Neighbors-in-History, Part 3

Final blog post in this series, in which we introduce a few special neighbors-in-history who have contributed to our sense of place here. (See links for more info.)

ERNEST WALTER WUPPERMAN (1907-1986) owned a veterinary practice on today’s North Lamar, north of Old Koenig Lane, from 1941-1976. Veterinarians H. M. Spangler and his son S. C. Spangler bought the business from Dr. Wupperman in 1976, when he retired. For many years it was called the Wupperman-Spangler Animal Clinic. There also is a Wupperman Addition northwest of Lamar and Old Koenig Lane. Dr. Wupperman’s widow, Elizabeth Knox Rowe Wupperman, passed away on April 19, 2012.

In the early 1940s, Dr. Wupperman purchased property from DR. JOSEPH S. KOENIG (1885-1951). In 1947, Dr. Koenig and CLARENCE McCULLOUGH (1898-1992) began developing Violet Crown Heights in Brentwood, from Payne to Ruth. (See their promotional flyer here, and read the stories of Karen, Koenig, Leralynn, and Ruth streets here.)

Last but not least, FRANK OWEN RICHCREEK (1872-1942) owned land north and west of today’s Justin Lane and North Lamar and adjacent to what was then the James Daugherty Doxey property to the north, up to today’s Anderson Lane. In 1947, his farm began to be developed as the Crestview neighborhood.

RichcreekWest2.jpgThe first section, Crestview Addition No. 1, is between West St. Johns and Justin Lane (including property on the south side of Justin between Reese and Hardy). Richcreek Road, left, developed later in Crestview, is named for the family. Crestview’s northern boundary today is the south side of Anderson Lane.

Former Brentwood neighbor Al Kirby, who moved with his family to a farm on North St. about 1940, remembered meeting Mr. Richcreek and describes him as a “fine old gentleman.” Richcreek let him sit on his barn to watch movies at Eddie Joseph’s North Austin Drive-in, which opened in 1940 on the southwest corner of today’s Justin and Lamar and south of the Richcreek farm. Crestview neighbor John Carlson remembers passing by Richcreek’s large red barn when his family came in to Austin from their farm south of Georgetown in the 1930s and the northern limits of Austin was 45th Street. (More of John’s story here.)

Frank Richcreek’s ancestors were from Indiana. He was born in Missouri and his wife, Julia Ann Miller, in Indiana, where they married in 1896. All four of their children—Florence Opal (1898-1995), Ruby Rebecca (1902-1993), Dale Owen (1908-1939), and Galen Burdette (1919-2006)—were born in Indiana.

In the early 1920s, the Richcreek family moved to Hidalgo County, Texas, where Frank helped establish the town of Weslaco. The Richcreek home in Weslaco was designed by daughter Ruby in a California bungalow style and built by her father in 1923. (You can see an image of it here.)

By 1930, Frank and Julia Richcreek were living in Travis County (see the 1930 census image, right). Frank purchased 170 acres of land in 1931 and built a home soon after just north and west of today’s Justin and Lamar. Back then, it was beyond the Austin city limits. The house was set back from the road and had a long driveway.

The Richcreeks’ daughter Florence was an early teacher in the Weslaco, Texas, schools. In 1930, Florence, her first husband Monte Zuma Walker, and their daughter Elaine farmed near her parents north of Austin. Later she was a teacher at the one-room Cypress School in Cedar Park, Texas, near an 800-acre ranch owned by Monte and her. (You can read an oral history interview with Florence here.)

Ruby married James Kimbrough Eichelberger Sr., who, like Frank, was born in Missouri. In the 1940s, Ruby was president of Capitol City Lumber Company. Its first location was on West 5th Street in Austin; a second location was just south of the rail line, at the site of the former Walker Tire, and property to the west of it. It later became Capitol Prefabricators Inc. In 1947, the Eichelbergers established ABC Blind & Drapery at 6221 North Lamar in Austin; their daughter Marjorie (Margie) and her husband Edgar Sanders Daugherty later owned it. The Marjorie and Edgar’s former son-in-law operates it as of 2016.

Dale named his son and only child Frank Owen Richcreek, after his father. In 1939, Dale and another man, Lee B. Ragsdale, died in an accident as they dug a well on Dale’s property, near the intersection of Martin Luther King Junior and Airport boulevards in Austin, and it collapsed.

That year, Galen had a farm just north of the railroad, in the vicinity of today’s Crestview Station, west of the intersection of Airport and Lamar boulevards. Frank’s farm was just south of the railroad, according to the 1939 Austin city directory. Galen later became a policeman in Dallas and then moved to Kerrville, Texas, where he died.

In 1942, Frank and Julia’s address was 6610 Georgetown Road (also called the Dallas Highway), near the intersection of Justin and Lamar. It was between the North Austin Drive-in (site of today’s Walgreen’s) at 6600 and Granny’s restaurant and nightclub (near the former Walker Tire) at 6616. (The numbers don’t match what is there today.) Frank had sold some of his property to Granville C. (Granny) Harber for his restaurant, which was described in a March 1942 newspaper ad as “a better place to dine and dance and spend an evening in recreation.” (Granny Harber later owned Chez Orleans, a popular seafood restaurant in Houston.)

Early Thanksgiving morning in November 1942, an early morning fire broke out at Granny’s. Frank was outside, between his house and the restaurant, and accidentally came in contact with a downed power line. He died instantly. Julia inherited the Richcreek property and sold some of it to Ruby and her husband. In 1947, the Austin Development Company (A. B. Beddow, President) purchased most of it. Justin Lane was built between North Lamar Boulevard and Burnet Road, and the Crestview neighborhood began to be developed. Julia Richcreek later moved to West Austin to live closer to her daughter, Ruby; she died in 1967. Julia is buried in Austin Memorial Park Cemetery, along with her husband, daughters Florence and Ruby and their husbands, and son Dale.

Ruby and James Eichelberger kept some of the original Richcreek farm when the rest was sold in 1947, including the land bordered by Justin, North Lamar, the railroad, and homes on the east side of Reese. The Eichelbergers owned two companies there, first the Capitol Lumber Company and then Capitol Prefabricators Inc., which was heavily damaged by fire in July 1947.

In September 2014, Marjorie (Margie) Eichelberger Daugherty visited a home at 1405 Justin Lane and confirmed that it was the original farmhouse of her grandparents, Frank Owen and Julia Ann Miller Richcreek. It was originally built in the early 1930s near the northwest corner of North Lamar Boulevard and Justin Lane on the Richcreek farm. It survived the nearby Capitol Prefabricators fire in July 1947 and was moved to 1405 Justin Lane in November of that year.

As of 2015, the Richcreeks’ granddaughter still owned property on the northwest corner of Lamar and Justin, near where the Richcreek home once stood.

Coming soon—more Voices of the Violet Crown!

Copyright 2015 Susan Burneson. All rights reserved.

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