East Cesar Chavez

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The East César Chávez neighborhood is among Austin's oldest. Many of its homes were built in the early 20th century. Their turn-of-the-century homes were more modest versions of the ornate Victorian houses seen elsewhere in the city.

The area north of Third Street and south of Sixth Street, from Waller to Chicon, was originally settled by freed slaves following the Emancipation Proclamation. It was originally called Masontown, or Masonville, after brothers Sam and Raiford who bought the property in 1867. At one time the community had two Baptist churches and as many as 200 residents. By the 1980s, however, Masonville was no longer identifiable as a distinct neighborhood. Like contemporary settlements elsewhere in Austin Clarksville and Wheatville, the area around Masonville today bears few traces of its original population.

In 1999 the City of Austin adopted a new "Neighborhood Plan" for East César Chávez. One of the hallmarks of this was the promotion of mixed-use development, in a neighborhood dominated by single-family homes. New mixed-use properties were built throughout the 2000s in accordance with the plan, which had a gentrifying effect on the neighborhood. According to the City of Austin's Department of Planning, property value in East Austin's 78702 ZIP code increase more than 100 percent from 2000 to 2005.


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