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Austin the Friendly City (1943)
  • Map
  • Highlights
    An overview of local government buildings, including the  Governor's Mansion and the Travis County Courthouse
    Visits to the Elizabet Ney Museum and the Texas Confederate Museum
    Photo-op at Treaty Oak
    Inspecting the gavel collection of former United States Vice President John Nance Garner, a Texas native, at the Texas Memorial Museum
    A closer look at an Austin landmark, the University of Texas Tower
    The history of the moonlight towers
    Instruction offered at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Texas School for the Deaf
    Taking a dip at the Deep Eddy Pool
    Attending a Longhorn football game at the Texas Memorial Stadium, now the Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium
    Barton Springs and the lakes along the Colorado River
    Sunset view from Mount Bonnell
  • Transcript
    Narrator: Eager? Yes. For Billy and Betty have heard so much about their capitol city, how it nestles in the Colorado River Valley, and their eyes shine brightly as they see the clean, white buildings, reflecting the warm sunlight. Let's meet these folks, for the represent the hundreds of families who make Austin their home every year. They might even be you. This is Betty Smith and her mother, Betty can hardly wait to make new friends at High School. Billy and his dad are real pals and they have talking about fishing trips on the lakes and so many other adventures ahead.
    Narrator: Well it's been a long hard drive, and no one is more glad than Father, as he wipes the sweat from his brow. Everybody lend a hand to get unloaded. Oops. Well you almost made it and we all know how you feel.
    Narrator: Within a month after arrival in Austin, new residents are given a cordial reception by the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Best of all, they get a big sack full of Austin products that is welcome in anybody's pantry. The Chairman makes everyone feel right at home and then he asks you just to relax for an interesting picture trip around the city. Off go the lights and a picture of the magnificent state capitol building flashes on the screen. This structure, the central landmark of the city, was completed in 1888 out of native Texas granite. Lacking cash, the state paid for it with 300 acres of public land.
    Narrator: What a thrill for the Smith family as they are warmly greeted by the governor himself. And Billy's breath almost stopped as the Governor's ten gallon hat was placed upon his head. From the central arch of the capitol, looking south, you see Congress Avenue the central business thoroughfare, and the principal business district of the city. The Governor's mansion, a lovely example of the true lines of a Southern Colonial home, has been the home of every Texas Governor since 1853. Many visitors daily explore the interior of the mansion, which contains numerous articles of great historical interest. Chief among these, undoubtedly, is the Sam Houston Bed, slept in by the patriot and statesman of Texas History. For Billy, the temptation is just too great. But his watchful sister knows what to do.
    Narrator: As the seat of state government, Austin has a number of state buildings. The State Highway Building is the nerve center for the construction and maintenance of state highways. The Walton Building at one time was a county courthouse and was converted to the use of several state departments. The state office building provides space for several major departments of the state government. The State Health Department recently moved into the spacious new quarters, where they can more accurately serve the health needs of the state. For example, this travelling dental unit makes dental care possible in areas where dental care would otherwise be lacking. Other types of traveling units, together with the most modern methods of treatment, bring better health to the people in our far flung boundaries. Of particular interest is the treatment for rabies. Serum is being constantly prepared by the State Laboratory. And this particular treatment has saved a great many lives in the past. Also, the laboratory receives and analyzes thousands of samples from all over the state. Your Uncle Sam lives here. The federal building provides working space for the Federal government, the Internal Revenue Division, the Federal Court and other departments. The Municipal building is a pleasing example of a modern city hall, keep with the statement, which has since 1928 has operated on a cash basis. Brackenridge Hospital, municipally owned and operated, is equipped with the finest materials. The county courthouse is likewise an attractive governmental building, its design, including the jail on top, is adequate for all units of the county government. It is constructed of a type of shellstone quarried in Travis County. To satisfy their natural curiosity, our youngsters are probing the embedded fossil of prehistoric age.
    Narrator: You'll be writing letters, of course, so you must recognize the Post Office when you see it. Courtesy boxes are mighty handy for posting letters when you are driving by.
    Narrator:  Just before the turn of the century, their lived in Austin a very wonderful artist: Elisabet Ney. Her imagination unfettered by limitations of time and space, she lived and worked here and her sculpture is displayed in European capitals and in our national capital. Billy and Betty feel the air of old world mystery as they enter the museum. Before the statues, Mercury, Prometheus, Schopenhauer, Albert Sidney Johnston, Lady Macbeth and many others, visitors stand with baited breath as though the warmth of life should stand to come to this clean marble. These and many other art treasures in the Ney museum have made it a shrine for art lovers. The Austin Women's Club, home of Austin Club Women is a usual place that has a decadent spot in the architectural home of the city. Patterned after a French chateau, its rugged masonry, powerful buttresses, and descending terraces and elaborate interiors, make it one of Austin's showplaces. The Texas Federation of Women's Clubs occupies this pretty colonial home on 24 thand San Gabriel Streets. Designed to serve the needs of visiting club women from all over the state, as well as providing beautiful reception parlors and auditoriums for local use, the building is certainly an enhancement to the beauty of the city.
    Narrator: The past is dead, but it lives again in our museums. Texas under six flags, the glorious days of the republic, the days of early statehood and pioneers, those periods of history we revere and cherish. In the old Land Office, historic in its own right, are two museums: The Daughters of the Confederacy and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Just to see and touch the actual desk where the great O. Henry worked in the old Land Office and illustrated maps with his depth pen is something we'll never forget. In the State Cemetery, often called the Arlington of Texas, lie buried nearly 2,000 Confederate dead and numerous Texas patriots, heroes, and statesmen. Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate general, who fell at Shiloh, was memorialized in marble by Elisabet Ney. Stephen F. Austin, the father of Texas, and for who our city is named, lies here. The French Legation was built by France over 100 years ago, as a home for her ambassador to the old Republic of Texas. The lumber came from Bastrop, the furniture by sailing ship across the ocean. Experts say, and who will dispute them, that the Treaty Oak is over 500 years old and was an acorn when Columbus discovered America. It's branches spread 127 feet from side to side. What a swell place for taking pictures, or just having fun! What now? Well this time it's Dad who does the chasing, and we'll wager somebody'll get his trousers torn!
    Narrator: William Sidney Porter, or O. Henry as the world knows one of its best loved short story writers, lived and loved in this modest little cottage, which is now the O. Henry Museum, containing many of his personal belongings. His dictionary, well worn by constant thumbing, gave him the wonderful vocabulary that gives his stories their sparkle and life. Father studies carefully an old, original copy of the Rolling Stone, O. Henry's famous newspaper. The Texas Memorial Museum belongs to every citizen of Texas. Located on the University campus, it contains marvelous collections of biographical, historical, and archaeological Texana. Here is preserved in modern fashion, the past, so that curious eyes of future generations may see. Here is the exhibited the famous gavel collection of former Vice President John Nance Garner. Billy and Betty enjoy the contrast between the largest and smallest gavels in the collection. Recreated from the days from when prehistoric monsters roamed the plains of the wild country, this skeleton holds little fear for Billy.
    Narrator: The Austin Senior High School is a community within itself, where nearly 3000 students, taught by the best methods and equipment. Safety Patrol, organized by the Chamber of Commerce, have prevented any major traffic accidents at public schools in the city. The University Junior High School is operated in cooperation with the University of Texas. Whoa there Billy! You're late! Better hurry or you'll be detained after school! Kids really have fun as well as learning plenty at the elementary school such as this one. Who knows if a future president may be playing leap frog here? St. Edwards University, the Notre Dame of the South, is a Catholic University for men, which for years, has enjoyed a splendor record among major education institutions of the South. During the war, not only did it maintain its curriculum, but devoted much time to military instruction. St. Mary's Academy, a Catholic School for girls, occupies a lofty site that was once the Home of Mirabeau B. Lamar, first president of the Republic. Concordia College teaches young men to prepare for Lutheran Ministry, under a fine staff of instructors. This is the chapel of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary, a long established training center of the Presbyterian Church.
    Narrator: The second major landmark of Austin and one that is dear to the hearts of every Texan, is the University of Texas Library Building, or the Tower, as it is usually called. It is the heart of a great school which ranks among the top 10 in the nation, whose graduates have become leaders of the world. The rare book collections in the library contain 1000s of first editions and manuscripts, have read and studied by scholars from all nations. Safely kept under lock and key, is the Plymouth Bible, which came over with the Pilgrims, and you can see the sketch of the Mayflower, made on its margins. From the flower deck balcony, adjacent to the Stark Library, the city appears bathed in a veil of Sunlight. But let us go up, up, up to the very top of the tower, 300 feet above the ground, where the massive tower bells ring out the time. Here the feeling is one of loftiness, or riding on a cloud, as the panorama of scenery unfolds for us in all directions.
    Narrator: Billy and Betty  hadn't been here for very long before they wanted to know all about those odd lights, those tower lights, everywhere, they're just like moonlight, Billy remarked, and to his surprise, he found Austin people had been saying that very thing for years. It's moonlight, every night in Austin. It's an interesting story, too, and these tower lights, 29 of them, 150 feet high, have lighted the city for 50 years, from the time she was a little pioneer village, until now. Austin folks love ‘em! And so far as we know, no other city in the world has ‘em. They add a fascinating, enchanting sparkle to the city at night as travelers approach.
    Narrator: Where's there's no vision, people perish. Built on this cornerstone, Austin has prospered as a Christian community. 94 white and 44 colored churches of every denomination, serve the spiritual needs of our citizens.
    Narrator: There is equal opportunity for old and young, rich and poor, to worship with that freedom on which on country was founded. St. David's Episcopal Church, is said to be the oldest standing church in Texas, except the missions.
    Narrator:  Would you believe that this was once a cow pasture? Under a program of civic improvement, it was changed into East Avenue, a pleasure to the eye and a major North-South thoroughfare. Austin is grateful for the privilege here of the state and eleemosynary institutions. The Austin state hospital cares for adults who are mentally deficient. 85% percent of the blind children of the state receive instruction at the Texas School f or the Blind, where they are taught from kindergarten to high school age, various trades and occupations to make them free from dependence on society and able to make their own living. Many of the articles produced by these blind children are of exceptional beauty and value. And the cakes these girls can bake! Oh boy! Would you guess that these boys are skating in darkness? Yet having a swell time? The State School, where mentally deficient children are cared for and educated is a model of its kind. Another example of Austin's many lovely thoroughfares is West 15 thstreet. Such park areas are always kept in excellent appearance. The Texas School for the Deaf, among the largest in its kind in Austin, specializes in teaching the latest methods to its students. With the University Library, the State Library, and the Public Library which you see right here, Austin is far better equipped than most cities are. The Public Library, with its comfortable reading rooms and home like atmosphere and well filled shelves, is standing invitation within itself to the whole family. Membership cards are a mere formality, and then it doesn't take long for Father, and Mother, and Sister, and Brother, to find books to their liking. What every community needs for the rest and relaxation of its folks, is plenty of playgrounds. Deep Eddy, this wonderful swimming pool, is only one of thirteen parks and swimming pools spread across the city, where play is supervised all summer by top notch recreational department leaders. For community nights and games bring out hidden talent and playground equipment develops healthy bodies and reduces juvenile delinquency to a minimum. The Municipal Golf Course is one of three fine courses in the city. Golfing weather is prevalent almost the year round, and the beautiful slopes and greens keep their restful color, even through the winter. Well Father, it was a good try. Ahh, he made it!
    Narrator: Center of sports for the Southwest is Texas Memorial Stadium, where huge crowds gather each fall to watch  hard fought gridiron games between the University of Texas and teams of the Southwest and the Nation.  Texas Cowboys and other campus pep organizations add color and fire to the games. Do you like square dancing or ballroom dancing or tennis or volleyball or baseball or gymnastics? All these and many more are offered to you by the City Recreational Department at the Austin Athletics Club. The Daddy of them all, 340 acre Zilker Park is about everything you could wish for. River drives, walks, flowers, scores of picnic tables, and BBQ pits tucked away in secluded spots, boy and girl scout huts, sunshine camp, police target range, skeet field, casting pools, baseball parks, and well just something to suit everyone's taste. Today's a nice day for a picnic, so let's walk along the lily pond, down the rock steps and spread our lunch under the branches a big oak tree. A ham sandwich always tastes better from the picnic basket than it does from home, doesn't it? Zilker Springs in the fall in winter is like one of nature's lovely paintings. Although watered by man's walks and walls, the natural spring water reflects the soft colors of the smooth slopes and carriages. 17 million gallons of pure, cold, spring water, flows through these outlets everyday and thereby make Austin's most popular swimming pool. In the good old summer time, we all go out to the park and in less time than it takes to tell it, we're swimming around in the grand old pool. Forgotten all the worries of the day, the temperature, we're floating around happy, and refreshed, and developing an enormous appetite for that picnic lunch waiting up on the hill. And no matter how many folks are in, there never seems to be a crowd, for the pool is so very large, there's plenty of room for everybody. On Thursday and Sunday nights during the summer, 5000 folks gather on a hillside in the park, under the stars to enjoy band concerts, programs, and community scenes.
    Narrator: The hills west of Austin are a very web of interesting scenic routes. Suppose we drive through these parts and visit the great dams and lakes within 50 miles of Austin on the Colorado River. Buchanan Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States and the dam that creates it is two miles long. This is just one section of the many flood gates that are a part of the dam. Just below Buchanan Lake, is Inks Lake, a placid 3 mile body of water that is used principally for power generating purposes.  Marble Falls Damn has for years been a favorite spot for fishermen and sportsmen. The turbulent waters, rushing for over a mile over jagged rocks are a beautiful spectacle.  Mansfield Dam, creating Lake Travis, is the largest in a series of dams in Central Texas. These dams were built for a threefold purpose: conserving flood waters for irrigation in times of drought, controlling devastating floods, and producing low cost electricity. In all of these, they have been highly successful. Lake Travis is 65 miles long and 8 miles wide. And thus we come to the end of our ride on the magic carpet of topography. As the day comes to a swift close, you survey the beauty of Lake Austin, which winds for 22 miles past breathtaking scenery. Then ride up to flowered water drive of Mount Bonnell. As this friendly city glows in the light of the setting sun, you feel that it was always intended for Austin to be your permanent home.