Cedar Park City
Cedar Park City Hall is locted at 450 Cypress Creek Road, Cedar Park, TX 78613; phone: 512-401-5000.
One of the first families to settle in the area was George and Harriet Cluck. George Cluck was an enterprising individual who, after a successful cattle drive in 1873, bought a ranch that is now the site for Cedar Park. Harriet Cluck became the post-mistress of Running Brushy (as the community was called) in 1874.
Ranching was the major occupation in the area during those years. A steam mill was operated in Bagdad from water hauled from the Running Brushy Spring.
Communities were isolated from one another in those days because of slow transportation, poor roads, and little commerce. The stage line from Austin to Lampassas was the first commercial transportation in Williamson County. The line traveled through the Cluck property, and George Cluck provided fresh horses for the stage.
In 1882 the railroad completed a narrow gauge line which extended from Austin through Running Brushy (on Cluck land) to Burnet. The locomotive used cord wood for fuel and pulled one passenger coach, making one round trip each day. One of the railroad company officials was named Brueggerhoff. Upon completion of the line, the railroad insisted that the community change its name from Running Brushy to Brueggerhoff in recognition of the railroad's contribution to the community. For about five years the town went by that name. On November 9, 1881, while the Austin Northwestern railroad line was being built, the State Capitol caught fire and burned to the ground. A commission was appointed to oversee the reconstruction, and it decided that native pink granite be used in the new structure.
The state began building a railroad spur from Burnet to transport the granite. The Lone Star Engine pulled 15,700 carloads of granite through Brueggerhoff on its way to Austin. The hauling job secured the financially sagging railroad and probably ensured the life of Brueggerhoff as well.
Sometime during those years, the Clucks donated land and a building to be used jointly as school and church, called Running Brushy Community School. In 1887, the town's official name became Cedar Park. By 1892, a store was built along the railroad tracks and was operated by Harriet and George's son Emmett.
Because the threat of Indian attacks had subsided by the 1880's, Texas cities began to concentrate on settling in to their communities. Landscaping of town squares and parks was common. In 1892, George Cluck sold a portion of his property adjoining the railroad for one dollar, under the condition that about one-half acre of the land be used for a park. Austinites began riding the train to Cedar Park, picnicking at the park, then returning home on the afternoon train.
Another community named Buttercup (or Doddsville) lay one mile south of Cedar Park. Two factors caused this hamlet to fail: First, the railroad missed it by one mile and residents moved to other locations. Second, a conservation dam was built on the site, and water now covers this area.
In the late 1800's, a quarry opened and by 1897 Cedar Park became the heaviest freight loader between Austin and Llano, providing the sole source of shellstone in the United States. Some notable buildings constructed from this stone are the post offices and the San Jacinto Monument in Houston. Limestone was also quarried for use by the Highway Department to stabilize road beds.
The cedar trees in the area provided fence posts, heating fuel, rope (from the bark), cooking seasonings (from the berries), and furniture oil polish. Floor sweep was made from ground cedar stumps and oil for cleaning floors.
In 1906, the population of Cedar Park was 200, but by 1936, that number dropped to 100, and had risen to only 125 in 1940. In 1942, the State Legislature voted to buy land to house and raise food for the residents of the Austin State School. From 1943 through 1948 the State Dairy and Hog Farm leased the Cluck land, providing meat, milk, butter, and vegetables to its residents, who worked the farm for therapy. In 1968, the hog farm was closed and the land became the Leander Rehabilitation Center, providing permanent camp shelters, a dormitory, wilderness camping areas, lakes, picnic areas, and other features.
By the 1970's, transportation was more sophisticated, commuting to Austin was possible, and development of the community began in earnest. Austin began annexing to the north, threatening the residents of Cedar Park with the prospect of being assimilated into the larger City. On February 24, 1973, residents of Cedar Park held an election on the question of incorporation into a general city. The election passed 1300 to 51. The current City of Cedar Park lies sixteen miles northwest of Austin on US 183. Cedar Park became a home rule City when the charter was adopted by the voters in an election held on January 17,1987.
In 1977 Cedar Park extended its boundaries to the south by annexing 1058 acres lying west of US 183, south of Cedar Park Ranchettes Unit 1, and south of Riviera Springs subdivision. The City of Austin filed a complaint stating that a portion of Cedar Park's original incorporation and the 1058-acre annexation encroached into Austin's extra-territorial jurisdiction. In July 27, 1978, Cedar Park disannexed 38 acres which were located in Austin's extra-territorial jurisdiction north of 620 and west of US 183.