Native Austin folks like me are mesmerized by the changes in East Austin over the last decade. The number of new homes replacing the old shotgun shacks that lined the streets is hard to believe. 21st Century gentrification has transformed a poor, often crime riddled neighborhood into a landscape of smart growth, progressive minded development. Sitting over Soul Food down at Roland’s Cafe, we decided to find out a little history. Neck bones or oxtails and gravy are my favorite up at Rolands…but the menu is nap inducing heaven for an East Temple, cross the tracks kid like me. I define East Austin primarily as the area South of MLK, North of S. 1st Street, West of Airport BLVD, and EAST of Downtown.
It turns out the Koch Proposal of 1928 codified East Austin as a “Negro District” and prevented and African Americans from purchasing homes anywhere else in the city. East Austin saw no real diversity until after the Civil Rights era of the early 70’s when low income Hispanic families began to migrate here. Now, Austin’s booming tax rate, the population explosion, and escalating appraisals have tossed many families from their homes as developers and speculators invade. There are big profits to be made in a market gone mad. Money flows in from smaller banks in Texas, California, Japan, and China.
For many, the growth and assimilation of East Austin into the downtown landscape is dejecting. Despite the disdain for the inevitable, many residents are pleased with the progress and diversity. The sweeping changes continue to transform our city.
If you haven’t been..go..I have included a search for availability in the area if you want to get your Hipster On… Players Welcome
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(all data current as of 6/19/2019)
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