Oak Hill hasn’t changed too much since 1856. It’s known as the crossroads where horses were watered, provisions stocked, entertainment enjoyed, and many a tall tale was told.
Locally known as the Y, this landmark junction is where the Highway 290 W and Highway 71 W meet. Firmly planted in the 200 year history of Oak Hill, the Y unlocks urban Austin to Southwestern Travis County, growing and branching in all directions.
The Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods (OHAN) defines the community as “starting from Travis Country in the Northwest, including neighborhoods bordering Brodie Lane down to the Travis/Hays County line, following the county line on the south up to Highway 290 West, and then neighborhoods bordering Circle Drive and Thomas Springs Road and finally along the Southwest Parkway.”
One Westview Estates homeowner describes his 1.8 acre of unfenced property as a “unique wedge” and laughingly says “it’s almost indefinable! Over 100,000 people claim one of the six Oak Hill zip codes–half of which have no legal boundaries and were never incorporated. Those within Austin’s city limits jurisdiction use City of Austin services and utilities, while those in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) use Pedernales Electric Cooperative and other sources of water, such as Hill Country Water Supply.
Country with City Fringe
Jag on Highway 71, and then turn off on a country road, like Old Bee Caves, just at the tip of Oak Hill, where it intersects with Thomas Springs Road. Take time slow down on the curves, and look for a vintage farmhouse, set back on a gravel driveway. Slightly over the hill, at the end of the barbed wire and bent wood fence line, find a will be a modern subdivision with an identity all its own.
Oak Hill has a futuristic twinge too, and has steadily become the nucleus for high-tech companies, such as Freescale and Advanced Micro Devices. With easy access to area highways and the Austin Bergstrom International Airport, the and in close proximity, there is the Lantana community, is a 500-acre mixed use development located on Southwest Parkway immediately south of the Barton Creek area.
Similarly, journey west on 290 and seek out the Granada Hills subdivision. Mostly ranch style homes settled on deep lots, this subdivision is one of the most established areas of Oak Hill, and boast the notable Granada Hills Pool, located in Felder Park in Southwest Austin. “We basically lived at the pool and the park every summer,” says a longtime resident. “I definitely put in my time there when the kids were younger, as it is a volunteer-run, member-supported pool owned by the Granada Hills Home Owners Association.”
Two southwest communities are dedicated by the City of Austin as Water Quality Protection Land; Circle C Ranch and Travis Country. The natural greenbelt and sanctioned greenspace are protected as sensitive environmental areas. This is in an effort to preserve and improve the quality of water entering the Edwards Aquifer and meet Austin’s environmental concerns.
A past president and spoke person for the Oak Hill Neighborhood Association comments “one key thing that binds our southwest quadrant is a love of the environment, and the strong ethical preservation of the Edwards’s Aquifer and Barton Springs Watershed.”
There are about 20 various creeks, 12 parks, 4 named green belts and 4 nature preserves. Many homes in the Westview neighborhood, back up to Williamson Creek green belt. “It’s not a typical creek,” he says “most of time, it’s a dry creek bed” then adds “but believe me, after a good hard rain, I’ve seen it flowing like the rapids!”
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a nature preserve that introduces and educates daily visitors to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants indicative to the Oak Hill region.
The Veloway, a peaceful 3-mile paved stretch dedicated to cyclists and in-line skaters, meanders through more than 100 acres of parkland, meadows and woods, and is located in the Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park.
No more than a few minutes away in every direction from the Y, are shopping centers, banks, restaurants, specialty stores and every imaginable service needed. Several locally owned establishments are tucked away in almost every neighborhood.
The “Old Rock Store” has been home to several Oak Hill businesses since it was built by James A. Patton in 1898 and is a Texas Historic Landmark.
The Natural Gardener, began as an old farmhouse surrounded by acres of untouched sustainable land. Located on Old Bee Caves Road, this vibrant retail plant nursery and garden store also serves as a community resource, featuring display and teaching gardens, free classes, wandering farm animals, and is considered a wildlife habitat on its own.
Just a mile from the Y, on Highway 71 W, is Jack Allen’s Kitchen. Known for its culinary twist, the menu changes almost daily, and promises to use fresh, locally grown seasonal choices, which are very often available just outside the restaurant’s kitchen door and down the road.
Flores Mexican Food restaurant is embraced by the Oak Hill Center, where Escarpment meets 290 W, close to Y. The menu is based on authentic recipes, passed down for generations, and Flore’s takes pride in being part of the Oak Hill community.
Deep Roots New Branches
Strong like its namesake tree, Oak Hill’s character is cultivated by the pioneer spirit by which it was created. Representing a self-sustaining, collective, yet individually driven community, the Y will bend and adapt with each growth spurt or change.
This is Oak Hill. A community that’s settled on solid ground, with firmly planted roots, yet nurturing new branches which stretch far and wide.