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John Dunham's Blog

By John Dunham | Agent in 78751

Brentwood Neighborhood ~ Pure Austin for 50+ years

Out side the city limits at time of development over 50 years ago, today The Brentwood neighborhood is considered by many to be part of Austin's urban core.  Bordered by Justin Lane to the North, 45th St to the South, North Lamar Boulevard to the East and Burnet Road to the West.  What was originally an old cotton field and dairy land, is home to tree lined streets and a vibrant community.

Many returning GIs bought homes after the war to start families.  These ‘bungalow' style homes were 2 and 3 bedrooms, usually sharing 1 bathroom, averaging 1100 - 1200 square feet in size.  Owners were required to pay to have paved streets or sidewalks in the front of their homes. If someone couldn't afford to pay, that spot was left unpaved. 

By the mid 1950s a handful of churches had been established, and many have now celebrated their 50 year anniversary.  Woodrow Ave was known as "Church Row".  Brentwood Elementary was built in 1950 and resides adjacent to the 9acre Brentwood Park.  During summer months residence have access to the city run pool, and families enjoy the playground, baseball diamond, tennis / basketball courts and open fields on a daily basis year round.  The area was also home to the first drive in theater in Austin, located at Justin and Lamar.

What truly takes you back in time is the Crestview Shopping Center, which technically lands in Crestview proper, and now the home of the Wall of Welcome Project completed in 2008 by neighborhood artist Jean Graham.  The Violet Crown Festival, held in Brentwood Park, has slowly become a tradition in the two neighborhoods where one can meet new friends, learn neighborhood history and hear some great music while the kids play.

Having built strong relationships over the years, many original residents never left the neighborhood.  After the airport was relocated in the late 90's, home values have made significant jumps in value. Today, jaws drop when you hear original owners remember paying a staggering $7,500! 

No longer outside the city limits, many buyers who can not afford Tarrytown or Clarksville have found Brentwood an excellent substitute.  Owners and builders are now expanding the original bungalow homes to accommodate the extra ‘stuff', and in some cases starting all over with new construction.  A unique integration of modern design and historic restoration are taking place.  In some cases two structures have been built where just one small home once lived. 

Whether historical or modern, the friendly atmosphere and sense of community still remain.  Residents enjoy the daily conveniences of the Crestview Shopping Center or continuing development of The Triangle.  You can take the kids to Phil's Burgers and walk next store to Amy's Ice Cream for desert with an onsite playground.  Thunderbirds Coffee occupies the old Motor Shop and where many find their morning coffee fix.  At night you can eat at near by Billy's Burgers, Galaxy Café, Blue Star Cafeteria or Elsie's Mexican Restaurant.  And if you still have energy, swing into Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon for a cold LoneStar Beer!


By David O'dell,  Tue Dec 16 2008, 21:16
I am miffed about Brentwood... I love the neighborhood, but when I was 9 years old I lived on Pasadena drive, my mom and I in a duplex. The side of the road with multifamily got bussed to Campbell waaaay over near MLK, while the side of the road where all the old families were got to go to Brentwood... argggh.... Oh well, I'd still love to live back in the old neighborhood...
By rockinblu,  Tue Dec 16 2008, 21:18
Ginny's is a blast from the past. The night I was there the pool table was free and Dale Watson was playing. We closed the place down. YeeHaw!
By John Dunham,  Mon Dec 29 2008, 09:29
David ~ based on where you are describing the duplex you'd be going to Brentwood these days... Sorry! Glad you enjoyed the rest of the neighborhood though ~ it's tough to beat.
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