The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960 Page: 429
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The City of Austin on the Eve of the Civil War
Travis County was primarily a farming rather than a ranching
country in 1860. A county census prepared by United States
Assistant Marshal Samuel J. Wood listed three rancheros, forty-six
stock raisers, three shepherds, and four herders. The same census
listed 470 farmers. Of the total of 1,297,313 acres in Travis County,
47,220 were listed as improved land, contrasting with 1,250,093
listed as unimproved.2
John' Marshall, dynamic editor of the Texas State Gazette, was
optimistic about the future of Austin and Travis County. In
1860, he stated, "In the next two or three years Austin will be in
five days railroad connection with New York City."3 He expected
the population of Austin to jump by a thousand within a few
years with railroad connections to El Paso, Houston, and San
Antonio. The war postponed the dream.
During the Civil War, Austin's city limits, as amended in an
act of the legislature of February 14, 1852, extended from the
Colorado River along West Avenue to North Avenue (Fifteenth
Street), along North Avenue to Shoal Creek, up Shoal Creek
to Magnolia Street (Nineteenth Street), thence along Magnolia
Street to East Avenue, with an extension to include the City
Cemetery, thence down East Avenue to Water Street (First
Street), west on Water Street to Waller Creek, thence down
Waller Creek to the Colorado River.4 Only a few houses were
located north of North Avenue, and several homes were built on
the hills across the Colorado River.
On August 7, 1860, an ordinance was approved to have 300 to
500 gas burners installed in Austin by January 1, 1862, and in
1861 workers began to lay down supply pipe and install burners
to light the city with gas.5
The east-west streets were named for trees, and the north-south
streets carried, and still carry, the names of rivers of Texas, with
the exception of Congress Avenue. Starting from the Colorado
River, the east-west streets were Water (First), Live Oak (Sec-
ond), Cypress (Third), Cedar (Fourth), Pine (Fifth), Pecan
41bid., April 24, 1852, p. 286.
5Southern Intelligencer, May 8, 1861, p. 2.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960, periodical, 1960; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/m1/533/: accessed March 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.