The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

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Wiki in East Austin and North University

Testing and Development in East Austin

The Austin Historical Survey Project has been focusing on development and testing of the Wiki in East Austin. A team comprised of faculty and graduate students have been working with neighborhoods and community organizations interested in trying out the Wiki. This work is funded through a federal Preserve America grant.

About East Austin

East Austin was historically known as the neighborhoods east of East Avenue, now Interstate Highway-35. Its early history included establishment of an African American community, as well as communities of Swedish and German descent. Red-lining of neighborhoods in East Austin and policies in the City of Austin's 1928 Plan actively reinforced segregation. African Americans and other minority populations were pushed from established communities to the Eastside. Industrial uses were zoned for the area in the 1928 plan, which greatly impacted East Austin's communities and development patterns. In the 1930s and '40s, the population of Mexican Americans south of East 11th Avenue increased substantially. In recent years, gentrification has been identified as a major concern, as property values rise and demographics of East Austin shift.

There have been multiple efforts to survey and preserve East Austin's history and communities over the years. The UT team is preparing data from prior historical surveys conducted in the area to be added to the Wiki. Prior survey data will provide baseline information that can be updated and enriched. (See Historical Resources and Surveys page to access 2000 and 2006 historical surveys of East Austin as PDFs.) New information about historical resources will be discovered and shared as more people add to the Wiki.

News and Updates

September 2011 - Dr. Michael Holleran and graduate students from is Preservation Planning class met with residents of the East César Chávez Neighborhood. Neighborhood volunteers planned to gather new information for a neighborhood historic resources survey. Read more.

February 15, 2012 - East César Chávez residents attended a hands-on tour of the Wiki at the Terrazas Branch Library. Attendees were invited to create logins and add historic places, photos, and new information to the Wiki.

March 24, 2012 - Dr. Michael Holleran, Andrea Roberts, and Jenni Minner presented the Wiki to the genealogical forum at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

March 28, 2012 - Hands-on tours of the Wiki were offered between 6pm - 7:30 pm at the Carver Branch Library.

May 16, 2012 - The Wiki Team presented to the Cherrywood Neighborhood Association.

Previous Work with the North University Neighborhood

Testing and refinement of the Wiki beta took place in the North University neighborhood. Starting in fall 2010, the project team worked with neighborhood residents who were in various stages of conducting historical surveys in order to organize local historic districts. Efforts to organize local historic districts were taking place in three distinct areas of the neighborhood. These areas were associated with historic subdivisions: Grooms Addition, Aldridge Place, and Buddington. Testing of the beta with volunteers was geared toward ensuring that the Wiki was developed with real users in mind.

Mapping North University's Resources

In order to get to know the neighborhood, the UT project team mapped previously identified historic resources. Properties designated on the National Register of Historic Places and as City of Austin historic landmarks were mapped using a geographic information system. This layer of information about designated landmarks was combined with a map from Austin's first comprehensive survey of cultural resources in 1984.

The Buddington-Benedict-Sheffield Compound, located at 500-508 W 34th Street, is a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark (RTHL). No Texas State Archaeological Landmarks (SALs) were identified within the North University neighborhood.

An Historic Occasion: Beta Tested for First Time in Grooms Addition

On February 25, 2011, members of the project team met with a small group of volunteers in Grooms Addition over coffee, pastries, and laptops to test the beta Wiki. This was the first time the Wiki had been tested by users outside of the project team. Four volunteers entered previously handwritten historical surveys. They learned how to enter and revise information for mapped historic resources. As they learned and tested the beta Wiki, they shared stories about how the neighborhood had changed over the years. Feedback from the Grooms Addition volunteers was used to improve the wiki.

North University Links: