The neighborhoods in East Austin looked a lot different in the 1980s and 90s. Two childhood friends who grew up near 12th and Chicon reflect upon their youth, their struggles and the mistakes they made. They wonder if the crime of yesteryear in their community lead to its gentrification.
Huston-Tillotson University President Colette Pierce Burnette says as the neighborhood surrounding the historically black college expands, the footprint and impact of the university must, as well. HT was once two separate schools founded in the late 19th century, Samuel Huston College and Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute. In 1952, the schools combined.
Neighborhoods in East Austin are not immune to the difficult deliberations over housing density, affordability, and when a “tear-down” truly needs to be labeled historic. City council and the Historic Landmark Commission are challenged with weighing the rights of a homeowner and the desire to preserve Austin’s history.
Ebony Acres, a historically black neighborhood in East Austin, is at the crossroads of preservation and development. With some homes slated for demolition, some neighbors are trying to slow the tides of change.
A drug market intervention by the Austin Police Department in 2012 changed the activities previously common to 12th & Chicon. Despite the positives from this effort, there have been downsides too. Several of the long-standing businesses in the area are learning to adapt to the new 12th & Chicon.
The KUT newsroom wants to share stories from the people that live near 12th and Chicon and know it best. In doing this, we do feel we have to acknowledge that our news staff does not reflect the diversity of the community we’ll be covering. We have several objectives in this project, and one of…
Changes in the population of Austin, and the people now living here, are creating opportunities, but they’re also causing tension between the newcomers and the old-timers. The impact in East Austin can be seen through new construction as well as felt by residents.
In the summer of 1971, after years of trying to get families to integrate within different schools across Austin, the school district was forced to close Anderson High School. Students were rezoned to other high schools across the city, but it’s a move that still resonates within the community decades later.
The community surrounding the Mission Possible Church may be changing, but its role to serve people, all of them, remains steadfast and strong. Much like many of the area’s businesses and support centers.
Neighbors and business owners on 12th & Chicon’s Southeast Corner in East Austin know it’s just a matter of time before change will come and impact them. A few of these residents shared their insight and history with us.
Many of longtime neighbors have opted to sell their property and move away from East Austin, but Brian Mays, one of the owners of Sam’s BBQ, is staying put. Mays talks about how the community around him has changed over the past few years.