Skip to main content

Austin's Creeks: A Tribute to Tributaries


[PICA 02672]

An Exhibit

September 7-November 22

Austin History Center
Austin Public Library
810 Guadalupe

The Austin History Center, in association with the City of Austin's Watershed Protection Department, presents a tribute to Austin's creeks. This exhibit at the Austin History Center presents the story of Austin's creeks and their place in Austin's life and livelihood through historical and contemporary photographs, maps, and clippings.


Bull Creek

Bull Creek Watershed is one of the most beautiful natural areas in Travis County. Once called Cascade, the name "Bull" is said to have come from the last wild bison shot near the creek in the 1860s. Another source relates the name to the many longhorn cattle that once grazed in the area. Bull Creek
[PICA 04521]

Onion Creek

Onion Creek Here, the Onion Creek flow rapidly drains into Antioch Cave, creating this whirlpool.

Shoal Creek

As with most creeks in Austin, Shoal Creek suffers from severe erosion. This is the result of increased frequency and quantity of rainwater runoff from the increasing number of buildings, roads, and parking lots. Shoal Creek
[PICA 24842]

Waller Creek

Waller Creek floods in 1915
[PICA 04095]
Approximately ten inches of rain fell in two hours on April 23, 1915. It was the second largest flood in nearly a century. The Colorado River, Waller and Shoal Creeks flooded Austin and claimed 35 lives. In this photo, a house on Sabine Street, near Waller Creek, is dislodged from its foundation.

Creekside Memories...

Hazel O'Quinn on Bull Creek in the 1920s
Hazel (Hedick) O'Quinn (left) poses for the camera on Bull Creek in the 1920s. Young Trueman O'Quinn (below) poses astride that same creek. Trueman and Hazel met in the 1920s at the University of Texas. They would marry and go on to become prominent citizens of Austin. Hazel had a 25-year career as Assistant Secretary of the Texas Senate. Trueman distinguished himself as a member of the 42nd Legislature, as City Attorney of Austin, and as Judge of the Third Court of Civil Appeals. Together they raised two sons, Kerry and Trueman Jr.
   Young Trueman O'Quinn astride Bull Creek