History

Cedar Park Remembered

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Cedar Park Remembered

By John Hallowell

Cedar Park today is a modern suburb of Austin, with comfortable homes and pleasant neighborhoods surrounding highways lined with thriving businesses. But not so long ago, it was a small Hill Country town on the northbound railroad, subsisting mostly by selling local cedar and limestone.

Cedar Park Remembered

Photo: cedarparkhistory.com

While there had been a few scattered pioneers in the area since the 1830s, the actual town (first called Running Brushy, for the local spring) grew around the 329-acre ranch of George and Harriet Cluck, veterans of the legendary Texas cattle drives (Harriet was reportedly the first woman to ride the Chisolm Trail) who purchased the land in 1873. When the fledgling community earned its own post office in 1874, Harriet Cluck became postmistress. In 1877, a limestone quarry was dug on the Cluck property, near the present intersection of 1431 and Lakeline Blvd. It grew to be the town’s largest employer in the late 1800s.

In 1879, a small community church and schoolhouse was built in the little town. The narrow-gauge railroad from Austin came through on its way to Burnet in 1881, and a depot and foreman’s house were built on the cluck property. Three railroad workers were housed in army huts next to the foreman’s house. The community changed its name to Bruggerhoff in 1883, in honor of a railroad executive, but the name was not popular with the locals; in 1887, Emmett Cluck (George and Harriet’s son) changed the name to Cedar Park.

Cedar Park Remembered
Photo: cedarparkhistory.com

In 1892, an actual park of about a half acre was built near the train depot, and Austinites would ride the train to it for a day’s excursion. As demand grew for cedar posts, cedar yards were started in Cedar Park, and quite a few men earned a living for their families by chopping cedar trees by hand with a single or double-bit axe. Posts were sorted at the yards for size, straightness and length, then sold for use as fence posts or cabin beams. After the great hurricane of 1900 struck Galveston, limestone from Cedar Park was used to build the sea wall there. In 1929, a railroad spur was built from the main line to the quarry to make shipping easier.

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