There’s more than meets the eye to Austin, Texas. You may have seen “Keep Austin Weird,” our slogan that encourages folks to shop at local businesses, but we also mean it on a lot of different levels.
To help illustrate this fact, here are nine things that you may not know about Austin, Texas…
9. Austin has been inhabited since at least 9200 B.C.
The Clovis culture, a prehistoric Paleo-Indian culture named for its stone tools, inhabited the same land that we walk upon today. Of course, this was even way before the days that the city of Waterloo preceded the city of Austin, but those early inhabitants during the late Pleistocene era also got to hang out with real dire wolves.
8. Austin Had One of The World’s First Recorded Serial Killers
“Could Not More Appall the Good People of the Capital City,” read the headlines. No that’s not about Jack the Ripper. Approximately three years before him (from 1884-1885), Austin was home to one of the first recorded serial killers, The Servant Girl Annihilator. Of course, there also exists the theory that this killer and Jack the Ripper were one and the same, making for some fascinating, albeit tragic and sad history.
7. Austin Sits On A Fault Line
The Balcones Fault runs north and south through the middle of Austin. The land to the east of the fault is flat gulf coastal plain. The land to the west of the Balcones fault features steep hills at the eastern edge of the Texas hill country. If you’re a geology nerd, Austin is the place to soak up these everyday reminders of our nation’s growth.
6. Austin Is The Bat Capital Of The U.S.
If you fear bats, maybe you shouldn’t move to Austin. These “flying rodents” decimate nearly 20,000 pounds of insects a year, which we’re mighty grateful for. During the summer months, make sure to look out for bats around 9 p.m. as they descend from Congress Avenue’s bridge in search of mosquitos and other flying nuisances that we’d rather not keep around. And don’t miss our annual Batfest on Congress! It’s always a good time.
5. Austin Is One Of The World’s Premiere Tech Hubs
Dell, Motorola, Samsung, Apple, Facebook, and so many other tech companies have headquarters or large offices in Austin to create Silicon Hills. Just like San Francisco, many startups are bootstrapping their way into getting an office right along side the big boys, tapping into Austin’s deep entrepreneurial resources and discovering a community like no other.
4. Austin Is Way Greener Than Most Of Texas
From the outside, onlookers may think Austin is much like the rest of Texas: A dusty, brown, cement-covered wasteland. But nope! There’s no saguaro cactus here. Instead, the Colorado River rolls right through the middle of town, so naturally we dammed it up and turned it into a series of lakes. There are numerous creeks throughout the area because of that, and any Austinite can tell you that the weather is all over the place. We’ve also got more nature trails than you (or your dog) will known what to do with.
3. Book Nerds, Rejoice! We Have A Literary Museum
For the best in exhibits, look no further than the Harry Ransom Center. This literary trove has exhibits like Houdini movie posters, letters by Edgar Allen Poe, Robert De Niro make-up stills, and even Jack Kerouac’s famous notebooks! If you love the written word, you owe it to yourself to visit Austin’s literature museum. We also have a wide variety of bookstores that can appeal to just about any type of reader.
2. Sometimes, Austin Really Sucks For Allergy Sufferers
Achoo! Austin is one of the top places for allergy sufferers, most notably as one of the pollen capitals of the US. During the fall, from mid-August to early November, ragweed and other varieties of weeds predominate. In the winter months, cedar fever is sure to give you the sniffles from December to February. And finally, the spring offers sneeze-worthy pollinates like elm, pecan, and ash. This just leaves the intense heat of summer to kill off the grass. If you’re sensitive, July and early-August is your time to frolic. You can also try out some of these resident-tested remedies to help clear your head.
1. We Have A Huge Freakin’ Castle
In the heart of hill country, better known to us as Austin’s big back yard, lies Falkenstein Castle. This majestic structure is roughly 175,000 square feet, and it sits on a 113-acre plot of land. The building—ahem, estate—makes a compelling argument for the common refrain that everything is bigger in Texas.
Featured photo by Flickr user Bruce Turner, Creative Commons licensed.