1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Austin (Texas)
AUSTIN, the capital of Texas, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Travis county, on the N. bank of the Colorado river, near the centre of the state and about 145 m. W.N.W. of Houston. Pop. (1890) 14,575; (1900) 22,258, of whom 5822 were negroes; (1910 census) 29,860. Austin is served by the Houston & Texas Central, the International & Great Northern, and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railways. The city is built on high bluffs 40-120 ft. above the river, which is spanned here by a bridge, built in 1874. The Texas State Capitol, a handsome building of red Texas granite, with a dome 318 ft. high, cost more than $3,500,000, and stands in a square in the centre of the city. It was built (1881–1888) by Chicago capitalists in exchange for a land grant of 3,000,000 acres. It is in the form of a Greek cross, with an extreme length of 556.5 ft. and an extreme width of 288.8 ft. Next to the National Capitol at Washington, it is the largest capitol building in the United States, and it is said to be one of the ten largest buildings in the world. Austin is the seat of the University of Texas (opened in 1883; co-educational); the medical department of the state university is at Galveston, and the departments in Austin are the college of arts, department of education, department of engineering, department of law, school of pharmacy, and school of nursing. The government of the university is vested in a board of eight regents nominated by the governor and appointed with the advice and consent of the state senate. At Austin are also state institutions and asylums for the insane, the blind, the coloured deaf and blind; the state school for the deaf and dumb; the state Confederate home; the Confederate woman’s home (1907; for wives and widows of Confederate soldiers and sailors), maintained by the Daughters of the Confederacy; St Mary’s Academy (Roman Catholic, under the supervision of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, founded 1875, chartered 1886); St Edward’s College (Roman Catholic, chartered 1885); the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Presbyterian Church, South), opened in 1902 by the Synod of Texas, and after 1905 partly controlled by the Synod of Arkansas; Tillotson College (a negro school under Congregational control, founded by the American Missionary Association, chartered in 1877, and opened in 1881), and Samuel Huston College (for negroes; Methodist Episcopal; opened in 1900 and named in honour of an Iowan benefactor). The principal newspapers of Austin are the Statesman (Democratic, established in 1871), a morning paper, and the Tribune (Democratic, established in 1891), an evening paper. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Society is published here. Austin is the principal trade and jobbing centre for central and western Texas, is an important market for livestock, cotton, grain and wool, and has extensive manufactories of flour, cotton-seed oil, leather goods, lumber and wooden ware; the value of the factory product in 1905 was $1,569,353, being 105.2% more than in 1900. The city owns and operates its water-supply system. In 1890–1893 one of the largest dams in the world, an immense structure of granite masonry, 1200 ft. long. 60-70 ft. high, and 18 to 66 ft. thick, was constructed across the Colorado river 2 m. above the city for the purpose of supplying water and power, creating a reservoir (Lake M‘Donald) about 30 m. long. Freshets in the spring of 1900, however, undermined the wall, and on the 7th of April the dam broke with a resulting loss of several lives and about $1,000,000 worth of property. The rebuilding of the dam was projected in 1907. Austin was first settled in 1838 and was named Waterloo, but in 1839, when it was chosen as the site of the capital of the Republic of Texas, it was renamed in honour of Stephen F. Austin, one of its founders. Under the influence of General Sam Houston the capital was for a time in 1842–1845 removed from Austin to Houston, but in 1845 an ordinance was passed making Austin the capital, and it remained the state capital after Texas entered the Union, although Huntsville and Tehuacana Springs in 1850 and Houston in 1872 attempted in popular elections to be chosen in its place. The first Anglo-American settlement in Texas, established on the Brazos river in 1823 by members of the Austin colony, was San Felipe de Austin now San Felipe. In 1909 Austin adopted a commission form of government.