Narration: A Community Mosaic

Copyright 2008, Susan Burneson. All rights reserved.


[IMAGES: baby with Duz detergent, kids with ice cream truck, Ronnie Prellop and band, girl twirling baton]

The people of Brentwood and Crestview are the real heart of this neighborhood’s history.

[IMAGES: Neighbors featured in the film]

[VIDEO: Bill Williamson’s “Lord willin’” story]

Our community has more stories than there are mosaic pieces on our amazing Wall of Welcome.

[VIDEO: Scan of Wall of Welcome]

Hancock Creek, which we know today as Arroyo Seco, was named for Austin Judge John Hancock, who owned 600 acres right here.

[IMAGES: Photos of Hancock Creek and Judge Hancock]

In the late 1800s, a railroad was built through the northeast corner of what is now Crestview.

[IMAGES: Maps showing the railroad route]

There was a train stop called Abercrombie near the new Capital Metro rail station at Justin and Lamar.

[IMAGE: Maps showing Abercrombie]

Along that same track, trains ran from Marble Falls to Austin, carrying “Sunset Red” granite for the new State Capitol, which was completed in 1888.

[IMAGE: Photo of State Capitol]

Threadgill’s on North Lamar has been around since 1933, when Kenneth Threadgill opened a gas station and beer joint. Back then, it was beyond the Austin city limits, which was 45th St.

[IMAGES: Threadgill’s Wall of Welcome mosaic and photographs]

Thirty years later, a young folk singer named Janis Joplin got her start there.

[IMAGE: Threadgill and Janis Joplin]

By 1939, Brentwood had been developed all the way up to Koenig Lane.

[IMAGE: Map of Brentwood]

Over the years, the street we know as North Lamar has had other names, too: State Highway 1, Lower Georgetown Road, U.S. Highway 81, Fiskville Road, and the Dallas Highway.

[IMAGE: Man with street signs]

In the 1940s, Alfred B. Beddow Jr. and Ray Yates began developing Crestview. Justin Lane was named for A. B.’s wife. Cullen Avenue was named for her brother.

[IMAGES: A. B., Ray, and Justin]

Clarence McCullough and Dr. Joseph S. Koenig developed Violet Crown Heights and the Violet Crown Shopping Center in Brentwood.

[IMAGES: Violet Crown Heights flyer, map of Violet Crown Heights

After World War II, more and more young families moved to Brentwood and Crestview, and the landscape began to change from mostly farmland and wide open spaces to neat rows of well-kept homes.

[VIDEO: Girl riding bike and waving]

[IMAGES: Koenig Lane as country road and overview of Brentwood streets]

[VIDEO: Kay Ramsey talking about her family’s house on Ruth Avenue]

[VIDEO: Cost of homes]

It’s hard to imagine now, but people moving here in the 40s and 50s could see the Violet Crown hills to the west, where Far West is today.

[IMAGE: Photo of girl and boy on Dartmouth Avenue in 1956, with hills in background, and no trees]

The new homeowners began to plant oak, sycamore, pecan, magnolia, and elm trees.

[IMAGES: Photo of girl and woman by pecan tree in 1950s, and same image as mosaic on Wall of Welcome]

[VIDEO: Emory Muehlbrad’s elm tree story]

In Brentwood Park, the Waggoners and other families planted sycamores they found along Onion Creek and have maintained them for many years.

[VIDEO: Trees in Brentwood Park and children swinging]

Kay Ramsey’s dad, Gladstone Swenson, was a popular mailman in the neighborhood. And, he was known for the flowers, vegetables, and pecan trees he grew in the family’s large backyard.

[IMAGES: Gladstone Swenson and flowers]

[VIDEO: Kay’s story about Gladstone’s grafting, growing, selling pecans.]

In 1952, Brentwood Elementary opened.

[IMAGE: Mosaic from Wall of Welcome showing children in front of school]

[VIDEO: Beverly Lester talking about being in the first class and also being a longtime kindergarten teacher there.]

The young families found lots of ways to have fun in the neighborhood. [VIDEO: Girl swimming]

[VIDEO: Stories of fun by Sylvia “Scooter” Rushing, Wanda and Emory Muehlbrad, Beverly Lester]

Beverly’s son was Ryder Schwartz.

[VIDEO: Beverly talking about how Ryder learned to juggle on the sidewalk outside their home]

He later became known as “Red Ryder” and performed around the world and at Esther’s Follies here in Austin.

[VIDEO: Ryder juggling]

Drive-ins were popular, no matter what age you were.

[IMAGES: Mosaic for Chief Drive-in]

In 1940, Eddie Joseph opened the first one in Austin on the southwest corner of Justin and Lamar. The Chief was on the southeast corner of Lamar and Koenig from 1946 to 1973. There were others where Burnet Road Storage and Hobby Lobby on Anderson Lane are today.

[VIDEO: Ronnie Prellop talking about going to Eddie Joseph’s drive-in on Saturday nights]

Crestview Shopping Center was built in 1952 by A. B. Beddow and Ray Yates.

[VIDEO: Ronnie Prellop talking about the shopping center and Maude Yates.]

Maude Yates was in the Violet Crown Garden Club, and her azaleas were a favorite stop on the spring garden tour.

[IMAGE: Azaleas in front yard of the Yates home on the southeast corner of Richcreek and Woodrow]

The Prellop family has owned Minimax for 55 years.

[IMAGE: Herb Prellop and his children inside Minimax]

Since the beginning, the Prellops have hired local teenagers as checkers and baggers, and they still carry groceries to your car.

[VIDEOS: Girl carrying groceries for older lady and Kay Ramsey talking about going to the shopping center]

Bill Williamson created the 8-foot-wide metal star installed at the top of the State Capitol rotunda in 1958.

[IMAGE: Star]

[VIDEO: Bill talking about what it meant to him to create the star]

He remembers the ways Herb Prellop was a good neighbor to the community, and to him. It’s one reason he still shops there.

[IMAGE: Herb Prellop giving keys to woman who won the truck in a Minimax contest]

[VIDEO: Bill talks about how Herb was a good neighbor.]

J. D. Harper has owned and operated the Crestview Pharmacy since 1964.

[IMAGE: J. D., wife Imogene, and sons Jerry and David]

Sabrina Becker, who owned Perfecto Cleaners, and Lucretia Doyer, who owned Little Deli, are famous for always remembering customers’ names. It’s something they learned from their parents, Joyce and A. J. Custer, who owned the dry cleaners after A. J.’s parents, Dora and Felix Custer.

[IMAGES: Sabrina and Lucretia; Joyce and A. J., and Dora and Felix]

The Crestview Beauty Salon opened in 1953. Owner Kathy Dunn has worked there 37 years.

[IMAGES: Outside of beauty salon and Kathy styling a lady’s hair inside]

The Crestview Barber Shop also opened in 1953. Kenneth Threadgill was good friends with barber and musician Roger Beck. Roger’s late wife Margie sang with Threadgill.

[IMAGES: Staff at barber shop, close-up of Roger as a barber, photo of Roger with his band, and photo of Margie and Threadgill]

Well into the 1950s, the streets here were mostly dirt and gravel.

[IMAGE: Woodrow Avenue, looking north from West 49th St.]

Beverly Lester’s dad, C. H. Lester, helped grade the streets.

[IMAGE: C. H. and others]

[VIDEOS: Beverly talking about her father’s work and Wanda and Emory Muehlbrad talking about the challenges of gravel streets and getting them paved]

Mr. McKown, who lived on the southwest corner of Richcreek and Woodrow, did the paving.

[IMAGE: McKown House, taken 2008; it was demolished in 2014]

Howard Pringle built houses in the neighborhood, including one owned by the Griffin family since 1953.

[IMAGE: Griffin House mosaic on the Wall of Welcome]

Our neighborhood is home to more than a dozen churches. Over the past five years, many of them celebrated 50th anniversaries and are still going strong.

[IMAGES: Faith Lutheran, Crestview Methodist, others]

Walls can separate people . . .

[IMAGE: Blank brick wall where the Wall of Welcome would later be installed]

. . . and they can show us how important community really is.

[VIDEO: Jean and helpers working on the Wall of Welcome, 2008, and Scooter Rushing driving by Wall of Welcome and honking, a regular occurrence as the wall was being installed]

More than five years ago, Jean Graham had a dream of creating a Wall of Welcome for our neighborhood.

[VIDEO: Jean telling story of her vision of the wall.]

Over the past five years, making the wall a reality has brought neighbors together . . .

[IMAGE: Jean and friends beginning the Wall of Welcome installation]

. . . from the Violet Crown Festival . . .

[IMAGES: Smiling woman and child and people looking at history display at the festival]

. . . to making tiles . . .

[IMAGES: People making tiles at workshops]

. . . to working side-by-side with Jean at the wall.

[IMAGE: Jean working at wall and Bill Williamson visiting]

It has given us a chance to share something of our lives—whether we’ve lived here less than a year or half a century.

[IMAGES: Close-ups of tile images, including the Muehlbrads’, and people working at wall]

[VIDEO: Scooter Rushing and Ronnie Prellop talking about the value of the wall]

It has shown us that good neighbors hold a community together and keep it strong.

[IMAGES: Finn and Jack Holt, Barbara King, and Louise Cooke]

[VIDEO: Final pan of Wall of Welcome . . .]

And, as Brentwood and Crestview grow, the Wall of Welcome will help us remember that together we can create something positive, something with meaning, something we know will last.

[IMAGES: Two young women and baby having picnic at wall, young man with dog, Barbara King’s granddaughter Mia, smiling woman]

[VIDEO: Scan of right side of wall, ending with shot of Domino the Pig and the words “Welcome to the Neighborhood!”]

[MUSIC: Begin Vanita Trippe singing “Jubilee,” as Howard says . . . ]

Welcome to our Neighborhood!


A Community Mosaic

A Film by Rob and Susan Burneson

Narrator: Howard Bennett

Thanks to Ken Burchenal for permission to use his song “Jubilee” under the closing credits

Performed by Bellevue Jubilee (Bellevue 6)

Lead vocals by Vanita Trippe

Special thanks to Horizon Film & Video, Kelly Greene, and Byron Meade

For sharing their stories and pictures thanks to

Amy Beaman and Christina and Callie Cicack who had a picnic at the Wall of Welcome

Sabrina Becker and Lucretia Doyer, daughters of Joyce and A. J. Custer, granddaughters of Dora and Felix Custer

Roger Beck, Diane Bennett, Pam Jacks, and Jarrod Papen, Crestview Barber Shop

Doug Beran, nephew of Alfred B. and Justin H. Beddow, and Vicki Beran

Tim Carr

Tom Clark

Louise Cooke

Kathy Dunn, Crestview Beauty Salon

Lucy Flores

J. D., Imogene, Jerry, and David Harper, Crestview Pharmacy

Billie Herron

Michele, Jack, and Finnigan Holt

Meghan Kammlah

Barbara King, granddaughter Mia Jane Arredondo, Chris Glenn

Martha King and Beverly Lester, daughter of C. H. and Emily Lester

Cecile Lynch

Sandra Miron

Emory and Wanda Muehlbrad, parents of four children and foster parents of hundreds more

Ronnie Prellop, son of Herb and Marion Prellop, Crestview Minimax

Kay Ramsey, daughter of Gladstone and Erma Swenson

Sylvia “Scooter” Rushing, daughter of Jim and Cathryn Rushing

Jackie Smith, daughter of Jack and Mary Alexander, owners of Alexanders Nursery

Linda Donnell Wageck

Mae Waggoner

Trisha Whiteside

Bill and Ginny Williamson and their children Monroe, Doreen, and Joseph (Moe, Doe, and Joe)

For her dream of creating a Wall of Welcome her dedication to making it a reality, and everything it has meant to the Brentwood/Crestview community, thanks to Jean Graham

For their permission to use maps and photos, thanks to Austin History Center and General Land Office, Austin, Texas

For its support of A Community Mosaic, thanks to Violet Crown Community Works, Austin, Texas

Violet Crown Community Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization helping build and sustain community in Brentwood and Crestview by supporting neighborhood enhancement projects, including the Wall of Welcome and the Violet Crown Festival.

VCCW Board, 2007-2008:

Shayla Fleshman, President

Jorge Garcia, Vice President

Barbara Zimmerman, Treasurer

Vanita Trippe, Secretary

Diane Bennett

Christy Berry

Mike McChesney

Anne Rogers, Past President

Susan Burneson

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