Montopolis, Austin, Texas
Montopolis is located south of Lake Lady Bird and is bounded on the west by Grove Street and the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, to the south by Texas State Highway 71 and the Southeast Austin neighborhood and U.S. Route 183 to the east. It is located adjacent to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Montopolis was settled in the 1830s as a separate community southeast of Downtown Austin in south central Travis County when Jessie C. Tannehill built a cabin and laid out a townsite to be called Montopolis for its location on top of a hill. Montopolis was almost made the capital of the fledgling Republic of Texas, before it was moved to Austin. The town did not develop as expected, probably because Austin was so close. A small community of fifty, however, was in place in the mid-1890s, and a post office called Montopolis opened in January 1897. The two cities embarked on starkly different paths. After the Civil War, Montopolis became home to newly freed slaves who worked as sharecroppers. In the early 20th century, the neighborhood saw a large influx of Mexican immigrants, a trend that continues today. The census of 1900 listed the Montopolis population as 142, but in 1902 its post office was discontinued and mail for area residents was sent to Austin.
Despite the close proximity, Austin waited until 1951 to partially annex Montopolis, and it wasn't fully annexed until the 1970s. The working-class neighborhood has long been one of the poorest in Austin, with about two of every five residents living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census. Educational attainment also lags far behind the city average — in 2000, 53 percent of Montopolis residents more than 25 years old didn't have a high school diploma.
Montopolis's fortunes may finally be turning. Given Austin's tremendous growth, the community has found itself in a strategic location in the new Austin — adjacent to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and along two major highways, Texas State Highway 71 and U.S. Route 183. In 2005, the City of Austin was working on finalizing a Master Plan for the entire East Riverside Drive corridor, from the East Riverside-Oltorf Combined Planning Area to Montopolis to ABIA.
However, longtime residents are trying to stop the gentrification of their neighborhood similar to what happened in the Central East Austin and East Cesar Chavez neighborhoods. Activists stopped a zoning change in early 2014 that would have allowed building condos instead of duplexes.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the area defined as Montopolis was 6,869 in 2009, across an area of 2.555 square miles. The population density per square miles is 2,689 people per square mile, just above Austin's citywide average of 2,610 people per square mile. The racial breakdown is 82% Hispanic/Latino, 10% black, 7% white and 1% other. Median household income in 2009 in Montopolis was $28,922, below Austin's average of $50,132. The community is on average younger than the rest of the city, as the median age for males is 25.1 and for 26.4 for females (compared with 29.6 and 30.2, respectively). The average estimated value of detached houses in 2009 (52.6% of all units) was $110,949, lower than Austin average of $286,025.
- Allison Elementary School
- Martin Middle School
- Johnson High School
Del Valle schools zoned for Montopolis include:
- Gilbert Elementary School
- Hillcrest Elementary School
- Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School
- Dailey Middle School
- Ojeda Middle School
- Del Valle High School
- "Neighborhood Planning: Montopolis". City of Austin. Retrieved Nov 23, 2011.
- Smyrl, Vivian Elizabeth. "Montopolis, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved Nov 23, 2011.
- Schwartz, Jeremy (May 5, 2005). "Developers building bridges to overlooked Montopolis". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved Nov 23, 2011.
- Smith, Amy. "Then There's This: Montopolis Is Cool With Uncool". The Austin Chronicle. Austin Chronicle Corp. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- "Montopolis Detailed Profile". City-data.com. Retrieved Nov 21, 2011.
Austin's Montopolis Neighborhood 2014 Arcadia Publishing