Austin February 08, 2019
Here Are 5 Things They Don’t Teach You About Austin In School
Think you know everything about Austin? These fun facts might surprise you. From the origins of the Texas State Capital to the mysterious moon towers, Austin is full of unique history. Here are five things they don’t teach you about Austin in school.
1. Austin wouldn't have been Texas' capital if it weren't for one woman with a cannon.
That's right. We have Angelina Eberly to thank for our beautiful capital city. In 1842, Sam Houston secretly ordered his men to bring the Texas archives to Washington-on-the-Brazos. So what did Angelina Eberly do? She fired a cannon at them, of course. The sound alerted the city of theft and sparked the Archive War. Austin, as you can tell, won that fight.
2. The magnificent Treaty Oak is a strong survivor.
This impressive tree is the last of the Council Oaks, a peaceful grove that served as a meeting place for Comanche and Tonkawa tribes. It's rumored that Sam Houston rested under its branches and ruminated in his expulsion from the governor's office. In 1989, however, a crazed local poisoned this tree as a way of "casting a spell." Thankfully, the tree survived. Local arborists collected its acorns and have planted them across the state.
3. Austin's moon towers have a sinister history.
Austin is the only city left in the world that still has moonlight towers, and they've become part of our identity. You've probably seen the Zilker moon tower turn into a Christmas tree every winter. What some people may not know, however, is that Austin got these light fixtures in response to an evil serial killer known as The Servant Girl Annihilator. The authorities never caught the manman, but its rumored that he fled across the pond and became known as Jack The Ripper.
Want to learn more about these moon towers? Read our feature article
4. Why is Austin called the "city of the violet crown?"
You may have learned that Austin's original name was Waterloo, but do you know why we often call it the "city of the violet crown?" This poetic description was penned by none other than William Sydney Porter, most commonly known as O. Henry. If you read "The Gift Of The Magi" in school, then you know this author. He lived in Austin for a time and we wrote this memorable phrase in a letter to a loved one. You can visit his old home at 409 E 5th St.
5. If it weren't for construction, Austin would have never had the beloved bats.
We like to bemoan the ongoing construction in this city, but sometimes it has positive side effects. Austin's famous bat colony wouldn't have moved in if it weren't for a renovation project done to the South Congress Bridge. When the city widened the structure, they also added steel beams underneath. This created the perfect crevices for Mexican Free-tailed bats, and the rest is history!
Goodness knows we’re not called “weird” for nothing. What’s your favorite Austin story?