Turn of the Century Founders

Lewis Hancock is listed as the first to lead, in giving definition to the area at the turn of the century, by founding the Austin Country Club. In doing so, he provided a magnet, which attracted others like the Perry, Bailey and Fisher families.

Lewis was known also for having served as Austin's mayor, from 1895 to 1897 and builder of the Hancock Opera House, at 120 West Sixth, in 1896. It was during his travels in the United States and Scotland the he developed a keen interest in the game of golf. According to David Gunther's A Short History of Hancock Recreation Center, printed in the November, 1986 issue of FUTURELOOK, "Hancock gathered a group of like-minded enthusiasts at the Driskill Hotel in 1899 to draw up plans for the construction of a golf course in Austin." Gunther states that this course was the first in Texas, and only the second of its kind in the south. The original golf course had nine holes, located on a strip of land, which bordered Duval. The Ernst Farm, at 41st and Red River, was purchased in 1913 to created another nine holes. This land was adjacent to the Hamby farm to the north.

Once the property was purchased, developments began to build up around the course. Aldridge Place was the one Hancock took the most hand in developing. Peter Flagg Maxson, in his paper Aldridge Place, the 'Suburb Beautiful', writes that Hancock sought to create an extended country club suburb between the University and the golf club. Although this neighborhood between Guadalupe and Speedway, 30th and 34th Streets, is outside the Hancock neighborhood boundaries, it represents the same impetus to build in proximity to the golf course.

Another visible sign of the influence of the golf course on the surrounding areas is to be found in the name of Greenway, the street that led directly to the links, from the Beau Site neighborhood to the south. That acreage was purchased by James Robinson Bailey (1868-1941). his home 3504 Hampton Road, was constructed in in 1910. In written material supplied by the current owner, Becky Phillips, it is reported how he served as Professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas. During World War I, he and his associate Alcan Hirsch succeeded in "cracking" the German formula for Novocaine. Subsequently, he is said to have sent more students along the route to Ph.D. degrees than any other professor in the University.

It was another University of Texas professor, political scientist Dr. Lindsey M. Keasbey, who in 1907 purchased the Lucksinger property. According to the previously cited Susan M. Ridgway, Mr. Keasbey led in the building o their home. She ". . . would come out clasping in her arms one of the volumes of her beautiful 12-volume edition of the Arabian Nights and she and the builder would pore over the illustrations in this and make their plans." She gave the Moorish-style structure the Arabic name "Inshallah."

As the city of Austin grew northward, the Hancock area continued to change from earlier farm and dairy use to residential. Soon after the turn of the century, the largest additions to be platted were Beau Site, Oaklawn, Harpers, Ideal Place, and Plainview Heights. Lot sizes varied greatly.

Typical of the newly formed subdivisions was that of the Oaklawn Addition. The original patent to these Outlots 11 and 12 was held by Solomon L. Johnson. He purchased these from the state in 1846. Later it passed to the Richard H. Peck family and for many years was known as "Peck Place." Mr. Peck owned a general merchandise store at the present site of the Driskill Hotel.

Map of Hancock Neighborhood Subdivisions

On May 1, 1905, a plat was filed at the Travis County Courthouse by developers Carl Luetche and W. G. Sneed. It was bounded by East 41st Street on the north, East 38th Street on the south, Waller Creek on the the east and Groomes (now Duval) on the west. Three avenues ran east and were named Terrell, Ross, and Johnson. Peck Avenue ran north and south. Lots were 25' x 145' with alleyways. In 1906, the land was sold from Peck Avenue to Waller Creek to the Austin Country Club.