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photo of Andrew Jackson Zilker

Andrew Jackson Zilker, PICB 11162
Save a little of what you have, and always remember that success is based on hard work. --Slogan attributed to A. J. Zilker.

Zilker came to Austin as a young man in 1876 with fifty cents in his pocket. He began earning money in Austin by washing dishes in local restaurants. Soon he landed work in an ice factory on the river for $1.25 a day, and within three months he was leasing the plant himself. His ice business spread throughout Texas, and he became one of Austin's earliest millionaires.

We know his name best for the park that is the heart of Austin's recreational spaces. Zilker gave the property for that park to the city with the condition that an endowment be created for "manual training" in the public schools. The resulting endowment helped to create shop and home economics classes within the Austin schools.

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