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A new neighborhood with a storied history

Like the Hill Country surrounding it, Sweetwater is rich with history and folklore. Cowboys and ranch hands working this land in decades past found evidence of ancient Native Americans and Tejanos—the pre-Anglo Mexican settlers. All it takes is a little imagination to bring the history of this land to life.

Listen closely and you might hear the squeak of a wagon wheel. That would be from one of the old stagecoaches rolling through on its way from Austin to Llano. Or maybe you hear the pounding of a thousand hooves. That would be from the cattle herded through here in the late 1800s, bound for the famous Chisholm Trail.

Jump ahead again to the early 1950s. By then this land was owned by a colorful character named Osceola Heard Davenport. The rich widow of a Rio Grande Valley oilman, she moved to the Austin area in search of society life and a ranch that didn’t “stink of oil.” First she bought 1,280 acres fronting Lake Austin, where the Austin Country Club and Davenport Ranch are now. Her plans to raise cattle failed because the land was so thick with trees and shrubs. To fulfill her ambitions as a rancher, she assembled 3,200 acres in western Travis County and called it the Lazy Nine Ranch. She and her heirs ran cattle there until 2007. Part of the old Lazy Nine is now the community of Sweetwater.

The land also figured in music history. In 1983, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard came here to shoot a music video of the Townes Van Zandt song “Pancho and Lefty.”  You can still watch it today on YouTube.

Names of people and places that figure in the history of Texas and the Hill Country can be found on many of the street signs in the new neighborhood villages. But more history remains to be made at Sweetwater.  Maybe someday we’ll add a new paragraph to this story, because this is where you’ve chosen to live.

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Old ranch roads and remains of the historic Austin-Llano stagecoach trail can be found on the Sweetwater property.