Austin Neighborhood Profile: Hyde Park

by : Ki Gray

One of Austin's oldest and most loved neighborhoods in Austin is Hyde Park. Located in Central Austin just north of The University of Texas, Hyde Park is over 100 years old. Founded in 1891 by the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Land and Town Company, the neighborhood was designed and marketed as a lush and spacious suburb that included its own streetcar line and an artificial lake.

Today, Hyde Park is one of the most densely populated areas in the city. Noted for it's beautiful tree lined streets and its unique and diverse population, the neighborhood is marked within the boundaries of 51st and 38th Streets to the north and sound, and Red River and Duval to the east and west. The neighborhood has its own monthly newsletter, The Pecan Press, which is delivered to approximately 2,000 Austin homes.

Before moving to Dallas in 1875, the Texas State Fair was held in the eastern section of Hyde Park. In fact, a portion of the former horse track is still reflected in the curved segment of 39th street, the location of The Shipe House which was built using wood from the former race track's grandstand. Another important historic home in Hyde Park is the small castle-style studio named Formosa. The former residence of sculptor Elisabet Ney, now houses a museum dedicated to her work. Hyde Park is full of historic homes and former residences of some of Austin's most influential residents.

The residents of Hyde Park are extremely fortunate in the number of fabulous restaurants and businesses that are part of the neighborhood. The Hyde Park Grille is famous for its French fries and is a wonderful place for a Sunday brunch. Across the street, Mother's has become a city wide favorite for its wide and varied selection of vegetarian specialties.

Across East 43rd Street, Asti Trattoria serves up it's sleek and sophisticated cuisine. The Hyde Park Theatre has grown into one of the cities hottest theatre spots. Each January and February, the Theatre hosts Fronterafest the premiere fringe theatre festival in the Southwest.

Located in a city full of festivals, Hyde Park has two annual events that are uniquely its own. Every June, the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association holds its annual Historic Homes Tour. People come from across the state and nation to view the homes and hear the stories of the historic neighborhood.

The second annual event is the Fire Station Festival which takes place every October. In the early seventies, the city decided to close Fire Station Number Nine in an effort to cut cost. The residents of the neighborhood banded together and saved the historic building. Every year, the neighborhood gathers together to celebrate this historic building and the brave men and women who call it home.

Because of its location close to the University and downtown, Hyde Park has become a favorite among graduate students and young professionals. In 2006, the median price for a house in Hyde Park was $309,902 and the median price per square foot was $204.