Hancock Creek/Arroyo Seco, Part 3

Copyright 2017 Susan Burneson. All rights reserved. Kindly ask permission before reproducing any content.


When it was first named, the street Arroyo Seco, which runs along either side of Hancock Creek in much of Brentwood and Crestview, somehow was incorrectly spelled “Arroyo Seca” on street signs and in official documents.

In the early 1950s, Brentwood Elementary School students taking Spanish classes discovered the error, and an article about the students and the misspelling they found appeared in a local paper:

Somebody goofed when the Austin street Arroyo Seca was named, and the children who go to school on that street are learning all about it.

Brentwood School has one of two elementary Spanish classes in the Austin Public Schools, and one of the first things the students are learning is the translation of Arroyo Seca, the street Brentwood faces.

The mistake in the street name is in the gender of the adjective. Masculine adjectives should go with masculine nouns. The street should be called Arroyo Seco, which translated means “dry canyon.”

Spanish classes as enrichment programs are taught in both Brentwood and Bryker Woods.

The newspaper clipping has been preserved in the 1953-1954 Brentwood Elementary School scrapbook.

After nearly 40 years, the City of Austin officially changed the name of the street to “Arroyo Seco,” on February 18, 1993. Some Austinites still pronounce it “Arroyo Seca,” and the misspelling continues to appear in documents and on signs, even today.

Check out more street stories here.

Coming Monday, 10/3/11: Hancock Creek/Arroyo Seco, Part 4—Trees, luminarias, infrastructure, and an idea for the future

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