Archaeological Remains in Copperfield / Northeast Austin

“There were arrowheads everywhere.” This claim has been made recently by Luther Fox, an Austin resident who was born in a house near the intersection of Yager and I35 in the 1920s and who lived in the area for many decades afterward. He said that in his childhood many arrowheads were found and picked up in the area, especially near running water. The house Luther Fox lived in burned down in the 1950s, and the arrowheads are much, much more difficult to find. (A map displaying the location of the Fox/Kellam house may be seen at Historical Diagram of Copperfield - Area Sites).

There have been other discoveries of Native American artifacts in the area. In fact, some individuals believe that Walnut Creek Park was established largely to protect the Indian artifacts it is known to hold.

This is an arrowhead found in Walnut Creek Park in approximately 1980.
Other arrowheads may from the park may be seen here

The land comprising Walnut Creek Park has yielded interesting items through the years. The existence and location of the park's archaeological sites seems now to be a well-kept secret. A 1980 study at Walnut Creek, coinciding with the establishment of the park, unearthed several artifacts including arrowheads, larger stone tools, and a hearth. See Walnut Creek District Park-area History. This document also mentions that some area residents, the Cearlys, recalled tales that a group of Tonkawas were once maintained by the Army during the early 1850's on the south side of Walnut Creek near where the present high power lines cross it. The document says that a recent (in 1981) surface search of the location produced no evidence to support the tale and no confirmation of such activities in the vicinity has been found in the historical records. The same document mentions that a Native American hearth was once excavated just east of North Lamar near Jetta Court. Jetta Court is a residential street north of Walnut Creek Park, south of Yager, and a short distance east of North Lamar.

Mr. Leon Carter, an Austin resident who formerly lived in the old motor court on North Lamar for many years, has said that one of his tenants used to regularly wander throughout Walnut Creek Park and “find things.” The most interesting claim that the tenant made was that he had found an old sword, but was unable to retrieve it because it was imbedded in rocks.

In the River Oaks neighborhood just to the north of Yager, a street named Indian Mound intersects North Lamar. One life-long area resident, Travis Kruger, whose family has lived in the area since approximately 1849, has said that there is an Indian Mound near that street. It has not been possible to verify this, but it is interesting to note that this street seems to be the only one in the area that is on the City of Austin Protected Streets Under Utility Excavation Moratorium.

Richard Cearly, another former long-time resident of the area made the following corroborating statement:
just north of Coxville Zoo there was a big Indian mound. We used to dig in the ground in the side of the mound. It was full of white snails. We found some arrowheads. East on Parmer just before the bridge on Wells Branch [probably the stream, not the roadway] there was a lot of Indian activity there. The power station just south of Walnut Creek is where an Indian camp was. (personal interview 2/20/2001) Added 3/27/2002
Mr. Kruger also has mentioned a story passed down directly from his grandmother when he was a young boy. Travis has said that when he was young his grandmother, Olga Kruger, told him about the Indians that lived on Walnut Creek. Olga told him that the Indians traded goods with her family for flour and sugar. She also said that the Indians had a cave on Walnut Creek in which they kept a lot of their goods. Travis said that he thinks the Indians lived on Walnut Creek near what is now Dessau Road.

Today there is no known cave on Walnut Creek except for Stark's Mine. There is some historical mention of another cave or excavation on Walnut Creek going back many years. Stark's Mine is a man-made cave dug in approximately 1914 in an attempt to find buried gold. According to personal testimony, Stark's Mine was dug in an attempt to find an earlier, covered-over cave or tunnel in which outlaws are said to have hidden a large quantity of gold (Stark's Mine, Austin History Center). Stark's Mine is still present and visible near the south bank of Walnut Creek between I35 and North Lamar up a draw which empties into the south side of the creek. The buried gold was believed to have been placed in a cave that was subsequently sealed off or filled in by natural sediment. The well-known Texas folklorist, J. Frank Dobie, referred to Stark's Mine in his seminal work Coronado's Children. (A map displaying the location of Stark's Mine may be seen at Historical Diagram of Copperfield - Area Sites).

Last updated 3/27/2002

See How to Assist if you would like to help us find more information on area historical topics.

Return to Copperfield / Northeast Austin History Page