they are a mere 79 miles north of San Antonio, the site of the Alamo.  In addition, those guests realize what lies just 151 miles beyond San Antonio. There they will find a border crossing, a spot where tourists can drive or walk into Mexico.

Many of the visitors to Austin City have made Austin a rest stop on the way to Mexico. Those visitors enjoy the strong influence of the Mexican and western cultures, both of which can be seen, heard and tasted in Austin City. In the Capital of Texas the Mexican and western cultures have become wonderfully combined, creating Austin's unique atmosphere.

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