Window On Hyde Park

This is a section of an old and beautiful—and for Central Texas—unusually large and healthy magnolia tree that can be seen on the northwest corner of 42nd Street and Avenue G, where the Burtons have lived since the early 80s.  Also to be seen on the north side of the front yard is a catalpa tree, an ordinarily short-lived tree that has probably been around since 1917, the year the Austin photographer William Oliphant built this house for his son.

photo by Lizzie Chen

How these trees were able to thrive, even with the house being vacant and abandoned for over 15 years at one point, only became known in the year 2000 when an underground spring on the property was discovered.  In October of that year, it rained virtually every day resulting in the buckling of the front porch.  When a plumber was called to find and fix the leak that was causing the buckling, he informed the Burtons that the cause was no leak, but an underground spring that had been recharged because of the heavy rains.  A fan has been installed under the porch for use in periods of heavy rains, but the magnolia and catalpa trees, green and healthy, just keep getting bigger and bigger.  This is a site to check out and behold!