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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Austin in Williamson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Cedar Chopping in Central Texas

 
 
Cedar Chopping in Central Texas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith Peterson, June 24, 2018
1. Cedar Chopping in Central Texas Marker
Inscription.  Soon after Texas became a republic in 1836, the government divided land in this area for settlement. Ample timber, fresh water sources and wildlife attracted many to establish communities along Brushy Creek. The Legislature organized these settlements in the creation of Williamson County, carved from Milam County in 1848.

During the 1850s, most pioneer area families operated small farms or businesses, and cattle ranching began to grow in the area. In the 1870s and 1880s, following economic hardships of the Civil War, Texas cattle ranchers began to drive stock through this area to markets outside the state. Residents also turned to cotton production, the raising of sheep and goats, and the harvesting of ashe juniper, known locally as cedar.

With four rail lines built through the county by the 1890s, residents utilized the railroad for shipping products, including cedar ties for rail line construction. The wood was also used for fence posts, roofing shingles, foundation piers and telephone poles, as well as the manufacture of cedar charcoal, which had a variety of commercial applications.

The term cedar chopper
Cedar Chopping in Central Texas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard Denney, May 21, 2021
2. Cedar Chopping in Central Texas Marker
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applied to harvesters and their families, who moved from camp to camp for their work. Cedar chopping was a significant factor in the development of the county and its economy well into the twentieth century. It supported charcoal kilns, timber yards and camps, such as one located at this site, leased from 1905 to 1908 by A.F. Martin & Brother. Site investigations here indicated archeological remains of a temporary camp and dugout structure. Today, the impact of cedar choppers and their work is apparent in the successful communities throughout the area, which developed in part because of their industry.
 
Erected 2005 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13201.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil.
 
Location. 30° 29.086′ N, 97° 47.473′ W. Marker is in Austin, Texas, in Williamson County. Marker is on Staked Plains Blvd., on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Austin TX 78717, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pond Springs Cemetery (approx. 1.2 miles away); Granite for the State Capitol (approx. 1.4 miles away); Cedar Park Cemetery (approx. 2.6 miles away); Champion Cemetery
Cedar Chopping in Central Texas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith Peterson, June 24, 2018
3. Cedar Chopping in Central Texas Marker
Wide-area view of marker.
(approx. 2.8 miles away); Cypress School (approx. 3 miles away); Pond Springs Community and School (approx. 3.1 miles away); Cedar Park (approx. 3.1 miles away); Jollyville Community and School (approx. 3˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Austin.
 
Also see . . .  The Cedar Choppers: Life On the Edge of Nothing. Ken Robert's book is an excellent overview of the history of cedar chopping in Travis County discussed on this marker. (Submitted on May 21, 2021, by Richard Denney of Austin, Texas.) 
 
Cedar Chopping in Central Texas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard Denney, May 21, 2021
4. Cedar Chopping in Central Texas Marker
This view includes Staked Plains Boulevard to the left and Avery Northwoods Amenity Center on the right.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 24, 2018, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas. This page has been viewed 192 times since then and 22 times this year. Last updated on May 21, 2021, by Richard Denney of Austin, Texas. Photos:   1. submitted on June 24, 2018, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas.   2. submitted on May 21, 2021, by Richard Denney of Austin, Texas.   3. submitted on June 24, 2018, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas.   4. submitted on May 21, 2021, by Richard Denney of Austin, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 23, 2021