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A stroll along Shoal Creek

These creeks have flowed through our lives and the lives of our families--present and past. We hope that some of you might be willing to share your photos and anecdotes, your memories and experiences of Austin's creeks. Will you offer a favorite romantic moment beside one of our creeks, a tale of a tragic event on a creek, a story of Sunday afternoon picnics on the banks of an Austin creek? Do you have photos of these creeks to share?

Helen Daniels e-mailed us this Creekside Memory.
In 1966, my family lived along the banks of Waller Creek near Eastwoods Park. I was four when my older sister took me to a special place on the creek's edge in the coldest part of the winter. She told me that in this special place, the water was so cold it was actually hot and could burn you. I was in complete awe of this fact and have never forgotten it.
In 1986 Eric Travis interviewed Herb Zinsmeyer about a natural pool on Shoal Creek that the locals called "Blue Hole." This natural pool was located between White Rock Road and Northland Drive.
We have a pool of water over here which is the old blue hole. The old blue hole is famous among the old timers as being the place way out in the country where they used to go swimming. There's a nice little stone bluff on one side which is a nice place to dive off of and water that was ten to twelve feet deep there had a lot of fish in it. When we first moved here in 1966, my children as well as children from all over the neighborhood used to come and catch fish out of there. We've had many a dinner of fish caught out of that blue hole. That was before all of the pollution.
from A Sense of Shoal Creek, Senior Thesis in Humanities
Ed Redd, a fourth generation Austinite, reminisces about his adventures on the banks of Onion Creek during his boyhood in the 1930s.
We were at Lawson Booth's place on onion Creek, and while Onion was never really clear (most of the time a murky green color), my granddad said his father told him Onion had never gone dry. I learned we could always count on it to produce all we and our friends could eat in fresh catfish fillets....We always got big catfish there, one even outweighed me at the time, 86 pounds.
In the 1940s Janet and Russell Fish promoted, and later financed, the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail to allow more enjoyment of Shoal Creek, which was considered the western edge of town when Austin was founded in 1839.

Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail

Indians once used this path as a thoroughfare through the area. When I was a little girl there was a wagon road there, and later, during the Depression, the WPA came in and built a bridle path between 12th and 34th Streets. ...My husband and I decided to try to rebuild the path.
--Janet Fish, 1976
[PICA 21860]
From a letter written by Wilkin Orr to his sister, Lollie Orr, on April 22, 1897...
Yesterday was San Jacinto day and Mother, Papa, Cornail, Charlie, and myself went fishing out to "Bull Creek." I caught one perch. Cornail caught the most-of-all. We found some ferns and some lovely columbine. Cornail killed four doves.

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810 Guadalupe
Austin, TX 78701

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P.O. Box 12927
Austin, TX 78705

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(512) 974-7480

AHC Exhibits | Austin's Creeks Exhibit
Watershed Protection Department