As the capital of Texas, Austin has a long and colorful history. The first residents were nomadic Native Americans who camped here as long ago as 9000 BC because of the area’s beauty, the clear Colorado River, and the wildlife. These are the very same things that attract people to Austin today. Originally called Waterloo, Austin has grown from a tiny town on the edge of the western frontier in 1839 into the capital city it is today. The University of Texas lent prestige, the state government erected buildings, the railroads came to town, and Congress Avenue—the “main street” of Texas—filled with thriving businesses.
When General Sam Houston's Texas army defeated Mexican General Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, the Republic of Texas was born. Austin, located on the banks of the Colorado River, was laid out as the capital city in 1839, and has remained the capital since statehood in 1846. Featured here in over 200 vintage photographs is the history of this independent city, and the people who made it what it is today. Land agent Stephen F. Austin brought the first Anglo settlers to the Spanish territory in 1821 and guided them until independence in 1836. Seen here are the images that capture the spirit of those original pioneers and their achievements, including the French Legation, the construction of the capitol, and the Texas governor's mansion, the oldest governor's residence west of the Mississippi. Also pictured are the familiar faces of Austin's long history, including Austin's first mayor, Edwin Waller, and past governor Alan Shivers.
Known to some as “Capitol City,” “River City,” and “Groover’s Paradise,” Austin is a diverse mix of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, artists, and both blue-collar and white-collar workers. The city is also home to the main campus of the University of Texas and several other universities. As Austin has grown to become more cosmopolitan, remnants of its small-town heritage have faded away. Austin’s uniqueness—both past and present —is reflected in its food, architecture, historic places, music, and businesses. Many of these beloved institutions have moved on into history. While some are far removed in the mists of time, others are more recent and generate fond memories of good times and vivid experiences. Images of America: Lost Austin explores, through the collections of the Austin History Center and others, where Austinites once shopped, ate, drank, and played.">