The national Register of Historic Places recently placed the Old West Austin Historic District on its list. The district was recognized for the important historical role it has played in the history of Austin. Old West Austin Historic District is located west of downtown and North of Lady Bird Lake. The district first begin to blossom in 1841, only two years after the City of Austin was incorporated. The district features 1574 residential homes that are surrounded by large shaded trees. One of Austin's oldest trees, a 600-year old Treaty Oak, is located in the Old West District. There are exactly four suburbs that compose the Old West Austin Historic District - and there are more than forty subdivisions within those three suburbs. The main suburbs of the Old West District are Enfield, Brykerwoods, and Pemberton Heights, and Clarksville. Brykerwoods is an older central city neighborhood with a mix of old and young residents. Enfield is filled with older maintained houses and is an exceptionally quiet area. Pemberton Heights is an upscale neighborhood where average home prices can easily exceed one million dollars. Clarksville is a more affordable area filled with character and charm. The composition of the Old West Austin Historic District makes it an ideal area for all types of people.
A variety of architectural styles can be found in the Old West Austin Historic District. The area has some of the most stunning homes in Austin. Some of the area's home styles include Greek revival, tudor, Spanish colonial, Dutch colonial, craftsman style, French eclectic, Georgian, bungalows, ranches, and even Medieval style homes. The neighborhood has a style for everyone and attracts a large demographic of people who are interested in choosing from a diverse range of unique homes.
The Old West Austin Neighborhood Association is called OWANA. The association is open to anyone who has an interest in the Old West Austin area. Members of OWANA receive a quarterly newsletter called the OWANA OWL. As the City of Austin changes with time, the organization makes decisions that are in the best interest of the neighborhood. One of the key things that OWANA does is stop the destruction of historical homes from being changed into properties for commercial use. The organization desires that three square feet of residential space be available for every new foot of commercial space that is constructed. There are various organizations in the Old West Austin Historic District that are dedicated to maintaining property values, residential characteristics and enhancing the overall quality of life in the area.
Currently the Old West Austin Historic District is one of the most sought after areas of Austin to live in. The American Planning Association selected the Old West Austin Historic District as one of the ten greatest neighborhoods in America. It received the award based on the diversity and character of the neighborhood as well as the area's continued support of development and sustainability. Residents of the area believe in keeping the community close knit and have managed to prevent overbuilding by adopting a "McMansion" ordinance. The ordinance keeps housing sizes reasonable and curbs escalating home prices.