Neighborhood Profile: Bouldin Creek

bouldin map jpg

  • Schools: Becker Elementary, Travis Heights Elementary, Fulmore Middle School, Travis High School
  • Year Homes Built: 1920s – 1980s
  • Average List Price: $846,700   (July 2014)
  • Nearby Restaurants: Bouldin Creek Cafe, Torchy’s Tacos, Sway, La Mexicana Bakery, Elizabeth Street Cafe, Sugar Mama’s Bakery
  • Nearby Shopping: South Congress & South Lamar shopping
  • Nearby Attractions & Amenities: Auditorium Shores, Butler Park, Lady Bird Lake

Bouldin Creek is one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods and a favorite among Austinites looking for a mix of vibrant location and cultural diversity. Located on the edge of Austin’s earliest urban boundaries, the Bouldin Creek neighborhood was one of the city’s first suburbs and features a wide variety of homes ranging from century-old historic structures to new construction that showcases cutting-edge residential design.

Bordered on the north by Barton Springs Road and on the south by Oltorf Street, Bouldin Creek is in the heart of South Austin and provides convenient access to downtown, Zilker Park and Auditorium Shores. The area also offers prime access to three of Austin’s most popular commercial corridors: South Congress on its eastern border, South Lamar Boulevard to the west, and South First Street.

Given its central location, it is hard to imagine that this area was once considered quite remote. The areas that now comprise Bouldin Creek were originally farmland owned by James Swisher and James Bouldin. The Texas School for the Deaf opened in the area in 1857, in the same spot it still occupies.

In 1877, John Milton Swisher took advantage of the first bridge across the Colorado River to subdivide a portion of his family’s land along the old San Antonio Road (today’s South First Street) into a residential area. His legacy can still be seen in the street names—Milton, Monroe, James, Annie, Nellie, Elizabeth, Mary, Johanna, Eva and Newton—which were taken from Swisher’s family and neighbors. The Bouldin family subdivided residential tracts in what is now the western part of the area. In 1895, the city installed its first public lighting system, the Moonlight Towers, and one of the original 31 towers can still be seen at the corner of South First and Monroe.

After the Civil War, a number of Bouldin’s now-freed slaves populated the area directly south of the school in what was then called the Brackenridge neighborhood, and the area remained almost entirely African-American until the 1940s. This history can still be seen in the form of such historic churches as St. Annie African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church (1711 Newton) and the nearby Goodwill Baptist Church (1700 Newton).

Streetcar lines were finally extended to South Austin in 1910, and during the 1920s and ‘30s, Bouldin Creek began to rapidly develop as permanent bridges and the flood control dam projects made crossing the Colorado River far simpler than in earlier decades. During this time, South First Street became a commercial hub featuring grocery stores and other businesses. In the 1940s, the area began its transition into a heavily Mexican-American area, which continued into the 21st century and can be seen in long-time South First businesses such as Cantu’s Mexican Heiberia & Imports and La Mexicana Bakery.

Bouldin Creek was considered less affluent than such nearby areas as Travis Heights and Barton Hills, but in the last two decades, the neighborhood has undergone tremendous change as many of the older, smaller homes have been remodeled and frequently enlarged or replaced by new construction. However, there is an active neighborhood effort to maintain the historic integrity and keep Bouldin Creek both economically diverse and in touch with its past. The result is an eclectic blend of single family homes, apartments and commercial buildings, and a walk or drive through the area reveals everything from small early 20th century bungalows to ultra-modern single and multi-family residences. School children in the neighborhood generally attend Becker Elementary (located on the site of the Bouldin family’s historic residence), though some areas in the eastern part attend Travis Heights Elementary. Older students are zoned to Fulmore Middle School and Travis High School.

View Blairfield Realty’s current listing in Bouldin and check back often for new listings!

Photo sources: legalmisssunshine.com, messynessychic.com, gotime.com

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