Lady Bird Lake, an artificial lake on the Colorado River, stretches more than five miles through the south side of Austin in Travis County (centered at 30°15' N, 97°43' W). Named Town Lake, it was formed in 1960 by the construction of Longhorn Dam and is owned and operated by the city of Austin in cooperation with the Lower Colorado River Authority. The surface area of the lake is 416 acres, and it is used primarily for flood control and recreation. Development near the lake has caused much outcry among those who believe that the area should be left as a "green belt" as originally planned. Located on the lake's shoreline are hotels and apartments, in addition to various civic and recreational buildings and parks, including the municipal auditorium and the Aqua Festival grounds. Auditorium Shores, a scenic part of the south riverbank, was designated a part of the city's beautification plans. The park features gardens, picnic grounds, and a hike and bike trail along the lake. After the death of former First Lady Claudia Alta Taylor (Lady Bird) Johnson, Austin changed the name from Town Lake to Lady Bird Lake in her honor.
Support Texas History Now
Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.
Austin Chronicle, June 13, 1985. David C. Humphrey, Austin: An Illustrated History (Northridge, California: Windsor, 1985).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Anonymous, “Lady Bird Lake,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 30, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/lady-bird-lake.
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.