Travis Heights is one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in Austin, and has a rich history. The neighborhood was originally an exclusive suburb south of the Colorado River, now known as Lady Bird Lake, and the neighborhood was established in 1913 by the Newning and Swisher families, along with General Stacy, for whom the parks in the area are named. The neighborhood was actually originally settled in the late 1900s, informally, but did not really expand or become fashionable until the early twentieth century, when it grew rapidly. The neighborhood's borders are generally considered to be I.H. 35 to the east and the lake to the north, and Oltorf to the south and Congress Avenue to the west, so the area is very accessible to the downtown area and the freeway, as well as the recently developed shopping and nightlife area referred to as "SoCo" for its location on South Congress Avenue.
Travis Heights is part of the well-known 78704 zip code in Austin, one that is considered liberal and artistic, and it reflects these ideas with its numerous styles of architecture, and its whimsical neighborhood charm. Travis Heights is replete with twenties-style bungalows, among other styles of home-building, and the residents have fiercely objected to the demolition of this characteristic style, vehemently refusing to allow them to be replaced with "McMansions", or newly built, generic luxury homes.
This neighborhood is also very family-friendly, and the students of the area attend Travis Heights Elementary School and Fulmore Middle School, with high-schoolers attending Travis High School, or one of numerous parochial schools in the area which offer a diverse choice to residents. There are many restaurants on the borders of Travis Heights or in close proximity, including those on Riverside and Congress, as well as the "restaurant row" area of Barton Springs Road, just a few miles east. Some of these restaurants include Vinny's, Guerro's Taco Bar, Vespaio, and less formal restaurants such as Thundercloud Subs and Freebird's, which are well known for sandwiches and burritos, respectively.
When Travis Heights was first settled, in the late 1800's, the only way to travel from the north side of the river to the south was by ferry, and originally, the large homes with detached garages, intended for carriages at the time, were considered country homes, and the homeowners now have frequently converted the original garages into garage apartments, many rented by U.T. students, which adds to the funky flavor of Travis Heights. The Art Deco style is also prominently reflected in the styles and colors of the homes, with a plethora of bright and pastel colors and glass bricks being featured, along with many other quirky details. Many homes are also built of brick and stone, and the streets meander through the gentle hills of the neighborhood, most of which are tree-lined and offer shade to the homes and streets, and also offer great views of downtown and the lake, as well as the trees and abundant foliage in the area.
There are two well known parks in the area, called Big Stacy and Little Stacy, and Big Stacy is home to a large, tree shaded pool, while Little Stacy has a wading pool, hike and bike trails, picnic tables and sports facilities, both being close to the Blunn Creek greenbelt which winds through the Travis Heights neighborhood.
The Stacy parks were named for General William H. Stacy, who bought 200 acres of land with his partner, George Warner, and began settlement of the neighborhood in the late 1800s around what is now called Blunn Creek, which was originally called Fowder's Creek. The area expanded rapidly after a stone bridge was built across the river, and residents had more convenient access to the neighborhood. Another park in Travis Heights is the Norwood Estates Park at Riverside and I.H. 35, and the park is primarily used as a place for residents to walk their dogs and allow their dogs to safely recreate with their owners.
Travis Heights is one of the most highly regarded neighborhoods in the Austin real estate market for a variety of reasons, including its proximity to various popular areas, its eclectic history, and its natural beauty and serenity. It is a great neighborhood to visit or settle down and raise a family, so keep Travis Heights in mind when considering a visit to central Austin.