I found this picture in the master plan for the new Seaholm development.
It’s interesting to me because it shows the Austin I remember and not the one that I always hear people waxing nostalgic about. I visited Austin in the late 80s and early 90s and moved here in 1996. I remember it as lots of empty lots that you had to drive past to get to the beautiful places. If it wasn’t developed it was a weed filled lot or someone’s ranch that had been stripped of trees. You can see that downtown is mostly just one story buildings and abandoned lots in the picture.
Has there been a lot of development in West Austin over the aquifer that has been environmentally destructive? Absolutely. But a lot of that nature dates only as far back as the 1980s and is a serious tribute to the environmental movement that emerged around that time. In the 70’s west Austin held a lot of ranch land as you can see in the pictures on this site.
There’s a lot of nostalgia in this town for a past that never was.