Austin hasn’t always been known as Austin. And once you find out what the town’s name used to be, you’ll understand why there are quite a few local businesses that use the original name. If you’d prefer to read about Waterloo, the script can be found below the video.
Greetings! I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. Austin has not always been the name of this fair city. We’re going to talk about the city’s original name on this episode of Discover Austin.
Austin has a great history – but the city wasn’t always named Austin. When Austin was originally settled, it was known as Waterloo. In 1835, Jacob Harrell and his family erected a tent on the north bank of the Colorado River approximately at the site of the current-day Congress Avenue bridge. He soon built a more permanent home and several other families joined creating a small settlement. After Mirabeau B. Lamar became president of the Republic of Texas in 1838, the Congress authorized him to move the capital as many weren’t fond of Houston, which was the capital at the time. A commission was formed to find a new location and Lamar suggested they consider Waterloo, which he had previously visited during a hunting expedition. Ultimately, of course, the commission selected Waterloo and in early 1839 the Republic acquired over 7,700 acres of land along the Colorado River, including Waterloo. In March of that year, Lamar renamed it Austin in honor of the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin. The city was chartered by Texas with the name of Austin and was officially incorporated on December 27, 1839. History did not record why the name Waterloo was chosen. Of course, that name is most recognized as the site of Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat in 1815. It makes sense why Lamar would want the name changed from that to something more Texan. Especially when you find out that the B. of Lamar’s middle name was for Bonaparte. Maybe he just didn’t want to have any association with the name of Waterloo.
The name Waterloo lives on all across the city. While Waterloo Records and Waterloo Ice House are some of the most notable, you’ll find Waterloo something all over the city. There’s Waterloo Park, Waterloo Adventures, Waterloo Sparkling Water, Waterloo Guitars, and, well, I think you get the picture.
So that’s how Waterloo became Austin. I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. Thanks for joining me for this episode of Discover Waterloo. And remember, when you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Central Texas, I’m ready to help.