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SWEDE HILL, TX

SWEDE HILL, TEXAS. Swede Hill was a small community established by Swedes in central Austin; it was originally bounded by Waller Street on the east, Red River Street on the west, Fifteenth Street on the south, and Nineteenth on the north. By the 1980s only the portion of Swede Hill east of Interstate Highway 35 remained intact as a neighborhood; in 1986 the area was designated a National Register historic district. In the 1870s a large number of Swedish immigrants began to establish homes in an area of Austin just north of Fifteenth Street. The first to build his home there was S. A. Lundell; soon thereafter Carl John Swahn built his house there, and many others followed. Eventually some sixty-seven Swedish immigrant families built homes in the vicinity, and the area became known in Austin as Swede Hill or Swedish Hill. The first Swedish Methodist church in Texas was organized in Austin, and shortly afterward its congregation built a church at Fifteenth and Red River streets in Swede Hill. Other Swedish churches were established near Swede Hill, and soon Texas Wesleyan College (founded by Swedish Methodists) was established in the vicinity, at Twenty-sixth and Red River streets. In the 1980s the houses that remained at Swede Hill in the National Register district had been constructed between 1880 and 1938. At that time this district was the best example in East Austin of a late nineteenth and early twentieth century residential neighborhood that remained intact. The structures in the neighborhood demonstrated a consistency of landscape, scale, materials, craftsmanship, and state of preservation which was unusual in the area. By the late 1980s two houses in Swede Hill-Blomquist home and Anderson Home-had been designated by the city of Austin as historic structures.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Austin American-Statesman, April 6, 1974, April 26, 1982. Mary Starr Barkley, History of Travis County and Austin, 1839–1899 (Waco: Texian Press, 1963). Sharon Edgar Greenhill, Historic Austin: A Collection of Walking/Driving Tours (Austin: Heritage Society of Austin, 1981). Katherine Hart, Waterloo Scrapbook: 1973–74 (Austin: Friends of the Austin Public Library, 1975). Ernest Severin, Svenskarne i Texas i ord och bild, 1838–1918 (Austin: Steck, 1919).

James M. Christianson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

James M. Christianson, "SWEDE HILL, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvseb), accessed August 30, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.