Zilker Metropolitan Park – Austin TX


Zilker Metropolitan Park is located at the confluence of Barton Creek and the Colorado River in Austin, Texas. The 351 acre park is administered by the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and is considered “Austin’s most-loved park.” Starting in 1917, local businessman Andew Jackson Zilker began donating land to the Austin School Board with the stipulation that the City of Austin purchase the land from the school board for use as a park. The money would then be used to create the Zilker Permanent Fund, an endowment fund for industrial education and home economics training in the schools.

Architect Charles H. Page designed the overall development plan for Zilker Park in 1933. Page also secured support and $94,000 in funding from the Civil Works Administration (CWA) to build the park. CWA personnel built the Art Deco style entrance gate, the bath house facility, and the Zilker Clubhouse. In the spring of 1934, the Zilker Park project was put under control of the National Parks Service through the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). CCC Company 1814 laid out roads, cleared land, and built picnic tables, barbecue pits and two rustic light standards at the entrance to the pool area. The National Youth Administration (NYA) also did work in the park between 1936 and 1938. The NYA cleaned up and repaired damage to the park caused by floods in 1935 and 1936. Per notations on the back of a contemporaneous photo, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) contributed to improvements to the park’s lily pond.

Source notes



Project originally submitted by Larry Moore, Lawrence da Silva on March 19, 2014.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

2201 Barton Springs Rd
Austin, Texas 78746

Location notes: General location marker for park

Coordinates: 30.266574, -97.768864

4 comments on “Zilker Metropolitan Park – Austin TX

  1. Lawrence da Silva

    Greetings! I’m Lawrence da Silva. I’m currently researching the various 1930’s-era projects in Zilker Park. In particular, I’m unable to find useful information regarding the lily pond(s) that were built in 1935. I recently discovered a photo online (from the Austin History Center Collections) taken of a rock-walled pond, with the following caption: ” Photograph of the pool at Zilker Park. Inscription on back of photo reads “Lily Ponds built w/relief labor (WPA) 1935 Annual Report”.
    I saw no mention in your interesting website that mentions the WPA…only the CCC & NYA’s involvement in the Park’s projects. I am sharing the link to that photograph so maybe it will assist your organization in procuring more detailed info about this pond.
    Thank you in advance. Lawrence
    My email is: [email protected]
    Link to Photo: https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123871/

    • Gabriel Milner

      Thank you for passing this information alone and for supplementing the source we already have listed. This is an important addition! I’ve included the photo and the mention of the WPA in the entry for the site and have also credited you for this.

  2. I’ve discovered in some family documents a work history record for my grandfather. From Jan. 1934 to April 1934 he states he was fully responsible for the construction of a 160 acre park including stone dam, swimming pool, bathing facilities, water and sewer lines. His supervisor was Ed. A. Baugh, state director of engineering and construction. He never names the park but it must be Zilker. I would love any information or resources.

    • Gabriel Milner

      You may want to take a look at Ren and Helen Davis’s Our Mark on This Land: A Guide to the Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in America’s Parks.

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