Hyde Park

Hyde Park is an Austin neighborhood and historic district. Hyde Park is located in Central Austin and is bounded to the south by 38th Street, to the north by 45th Street, to the east by Duval Street, and to the west by Guadalupe Street. It is located just north of the University of Texas and borders the Hancock and North Loop neighborhoods.

Hyde Park was established in 1891 and is considered Austin’s first suburb.

Monroe M. Shipe designed the neighborhood in 1891 as a “White Only” streetcar suburb with a big artificial lake, but it has since become one of the city’s most densely populated regions.

In 1990, a portion of the area was designated as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

History

For long of the nineteenth century, the area presently known as Hyde Park was largely rural in character, located around twenty blocks from Austin’s original town site. From 1875 to 1884, the State Fair of Texas was hosted in the eastern parts of Hyde Park before being relocated to Dallas. The curved section of 39th Street between Avenue F and Duval Street still reflects a piece of the State Fair’s horseracing circuit.

Hyde Park, established in 1891 by the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Land and Town Company, was advertised by Monroe Martin Shipe as a predominantly white, affluent suburb with huge, beautiful mansions distinct from the city’s racially integrated neighborhoods.

Hyde Park was advertised as “free from nuisances and a disagreeable class of people, with proper regulations in place to protect against undesirable tenants.” The construction of an electric streetcar line was critical to the growth of the suburb. Shipe’s Austin Rapid Transit Railway Company built its initial line on Congress Avenue, west on Sixth Street, and north on Rio Grande Street and Old Georgetown Road (now Guadalupe Street) to Hyde Park after the City Council granted him a concession in 1890.

In the 1890s, Shipe promoted Hyde Park to Austin’s aristocracy, and he had moderate success. The first residences built in the neighborhood were late-nineteenth-century domestic architecture specimens. Many of them, including the Oliphant-Walker House, were erected in the Queen Anne style by notable locals. Sculptress Elisabet Ney was among the first to purchase property in the area, which was widely publicized as proof that Hyde Park was appealing to Austin’s most skilled and famous inhabitants. Ney created Formosa, a modest castle-style studio in northwest Hyde Park that currently houses the Elisabet Ney Museum.

However, by the late 1890s and early 1900s, the tone of Hyde Park’s advertisements had begun to shift. The suburb was no longer promoted as a wealthy residential area; instead, it was described as an appropriate site for the “working man or woman” to invest his or her money by purchasing a lot and building a home. Affordability became the primary phrase in these advertising. The architectural nature of Hyde Park transitioned to smaller, more basic frame houses and bungalows. While housing construction was consistent during the early 1900s, Hyde Park’s greatest building boom came between 1924 and 1935. Shipe Park was established in 1928.

The forms and dates of construction of domestic structures reveal historical growth patterns in Hyde Park. The oldest houses are near the State Hospital or along 40th Street’s former streetcar line. Later, as the promotional emphasis turned to a different socioeconomic category, more humble residences were built in regions away from the streetcar route.

Today, Hyde Park is largely made up of refurbished bungalow-style homes and modern duplex-style residences, many of which have vivid colors and unusual d├ęcor, thanks in part to people upholding the city’s informal “Keep Austin Weird” tagline. Hyde Park’s street signs are all related to its historical identity. Many “Austinites” believe Hyde Park to be Austin’s most culturally diverse neighborhood.

Trends in the Real Estate and Housing Markets

Residential properties are the most common property type in Hyde Park, accounting for around 95 percent of the neighborhood’s built environment. The majority of the parcels in the area were developed between the late 1890s and 1935. Houses constructed during that time period reflect the architectural interests, trends, and patterns prevalent in Austin at the time. Bungalows are the most popular dwelling type, followed by examples of Queen Anne and Tudor Revival aesthetic influences.

Hyde Park has experienced a resurgence as Austin has grown. The median home price increased by approximately $70,000 between 2001 and 2007, reaching $320,000. Despite the 2008-2009 housing market meltdown, home values have recovered, and as of July 2013, the median home price was $350,000, with some properties selling for more than $1.5 million.

Shipe Park is a 1.75-acre (7,100-m2) park in Hyde Park. Shipe Park contains two unlighted basketball courts, one multipurpose court, two picnic tables, one playground, a 444 square yard community swimming pool, two lighted tennis courts, and indoor restrooms.

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