Andrew Jackson Zilker

Andrew Jackson Zilker

Andrew Jackson Zilker

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Andrew Jackson Zilker (1858–1934) was a political figure and philanthropist in Austin, Texas, after whom Zilker Park was named. He was the last private owner of Barton Springs.

Andrew Zilker was born in New Albany, Indiana. In his youth he'd read Henderson King Yoakum's two-volume History of Texas, and was inspired to head for its capital to make his fortune. In 1876, at the age of 18, he arrived in Austin with fifty cents in his pocket, immediately acquired work as a dishwasher, and doubled his money by shift's end. His next job would be on the construction of the Congress Avenue Bridge. But the real money to be made in the Texas heat, he discovered, was in the manufacture of ice, and he quickly climbed the ladder from new hire to foreman for one icemaker in a matter of months. He was quick to learn the value of business connections, joining Austin Lodge #201 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks shortly after its founding in 1891.

Soon he owned an ice plant of his own outright, and in 1901 began buying land between the Colorado River and Barton Creek. He had soon acquired <span style="white-space:nowrap">350&nbsp;acres&nbsp;(1.4&nbsp;km²)</span> surrounding Barton Springs, including the Springs themselves from John Rabb, and used the land to pasture the...
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