Northwest Hills

Northwest Hills, sometimes known as Far West after its major street, is a suburb in the northwest corner of Austin, Texas, in the United States.


During the majority of the 1950s and 1960s, David Barrow Sr. and Edward Barrow, together with their associates Chuck Stahl and David Barrow Jr., were responsible for much of Austin’s expansion in the flatlands and mountain regions. David Sr. was also largely responsible for the ultimate building of Texas State Highway Loop 1 (“Mopac”), which runs through the neighborhood on the east side. He assisted in the construction of Mopac to improve traffic flow for inhabitants in the city’s northwestern quarter. Prior to the formation of Mopac in 1966, most Northwest Hills residents had to go to Lamar Boulevard, or even as far as Interstate 35, to get to downtown, where the majority of them worked. He conducted studies that revealed that Austin’s northwestern population required better streets.

The Barrows’ initial properties in Northwest Hills were on Balcones Drive. They subsequently relocated to Mount Bonnell’s holdings, which overlook the Colorado River, and began developing properties there. They gradually developed lands farther into the hills, resulting in the current Northwest Hills. The Barrows had no intention of extending into Northwest Hills at first. They argued, however, that the city’s affluent growth was appropriate for northern Austin, and that if Austin ever built an area for that part of the population, it would be in steep terrains like Northwest Hills. The Barrows eventually began purchasing properties in the area by selecting a few pieces of land in sparsely populated areas, developing them, and then moving to more mountainous terrain. M.E. Hart, a Canadian merchant, and a man known as Capitan Knox held the majority of the lands in Northwest Hills. The Barrows struck a deal with Hart and agreed to acquire the lands from him on a rolling option, which means they would buy them in pieces at market value. Both gained by the agreement because the Barrows did not have the funds to purchase the properties upfront, and Hart sold the properties at an increasing market price when the values of the lands increased owing to neighborhood improvements. By the 1950s, the Barrows and their partners had amassed 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) of the 3,500 acres (1,400 ha) of developed land in northwest Austin.

The Barrows’ development of the grounds was regarded unusual at the time. They aimed to build a “new” town while drawing on existing developed areas in Austin’s main metropolitan region when designing the community. Balcones Drive, which runs through Northwest Hills, was designed to provide a contrast to the Colorado River in downtown. Far West Boulevard, which runs from east to west across Northwest Hills, was designed to be similar to Congress Avenue, Austin’s major boulevard. The Barrows’ proposals were particularly notable for its intentions to include a Missouri Pacific Railroad system adjacent to the area, as well as plans to have Far West Boulevard empty into Airport Boulevard, a major roadway in Austin’s southeastern region.


Northwest Hills is located in Austin’s northwestern outskirts. The neighborhood is sometimes referred to as Far West after its main roadway, Far West Boulevard, which runs from Mopac on the east and deep into the residential dwellings on the west until reaching the Ladera Norte street, adjacent to the Capital of Texas Highway.

The business sector between Mopac and Mesa Drive, which crosses with Far West Boulevard, is the neighborhood’s largest. Several local and global enterprises, retailers, restaurants, apartments, and business offices may be found on the boulevard. Northwest Hills’ most densely populated sections are the streets next to Far West Boulevard.

Architecture and social organization

The majority of the homes in Northwest Hills are built in the Colonial, Californian ranch, or Texas Tuscan villa styles. Many of the homes beyond Mesa Drive have a western Austin style: huge family homes with enormous garages, groomed yards, and old trees. The most typical style is brick and limestone. The community is largely middle and upper-middle class, and is often regarded as being “upscale”.

Residents are typically active in the community, and they have collaborated with the City of Austin on zoning problems to ensure that the area maintains high-quality living standards. Despite being largely residential for families, the region is also popular with college students due to the condominiums, townhouses, and apartment complexes. The majority of students live in the lower half of the area, on streets such as Greystone and Wood Hollow, which link to Far West Boulevard.


The song “Margaritaville” was written by Jimmy Buffett on Shadow Valley Drive in Northwest Hills. Northwest Hills United Methodist Church and St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic Church are two Christian churches in the area.

Since 1972, the Northwest Austin Civic Association (NWACA), which includes Northwest Hills residents, has hosted a Fourth of July parade. The parade, which attracts over 2,000 Austinites on average each year, includes a band, dance teams, antique automobiles, miniature pets, fire trucks, and the Ladies Lawn Chair Brigade, which consists of female locals dressed in red, white, and blue and holding aluminum chairs.

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