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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

At the request of Mason Joseph Company, Inc., SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey for the proposed 18.95-acre McKinney Falls Apartment complex in the City of Austin, southeastern Travis County, Texas. The proposed project area is located along the east side of McKinney Falls Parkway, approximately 0.5 mile north of the intersection of East William Cannon Drive and McKinney Falls Parkway. The 18.95-acre tract is to be developed into a new apartment complex utilizing U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. An intensive archaeological survey of the 18.95-acre project area was conducted to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, namely the identification of any prehistoric or historic cultural resources which may be affected by the project that may be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The exact depth of impacts is unknown at this time; however, they are not anticipated to extend past 5.5 feet below ground surface. This represents the direct area of potential effects (APE) for this project.

Investigations included a background literature review, an intensive pedestrian survey with shovel testing, and deep testing with backhoe trenching of the project area. The background review revealed that three previous cultural resource surveys are known to have been conducted near the proposed project area. In total, four archaeological sites have been recorded within a 0.5-mile radius of the project area; however none are located within the APE. Additionally, a review of the Texas Department of Transportation Historic Overlay maps revealed 11 potential historic-age buildings or structures within 0.5 mile of the current project area, one of which is adjacent to the project area (Foster et al. 2006).

Overall, the intensive pedestrian survey revealed primarily agricultural lands with broad pastures on the gently sloping floodplain of Cottonmouth Creek. Previous impacts to the project area include erosion, vegetation clearing and grading, agricultural and residential activity, livestock activity, two-track roads, fence lines, push piles, utility installations (both overhead and subsurface), and residential construction. SWCA’s intensive pedestrian survey was supplemented with the excavation of six trenches and four shovel tests. No surface or subsurface cultural materials were identified within the project area; however, one historic-age building was identified adjacent to the northeast corner of the project area. The building is a circa 1955 auto repair shop with a 2017 secondary building constructed in 2017, an obscured carport. Although historic in age, the converted dwelling only retains integrity of locations and setting. Due to apparent alterations in 2010, 2012, and 2013, the building has no integrity of design, materials, or workmanship. There is also no feeling or association related to the building, therefore, it is NOT ELIGIBLE for the NRHP. Additionally, SWCA documented a modern-age house and associated agricultural building within the project area. None of these buildings are of historic age and are therefore NOT ELIGIBLE for NRHP listing.

In accordance with 36 Code of Federal Regulations 800.4, SWCA has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify cultural resources properties within the APE. SWCA identified no cultural resource sites within the current project area. However, archaeologists identified one historic-age building adjacent to the northeast corner of the project area. Although historic in age, the converted dwelling only retains integrity of locations and setting. There is also no feeling or association related to the building; therefore, it is NOT ELIGIBLE for the NRHP. Additionally, SWCA documented a modern-age house and associated agricultural building within the project area. As none of these buildings are historic in age, they are NOT ELIGIBLE for the NRHP. SWCA recommends that no additional cultural resources investigations should be warranted within the remainder of the proposed 18.95-acre McKinney Falls Apartment complex in the City of Austin, southeastern Travis County, Texas.

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