Northwest Hills

Description

Northwest Hills, sometimes referred to as Far West after its main street, is a suburb in the northwestern part of Austin, Texas, United States. The neighborhood is home to the largest concentration of Jewish residents in Austin, and includes a 40-acre complex housing a number of Jewish community organizations, synagogues, and schools. David Barrow Sr. and Edward Barrow, along with their associate Chuck Stahl and David Barrow Jr., were responsible for much of Austin's expansion in the flatlands and in the mountain regions during most of the 1950s and 1960s. David Sr. was also primarily responsible for the eventual construction of Texas State Highway Loop 1 ("Mopac"), the highway that stretches on the east side of the neighborhood. He helped construct Mopac to help the flow of traffic for residents who lived in the northwestern quadrant of the city. Before Mopac was formed in 1966, most Northwest Hills residents had to commute to Lamar Boulevard, or sometimes as far as Interstate 35, to reach downtown, where most of them worked. He ran studies that showed that Austin needed better streets for northwestern residents. The first properties the Barrows bought in Northwest Hills were on Balcones Drive. They then moved to the lands at Mount Bonnell, the ones that overlook the Colorado River, and began to develop properties there. Gradually, they developed lands further into the hills, expanding present-day Northwest Hills. Initially, the Barrows had no intention of expanding into Northwest Hills. They believed, however, that the affluent growth of the city was apt for northwestern Austin, and that if Austin were to ever build an area for that segment of the population, the design would take place in hilly terrains like Northwest Hills. The Barrows thus gradually began buying properties in the area by picking few parcels of land in sparse locations, developing them, and then moving to more rugged lands. Most of the lands in Northwest Hills were owned by M.E. Hart, a Canadian businessman, and a man known as Capitan Knox. The Barrows struck a deal with Hart and agreed to buy the lands from him at a rolling option, meaning that they would buy them in parts and purchase them at market price. Both of them benefited from the agreement since the Barrows did not have the capital to purchase upfront, while Hart sold the properties at an increasing market price since the values of the lands grew due to the neighborhood developments. The Barrows and their associates came to own 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) of the 3,500 acres (1,400 ha) of developed land in northwest Austin by the 1950s. The development of the lands by the Barrows were considered unique for its time. When they put together a design for the neighborhood, they wanted to create a "new" town while drawing from other developed lands of Austin's core urban area. Balcones Drive, which borders the eastern part of Northwest Hills, was intended to serve as a counterpart to downtown's Colorado River. Far West Boulevard, which traverses Northwest Hills from east to west, was conceived to be comparable to Congress Avenue, the main street in downtown Austin. The developments by the Barrows were also considered unique because of the plan to include a Missouri Pacific Railroad system next to the neighborhood, as well as plans to have Far West Boulevard empty into Airport Boulevard, a main thoroughfare in the southeastern part of Austin

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