Our Austin Story
How our historic squares and Congress Avenue shaped downtown Austin
Everyone should know the fascinating story of Austin’s evolution. In collaboration with the Parks Department and various preservation organizations, we put together a comprehensive look at several of Austin’s most historic public spaces.
Our Austin Story focuses on the heritage of Austin’s four historic squares (Brush, Republic, Wooldridge and Hamilton) and Congress Avenue. It documents the stories of the people and places who shaped these important civic spaces and offers an important framework for celebrating Austin’s diverse heritage.
Currently, we’re working to make our heritage more visible throughout downtown – from installing interpretive signs in Republic and Wooldridge Squares, to digital tours, to putting together events and programs that celebrate Our Austin Story.
Historic Downtown Squares
Austin’s historic squares date to the earliest days of our city. In his 1839 Plan, Edwin Waller reserved four city blocks as civic squares, three of which still remain – Brush, Republic and Wooldridge. Each of these historically important squares has a very distinct legacy.
Edwin Waller platted Austin with Congress Avenue as the central axis. In Waller’s plan, Congress Avenue was (and still is) the geographic and cultural center of Austin. Understanding the avenue's heritage helps us interpret the role it has played and plan for its future.
Our Austin Story connects the present to the past, shedding light on why Austin is such an incredible place. This Executive Summary lays out the reasons we wanted to tell Our Austin Story and the project's implications and stakeholders.Read More⟶
Our Austin Story
Brush Square, Republic Square, Wooldridge Square, and Congress Avenue were Austin’s original public spaces. Since the 1800s, events held there have shaped our city’s unique culture and politics. Read all about this hidden history through Our Austin Story, a collection of stories of downtown’s public spaces.