Neighborhood Spotlight: Hyde Park

Hyde Park has a history that traces back to 1891 and is considered to be Austin’s first suburb. Many of the homes reflect the trends and patterns that prevailed in the late 1890s and 1935 which is the time period many of the lots were developed. Bungalows are the most common house type followed by examples of the stylistic influences of the Queen Anne and Tudor Revival styles.

Hyde Park prides itself on being genuinely Austin. It emanates a small-town charm with its many shops and markets and historic homes. Its residents are commonly considered health-conscious and eco-friendly. There is a large student population due to the close proximity to campus though the majority of the students here are upperclassmen. Hyde Park also houses many young families and singles. The area is wildly dog-friendly. There is a strong sense of community in Hyde Park.

Hyde Park residents appear to love the holidays. Every winter many of the residents adorn their homes with Christmas lights. People from all over the city tour the neighborhood’s streets to see the jaw-dropping displays.

The community contains two historic districts the Hyde Park Historic District and the Shadow Lawn Historic District and several other individual historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hancock Park is home to Texas’ oldest golf course Hancock Golf Course which was created in 1899. It is a public nine-hole golf course at one edge of Hyde Park.

Residents commonly walk and run through the neighborhood often with dogs. Shipe Park right in the heart of Hyde Park is a popular hangout for dog-loving locals. It has a small swimming pool playground basketball court and large open grassy areas.

According to data from the Elisabet Ney Museum Hyde Park was initially marketed to Austin’s elite in the 1890s with moderate success. The first houses built in the neighborhood were stylistic examples of late 19th-century domestic architecture. Many of them such as the Oliphant-Walker House were built in the Queen Anne style by locally prominent citizens. Noted sculptress Elisabet Ney was among the first to buy property in the area which is now home to the Elisabet Ney Museum.

By the late 1890s and early 1900s the suburb was marketed as an ideal place for the “working man or woman” to invest his or her earnings by purchasing a lot and building a residence.  Affordability became the key aspect of the area. Hyde Park’s architectural character shifted to smaller more modest frame houses and bungalows.

While steady construction of houses characterized the area through the early 1900s Hyde Park’s greatest building boom occurred between 1924 and 1935. Shipe Park was dedicated in 1928. The oldest houses in Hyde Park are located near the State Hospital or along the former streetcar route on 40th Street. Later as promotional emphasis shifted to a different socioeconomic group more modest dwellings were constructed in areas somewhat removed from the streetcar line.

Today house hunters are attracted to Hyde Park’s inviting walkability cozy small-town charm and tree-shaded streets. Getting to Downtown requires a quick ride via bike or public transit. Multiple MetroBus lines service the community making it a great option for avoiding car traffic on the highways.

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