1937 House Park
House Park, Austin, Texas, by Ted Lee Eubanks.
House Park opened in 1939 along Shoal Creek, just down the hill from the old campus of Austin High School near downtown. The stadium was built on land donated by Edward M. House, a former diplomat and adviser to Woodrow Wilson. House Park was later dedicated to the memory of the Austin High students that lost their lives serving in World War I and World War II.
Colonel E. M. House was a national political leader who got his start in Austin. At one time, House was a principal advisor to President Woodrow Wilson - working in a role somewhat like the modern job of the White House Chief of Staff. In Austin, Colonel House had a home at 18th Street and West Avenue. It was an ornate red building with a back property line extending down into the Shoal Creek watershed from his home.
In 1903, Colonel House owned all of the property east of Shoal Creek from what is now Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard south to 12th Street and west of the West Avenue property lines. As his political career began to develop, he donated, that land to the City of Austin for the “benefit of Austin’s youth.” What had been his “horse pasture” now became an area for public use.
Part of the land was used by the City of Austin for the “old Austin Athletic Center” at Shoal Creek Boulevard and 12th Street. For a number of years, Austin High had been allowed to play high school football games at the old University football field, Clark Field, just north of what is now Memorial Stadium. The University built “War Memorial Stadium” in 1924. Memorial Stadium has become known as “Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium” today. The University told the public schools that they wouldn’t be able play high school games in the old Clark Field. The old Clark Field would become the University baseball field.
Although Austin High got to play some games at Memorial Stadium after Clark Field was converted, the leaders of the School District decided to begin an athletic facility on the land Colonel House had donated years before. West 15th Street had not yet been extended west and Lamar Boulevard would be built in the 1930s. The east stands at House Park were built in 1937, the official birthday of House Park, and the west stands and the scoreboard were built in 1947. Notice the bottom of the new scoreboard at House Park, still dedicated to the veterans of World War II.