Cedar Park 50th Anniversary
Cedar Park Celebrating 50 Years
The City of Cedar Park officially marked its 50th anniversary of incorporation on February 24, 2023. All year long, we're celebrating who Cedar Park is today and the exciting future that lies ahead. We also pause to reflect on what brought us to this golden milestone.
Cedar Park is a vibrant, multi-faceted diverse community of around 84,000 residents living in the City limits and more than 103,000 people in Cedar Park’s service area.
As you'll see in our 50th anniversary video below, our community has been able to hang on to its small-town connectedness and natural beauty – while sowing the seeds of innovation.
Enjoy these City of Cedar Park Flickr Photo Albums of our 50th Anniversary Celebrations so far, and keep checking back for more throughout the year!.
Fun Facts About Cedar Park
- Median age: 34.74 years
- Bachelor’s Degree or higher: 51.21%
- Percent of residents born in another country: 14%
Cedar Park is named after an actual park!
- 46 City-maintained parks
- 1,000 acres of City-maintained parkland
- 34 miles of trails
Education & Schools
Cedar Park is a highly-educated community, with more than half of all residents holding a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. That number grows each year, and it’s one of the many things that makes Cedar Park such a popular destination for employers. Cedar Park is also home to two recognized school districts: Leander ISD and Round Rock ISD, as well as the Austin Community College Cypress Creek Campus. Plus we;re a short commute from several major colleges and universities.
Cedar Park’s priority on education contributes to our high quality of life, and this commitment dates back centuries.
In the 1860s, early residents built a log school house where Leander ISD’s Cypress Creek Elementary School now stands. The nearby community of Running Brushy also had a school, seen in the above 1879 photo of some students with their teacher.
In 1923, Cedar Park and Block House Schools merged to form the Whitestone School, which once stood at the northwest corner of Bell and Whitestone Boulevards. It was built of the area’s plentiful limestone.
Cedar Park is the Area's Next Major Employment Hub
Cedar Park is situated in both Williamson and Travis Counties. Directly bordering Austin, Cedar Park is the metro area’s next major employment hub. Cedar Park is also home to entrepreneurial businesses, tech and clean energy startups and even an aerospace company – not to mention endless shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities.
Cedar Park Regional Medical Center, a Seton Family of Hospitals Partner, has served as the community’s healthcare provider since opening in 2007. It’s a 126-bed facility with more than 700 healthcare professionals to serve inpatient, outpatient, surgical and emergency care needs.
The City of Cedar Park-owned H-E-B Center is an entertainment venue that’s home professional sports teams including the Texas Stars (AHL affiliates of the NHL’s Dallas Stars) and the NBA G-League Austin Spurs, affiliates of the San Antonio Spurs NBA team.
The City of Cedar Park’s most ambitious project is now underway – in an area that was once Cedar Park’s original “downtown” – and the very spot where Cedar Park’s founders George and Harriet Cluck lived starting in 1873. The Bell District along Bell Boulevard between Buttercup Creek Boulevard and Park Street is being redeveloped into a walkable, mixed use development and community gathering place. It will be anchored by the Cedar Park Public Library, now under construction and set to open in 2024. How will Cedar Park look in the next 50 years? We know the best is yet to come – and we’re confident we’ll have a community that’s as friendly, vibrant and connected as we are now.
A Brief History of Cedar Park
At the time Cedar Park was incorporated in 1973, it was largely rural. Only about 700 residents lived in Cedar Park. Several hundred residents had petitioned for the community to incorporate as an actual city.
The City of Cedar Park officially incorporated on February 24, 1973. In April that year, Mayor Kenneth Bell and Aldermen (later to be called City Council Members) Buzz Henry, Don Webster, John Dixon, Bonnie (Hunt) Merrill, and Sam Blair were sworn in outside Shellnut’s Grocery at Cedar Park Plaza. Bell Boulevard is named after our first Mayor.
Mayor Bell and the City of Cedar Park Aldermen held their first official meeting May 1, 1973 at Rosie’s Café, close to the current location of Austin Telco Federal Credit Union on North Bell Boulevard.
The Cedar Park community existed long before it was incorporated as a city in 1973. For tens of thousands of years, on through the 1800s, Native Americans lived amongst our springs, creeks, caves, hills and rocky terrain. Evidence of Spaniards’ entrance into the area dates to the late 1600s.
In 1836, the Texas frontier defense force known as the Texas Rangers built and occupied an outpost just north of Cedar Park. Captain John J. Tumlinson and his men built a fort, which became known as Tumlinson Fort, Block House Spring, and Block House Fort. The Texas Rangers eventually vacated the fort and it was burned down by Comanches. After Texas’ independence was won, much of the land in the area was deeded to those who served in the military or helped provide war supplies.
Pioneers, primarily the Dodd, McRae, and Crumley families, came here in the 1840s and formed the communities of Running Brushy and Doddboro. Doddboro was eventually named Doddville, then Buttercup. Buttercup had a cotton gin, store, and post office.
The old Buttercup townsite is now under water behind the conservation dam just west of US 183 and Avery Ranch Boulevard.
New Hope Baptist Church was founded as part of the early settlement of the Cedar Park area. Originally situated at the head waters of Blockhouse Creek, services were likely held there as early as 1848---though it was not formally chartered until 1868. It was rebuilt several times and is now located at US 183 and New Hope Road. The church’s cemetery holds more than 70 unmarked graves, along with many others with headstones that mark the names of well-known early residents of the community.
George Washington Cluck and his wife Harriet “Hattie” came to the area in 1873, arriving in Running Brushy on 329 acres situated at the head waters of Brushy Creek. The Cluck home was located on what the land that’s now being developed as the Bell District, at the northwest corner of Bell and Buttercup Creek Boulevards. The Clucks’ community had a post office, and in 1874, Hattie Cluck became the community’s first postmistress.
Much of the land around Cedar Park today was once part of the Cluck Ranch. The community was renamed “Brueggerhoff” after a railroad official, then in 1887, “Cedar Park.”
By that time, the Austin and Northwestern Railroad ran through Cedar Park. Emmett had a store built on the east side of the railroad, and built his home near the store. When the Cluck Family sold to the railroad some land that was next to Emmett’s home, they stipulated that a portion of it be made into a park. The park was situated along the railroad tracks at what is now Brushy Creek Road. It is said to have been fully landscaped, complete with benches along walking paths. With its park, the bustling community also had a school/church, post office/store, railroad foreman’s house, and railroad depot, and became a popular weekend travel destination for Austin folks who wanted to visit “the country.”
The old Northwest Railroad trestle that runs over Brushy Creek just south of Brushy Creek Sports Park (seen in photos above) is a reminder of Cedar Park’s rich railroad history and pioneer spirit. Several large granite blocks rest underneath it. They were to have been used in the rebuilding of the State Capitol in 1886, but never made it to Austin. Thirty-six blocks of granite fell from 18 train cars, but engineer Charlie Enlow somehow managed to keep the train on track.
Cedar: What’s in a Name?
Cedar Park is appropriately named, as it not only had a “park,” but was also home to an abundance of mountain cedar trees. The trees, prolific throughout the region today, are not believed to be native to the area but are thought to have been tracked here by horses and other livestock moving through the area. Nonetheless, cedar posts became a popular industry here in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as settlers sought to fence their stakes of rural land with cedar posts and newly-invented barbed wire. George Cluck and neighboring entrepreneur J.W. Boatright in nearby Leander, saw an opportunity and opened cedar yards, where they made and sold cedar posts.
Cedar Park Rocks!
Limestone and other rock have been quarried in the area since the early 1850s but the industry really took off in 1897, when Cedar Park became the heaviest freight loader between Austin and Llano. Cedar Park was also the only source in the United States for shell stone, which is found in many notable buildings throughout the country. George and Harriett Cluck's son Emmett is seen advertising his limestone quarrying business in the photo below.
Cedar Park On Track
Cedar Park is proud of its railroad heritage. The railroad obviously played an integral part of the development of Cedar Park. Not only was Cedar Park a popular destination park and rail stop during the 1800s, we’re home to the Austin Steam Train Association. While passenger service along the line was discontinued in about 1937, the Austin Steam Train Association provides weekend excursions from Cedar Park to the Texas Hill Country via the Hill Country Flyer.
A History of City Services
Water, Wastewater, & Roads
One of the primary responsibilities of a city is to provide water and wastewater access as well as road infrastructure for its citizens.
The Cedar Park you see today looks quite different from how it looked 50 years ago, thanks in large part to something you don’t see: a complex network of water and wastewater lines that run underground, throughout the City. It all started in the 1960s, prior to the City incorporating, a group of residents formed the Cedar Park Water Service Corporation. It took then-rural residents off of well water and onto a shared water distribution system. Ensuring water for future generations and preparing Cedar Park for future growth have remained top priorities throughout the decades, as we joined to two regional systems in the 1990s: the Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority and the Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater System.
In addition to water and wastewater, roads are a key part of Cedar Park’s infrastructure that positioned us for success.
The Engineering & Capital Projects Department is responsible for all aspects of public roadway design and stormwater drainage program and as the construction and design and construction of City facilities. The Public Works Department is responsible for the development and maintenance of the City’s water and wastewater infrastructure and consists of several divisions ranging from streets, traffic signals and fleet vehicles maintenance, to water distribution, wastewater, the pumps and motors that power these systems, utility conservation programs and more. Without all of these parts of the City of Cedar Park functioning together like a fine-tuned machine, we would literally not have a city.
The Cedar Park Fire Department began as the Cedar Park Volunteer Fire Department on May 5, 1972 – almost a year prior to the City of Cedar Park’s incorporation as a City. It has evolved into a full-time, career fire department, maintaining Accredited Status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and the City’s ISO 1 Rating, the highest rating the Insurance Services Office. The Fire Department actually started in a barn on private property with one fire truck – then later built the community’s first fire station along Bell Boulevard.
Station One relocated to Brushy Creek Road in 2010. The Cedar Park Fire Department now has five fire stations and 88 full-time firefighters and 5 civilians now serving Cedar Park. the Cedar Park Fire Department has continually worked to improve and enhance its service to the community. The Fire Department also continues its auto-aid agreement, in which several area Fire Departments assist one another in response when needed. In 2022, started new “squad deployment” for certain calls, such as medical calls, to enhance response times. This basically means “right-sizing” the response with a smaller “squad” crew in a smaller-scale vehicle for minor calls.
The Cedar Park Police Department began in 1773 with a police chief and one patrolman. The City’s first Police Chief David Hansmire is seen in this photo with the City’s first police car, a 1972 green Ford sedan. The first police department was located in a 10 x 20-foot portable metal storage building located on US 183. After a few larger locations through the years, the Cedar Park Police Department settled into their current location at 911 Quest Pkwy., opened in 2004. It was expanded in 2018.
The Cedar Park Police Department now has a staff of 108 sworn police officers and 41 civilians serving the community. The Fiscal Year 2023 Budget established a Police Mental Health Unit, staffed with specially-trained mental health Police Officers and mental health professionals from Bluebonnet Trails. CPPD won 1st in the State and 5th in the Nation for its 2022 National Night Out, and maintained Accredited Status with the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation (CALEA) and Recognized Agency Status with the Texas Police Chiefs Association.
The Cedar Park Library has been around for most of the City’s history, starting in 1981 in a small storefront in Cedar Park Plaza on Bell Boulevard, then relocating that same year to a former washateria space in the area now being redeveloped as the Bell District.
The Cedar Park Public Library is “coming home” to one of its original spaces, as it will be the main anchor for the Bell District, a multi-use development and community gathering space. The City of Cedar Park broke ground on the Cedar Park Public Library in the Bell District in early 2023. It will be a two-story, state-of-the-art facility featuring two makerspaces (places to make things), outdoor reading porches and more – all surrounded by majestic heritage trees. This unique indoor-outdoor Library facility is planned to open in 2024.
Meanwhile, the Library in its current facility on Discovery Boulevard remains the most frequently-visited City facility in Cedar Park. It boasts more than 243,000 visits per year and nearly 1 million materials checked out each year. This represents an estimated $750-per-person savings and more than $16 million savings community-wide each year!
True to our roots as an actual park, the City of Cedar Park has a lot of park space! Cedar Park is proud to have 46 City-maintained parks spanning 1,000 City-owned parkland, along with 34 miles of trails.
Our parks host some our best times together as a community throughout the year, including our July 4th Celebration and Fireworks and the Tree Lighting & Santa’s Wonderland. The City began construction in 2023 to expand its trails system with the Brushy Creek North Fork Trail, which starts just southeast of Parmer Lane and Whitestone Boulevard and will connect to the Brushy Creek Regional Trail.
Fun parks facts
The giant live oak tree located at Heritage Oak Park at Quest and Discovery Boulevards is believed to be more than 400 years old. This majestic tree stands more than 50 feet tall and has a spread of more than 80 feet. The trunk diameter is more than 50 inches and its circumference is more than 13 feet. Each year, the City of Cedar Park kicks off the holiday season by lighting the tree with more than 60,000 lights at the Tree Lighting & Santa’s Wonderland.
Buttercup was a community formed in the mid-1800s by Benjamin Thomas "Doc" Crumley and his wife LuLu Riffe Crumley (below). Doc Crumley was revered throughout the area as an excellent physician and often consulted by doctors in Austin. The former Buttercup town site is located in what is now Lakeline Park. It has been under water since 1959, when the Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District built Dam 6.
Cedar Park’s 50th Anniversary Celebration continues throughout the year, with fun family activities and at several upcoming community events. Keep checking here for new information and updates.
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