Peter Mansbendel’s In-Law were Adele and Col. Monroe Shipe. Col. Shipe developed the first planned suburban community in Austin in 1891 know as “Hyde Park”. Investors from Kansas City bought the old fairgrounds in Austin in 1890. When Monroe Shipe purchased the property in 1891, he initially intended to build a rail yard to serve the MKT rail line anticipated to arrive shortly. But Shipe grew impatient and changed his plans when rail construction lagged. His new idea included building a residential community called Hyde Park in this outlying area which would be connected to the city by a street rail line that he would also build.
Shipe’s task was enormous, but he successfully surmounted every challenge. Battling opposition from other streetcar operators, he had his own line in service by February 1891. He convinced the city to erect its first moonlight tower in Hyde Park. He installed water mains in the area as well as gas lines, electricity, and fire hydrants. He paid for construction of the Speedway as a connecting road between Hyde Park and downtown. Shipe even planted trees along the roads built in his new neighborhood. The plan worked. Attracted by inexpensive land and the prospect of living in a healthful, wholesome neighborhood, people flocked to purchase Shipe’s lots. But not all were welcome. Early advertisements for Hyde Park clearly stated that land would be sold only to whites.
According to neighborhood history, Hyde Park lots were 25 feet wide and sold for $110.00 – $10.00 down and $5.00 a month. Anyone who purchased two lots and built on them, within a year was entitled to a third lot free. To attract buyers, Shipe, who also began the Austin Street Railway Company, extended the streetcar line to his development and provided graded streets, city utilities, built the first school, and paid the teachers’ salaries and free mail delivery. Hyde Park was said to be “the most beautiful and healthful spot in Austin.” He claimed that “no city west of Boston can boast of finer drives than are in Hyde Park.” In Hyde Park’s early decades, the neighborhood conveyed the feel of a town separate from Austin. Shipe originally numbered the east-west streets 1st Street through 8th Street, street names already in use in downtown Austin. As the area added churches, schools, and grocery stores, residents found less occasion to travel into town. The open, undeveloped nature of the landscape between Hyde Park and the city limits heightened the sensation of traveling between two separate communities.
As Austin engulfed and surrounded Hyde Park, neighborhood identity remained strong. Even today residents display strong commitment to maintaining the unique flavor of their area of town. Recent battles with city government over the local fire station and with Hyde Park Baptist Church regarding church expansion have illustrated that Hyde Park residents understand and appreciate the historic value of Austin’s first planned suburban community.
Hyde Park, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, it was platted in 1891 by Colonel Monroe Shipe.