Charles N. “Buck” Avery Jr. (1912-1992) literally wore many hats for several decades as a cowboy on his Williamson County ranch and as leading force at the University of Texas in Austin.
It is through Buck’s leadership the Avery family purchased land to run cattle in Williamson County along the Brushy Creek near Cedar Park during the early 20th Century.
Eventually the land near Cedar Park would total 1,800 acres and the task of establishing a planned community was given to Buck’s son, attorney John S. Avery, Sr. The first decision was to determine if the subdivision would be a part of Cedar Park, Round Rock or Austin. Cedar Park had incorporated in 1973 but had only minimum city services and utilities; none of which were near the Avery Ranch. After eliminating Round Rock as a possibility, John visited Cedar Park’s then mayor, Kenneth Bell, to see if they had plans for future expansion and the possibility of utilities. John was surprised to find out the mayor was totally uninterested in the proposed development and would not allow it in Cedar Park nor would they furnish any utilities.
With the total rejection by Cedar Park, John didn’t know what to expect from the City of Austin. He was pleasantly surprised when Austin wanted the development within its city limits and agreed to furnish all utilities to the proposed Avery Ranch development. He was welcomed with open arms, and the Avery Ranch planned community would stretch along the northwest part of the City of Austin. The post office would assign it the zip code 78717.
Interestingly, FM 734 from RR 620 to FM 1431, also known as Parmer Lane, was in the beginning construction stages with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) during this time period. When John Avery met with TxDOT representatives about the road dissecting this property they told him it would be two lanes because they estimated there would only be about 17,000 cars per day driving along it. They were planning on it increasing to 70,000 cars by the year 2020 and future expansion would be needed at that time. John tried to explain to them there would be well more than 17,000 cars traveling along it the day it opened. John was definitely correct in his estimate. The road opened with more than 19,000 cars per day and, as of 2020, TxDOT is working on an expansion to six lanes with additional turn lanes in some areas.
Buck also encouraged other family members to purchase farmland near Round Rock and Hutto. Today, through a very generous donation by the Avery family, some of this land near Round Rock has become the home of Seton Medical Center Williamson, Texas A&M Health Science Center Round Rock, Austin Community College Round Rock and Texas State University Round Rock.
The 13-square miles or 1,800 acres of Avery Ranch has grown to a total estimated population of over 30,000. There are 10,629 houses and condos and 3,864 apartments divided into 26 separate neighborhoods.
Austin, TX, 78717
In addition to Avery Ranch, the 78717 has some great historical beginnings.
The Brushy Creek community is located off FM 620 in southern Williamson County. The earliest known historical occupants of the county, the Tonkawas, were hunters who followed buffalo on foot but transitioned to riding horses eventually. Brushy Creek rises three miles northwest of Leander in southwestern Williamson County and flows east for almost 70 miles through southern Williamson County and southwestern Milam County, to its mouth on the San Gabriel River.
This residential development of Brushy Creek began by the mid-1970s on acreage that had previously served ranches and lime quarries. By the late 1970s the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District had been created, and the building boom of the early 1980s spurred on growth in the area. In 1990 the population was 5,833. That figure increased to 15,371 by 2000.
The Davis Spring subdivision, near Parmer Lane and RM 620, was created in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex was constructed and opened in 2003 at 10211 W. Parmer Lane. It was named after a former Round Rock ISD athletic director who died of cancer in 2011.
Lakeline Mall was built in 1995. Construction was initially slated to begin in the 1980s but was stalled due to the savings and loan crisis and later stalled due to the discovery of two endangered species on the proposed site. Currently, it is owned by Simon Property Group and includes anchor stores such as Macys and Dillards. On Saturday mornings, an adjacent parking lot is home to Texas Farmer’s Market at Lakeline.
The area located within the 78717 zip code has grown exponentially over the years and will continue to be a thriving part of the Austin and Williamson County communities, in addition to Cedar Park and Avery Ranch.