An intermission

Quite some change from 1839 when Austin was a hamlet consisting of two families.

Quite some change from 1839 when Austin was a hamlet consisting of two families.

Hard to know how the reminiscences are going down–it’s a very silent audience out there in the blogosphere.

Either way, I thought best to throw in an intermission of sorts by mentioning  a very fine piece of journalism I came across, written by a nice young man I met at grad-school.

Ari Philips has a story in the Austin Chronicle–not an easy publication to get into–about the history of Waller Creek that lazily meanders through the heart of Austin.

Oh, great, please let me read about a creek, I hear you chaff.

But Ari manages to stir up a right old riveting narrative, throwing in some fine Austin history when discussing the location of the valley in which runs the 7-mile-long creek:

Shortly after the founding of the Republic of Texas, Lamar had sent a party of four men from Houston to locate a site for the new capital. On April 13, 1839, they reported to the president about the future site of Aus­tin, then called “Waterloo” – a hamlet containing only two families:

“The imagination of even the romantic will not be disappointed on viewing the valley of the Colo­rado, and the fertile and gracefully undulating woodlands and luxuriant prairies at a distance from it. The most skeptical will not doubt its healthiness, and the citizen’s bosom must swell with honest pride when, standing in the portico of the capital of this country, he looks abroad upon a region worthy only of being the home of the brave and the free.'”

As well as some philosophy to make one drum your fingers on one’s chin:

This all goes back to America’s obsession with the idea that there was wilderness here, and that it was ‘right’ once,” Anderson said. “The first question is, when was that? And the next question is, some of you want to live in the past and try to manage backwards – but how do we go forwards?”

Well indeed. Good work, Ari.

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