Our series on Central Austin street names—how they were named and what some of them once were called—continues.
KAREN AVENUE—Named for a niece of Dr. Joseph S. Koenig. (See Koenig Lane, below.)
KOENIG LANE—According to the Austin History Center, Koenig Lane was created in 1939. I believe it was named for Dr. Joseph Samuel Koenig (1885-1951). He was born in LaGrange, Texas, the son of John Robert Koenig Sr. J. S. and Lera Lynn Pennington married in Bell County, Texas, in February 1911. They lived in Austin at least as early as 1922, according to that year’s Austin city directory (his 1951 Austin Statesman obituary stated that they had lived in Austin for 30 years, or since 1921). Beginning in the 1920s, He and his wife also owned property in at least four other subdivisions in the vicinity of Koenig Lane—Koenig Place, Koenig Terrace, Murray Place, and Northfield (they also owned property in Arboles Terrace, south of Barton Springs Road). In 1947, Dr. Koenig developed the Violet Crown Heights subdivision north of Koenig Lane and between Payne and Ruth in Brentwood with Clarence McCullough. (See the 1947 promotional flyer for Violet Crown Heights here.) Koenig’s occupation is listed as “real estate” in the 1940 Austin census and in the 1949 Austin city directory. His 1951 death certificate lists his occupation as “retired chiropodist and real estate,” and his 1951 obituary mentions his extensive real estate holdings. Another local researcher believes that Koenig family members owned land in the vicinity of today’s Texas Department of Public Safety, on the northeast corner of North Lamar Boulevard and Koenig Lane. A 1937 classified ad refers to a Koenig Farm on Fiskville Road in Austin; Fiskville Road was known as an early name for North Lamar. I don’t believe Koenig Lane was named for Adolph Koenig, as at least one other source indicates. In the 1889 Austin city directory, Adolph is listed as a farmer, living in a boarding house owned by Mrs. Mary E. Schmidt, at 506 San Jacinto in Austin. The Austin History Center has information that Adolph farmed in the vicinity of Koenig Lane. I have found no other information about an Adolph Koenig in Austin or that he was related to J. S. Koenig.
LERALYNN STREET—Named for Dr. Joseph Samuel Koenig’s wife, Lera Lynn. The street is located east of Lamar and north of 51st Street, near other property owned by Joseph and Lera Lynn.
NORTH LAMAR BOULEVARD—Once the main road between Austin and Dallas before IH-35 was built, North Lamar was known by other names over the years: State Highway 1, Lower Georgetown Road (Burnet was Upper Georgetown Road), U.S. Highway 81, Fiskville Road, and the Dallas Highway. Fiskville originally was a community on Little Walnut Creek, six miles north of Austin. (More about the history of North Lamar north of Kramer Lane here.)
RICHCREEK ROAD—Named for Frank Richcreek, who owned a large dairy farm near what is today the northwest corner of Justin and Lamar. Back then, it was outside the Austin city limits. In the late 1940s, the Richcreek land was developed into the beginnings of the Crestview neighborhood. (See a video clip of neighbor John Carlson, who remembers Mr. Richcreek and his red dairy barn, here.)
RUTH AVENUE—Named for Clarence McCullough’s wife. (See Koenig Lane, above.)
TISDALE DRIVE—Named for the Tisdale family who once owned a large farm north of Anderson Lane in the Wooten neighborhood. Stock farmer Dick Dudley Tisdale, his wife Lilly, and daughters Lily and Alma lived there. Their address in 1930 was Lower Georgetown Road (today’s North Lamar). In 1953, Dick’s father, a retired rancher, lived nearby at 904 Stobaugh. In the early 1960s, Anderson Lane was still a two-lane dirt road. To the north, site of the Tisdale farm, people remember seeing barbed wire fences, barns, cows, and hay. One neighbor who grew up on Morrow Street in the 1950s and early 1960s remembers visiting the Tisdale home and staying after school with the Tisdales’ two married daughters, Mrs. Purdy and Mrs. Sylvester, who lived nearby. Dick and Lilly Tisdale’s original farmhouse no longer exists. They built the stone home at 7904 Tisdale in 1945, where they lived as they grew older. Dale Drive, near Tisdale Drive, was named for Dick and Lilly’s grandson Dale Sylvester. He owned a construction company, and the Sylvesters’ home and his business also were on Tisdale Drive.
YATES AVENUE—Named for Ray Yates, who developed Crestview and the shopping center with A. B. Beddow (Beddow and Yates in photo at right). According to neighbor Louise Cooke, the city bus once ran along Yates. Ray and his wife Maude lived for many years on the southeast corner of Woodrow and Richcreek. (See also the Justin Lane story here.)
Thanks to John Carlson; Louise Cooke; J. D. Harper, Crestview Pharmacy; Beverly Lester; Chuck McCullough, Violet Crown Shopping Center; Ronnie Prellop, Crestview Minimax; and other neighbors for sharing what they know about Central Austin streets. Online and printed sources of information include Ancestry.com, Austin History Center, City of Austin, and U. S. Federal Census, among others.