A Sweet Legacy
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. Smell the oil? Of course not. Oil has never been found on the land that is Sweetwater. And that was the attraction for a colorful character named Osceola Heard Davenport. The rich widow of a South Texas oilman, she moved to the Austin area in search of society life and a ranch that didn’t “stink of oil.” She assembled 3,200 acres in western Travis County and called it the Lazy Nine Ranch. Part of the old Lazy Nine is now the community of Sweetwater.
Hear those singing voices? Recognize them? You ought to. That’s Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. In 1983, they came out to this land 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 Sweetwater Austin neighborhoods. 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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