In Memorium: Walter E. Long
W ALTER E. LONG, FORMER MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL,
died this past November 8 at the age of eighty-seven. For decades
known as Austin's number one citizen, he made history with his legion of
activities in behalf of the state and his home city. But he also produced his-
tory, particularly with those splendid Christmas greetings in the form of
small pictorial books. They are now highly prized collectors' items, and the
older ones have become rather expensive.
Long's association with Austin began when he attended the University
of Texas, from whose law school he graduated with chancellor honors in
1914. After a few months in San Antonio as assistant manager of the Cham-
ber of Commerce, he returned to Austin as manager of the Austin Cham-
ber, a post he held until 1949. Over the years he won just about every honor
the city had to give. He was the father of city planning here, a task he be-
gan in 1915. In 1917 he began work on plans for the city manager govern-
ment in Austin. Both of his plans were adopted in 1926.
In 1915 Long organized the Colorado River Improvement Association,
credited with obtaining the first dams along the river in that Highland
Lakes chain that has made Austin something of a regional oasis. From the
CRIA came the inspiration for the Lower Colorado River Authority in the
In 1921 Long secured options on I,100oo acres of land, which made possi-
ble the later I32-acre purchase by the state to enlarge the original 40-acre
University of Texas campus. Once, when a plan to move the University
from Austin was under consideration, Long led the drive to keep it here.
In 1922 Long arranged a sale of bonds to construct the Stephen F. Austin
Hotel. Four years later he founded the Texas Legislative Service, whose
activities he supervised for forty years. His collection of legislative history
from 1925 to 1955 fills more than seventy filing cabinets.
When World War II impended, Long chaired a committee to persuade
the army to build Camp Swift at Bastrop. Later he wrote a history of the
Altogether Long wrote about forty books on the history of Austin and
central Texas. They include such titles as Stephen F. Austin's Legacies; Col-
orado River: Flood to Faucet; Dog Tales; B Hall of Texas; Wings Over
Austin I9 zz-62; Four Score Years and Maybe Ten; and These Humans.
Beginning in 1954 Long served a term as a member of the State Library
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/. Accessed February 8, 2016.