Clarksville, a National Register Historic District, has a long and rich history. During slavery days, the area was the location of the slave quarters for at least some of the slaves who worked for Governor Elisha Pease on Woodlawn, his plantation, which encompassed much of what is now known as Old Enfield and Old West Austin. The stately plantation home still stands at the corner of Pease and Niles Roads and is commonly referred to as the Pease Mansion.

In 1865 after emancipation, Pease gave land in the Clarksville area to some of his favorite former slaves and sold land to others. Then in 1871, Charles Clark, a former slave, moved to the area and established the community of Clarksville, one of the first freedman's towns west of the Mississippi. He envisioned Clarksville, which was a densely wooded area located far outside of Austin at the time, as community where former slaves could reunite with their families and friends and direct their own lives.

Early Clarksville residents built simple wood-frame homes, hunted in the area, fished in the Colorado River, established the Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church, and created a tight-knit community for themselves. They included Elias Mays, a Black state legislator, who built his home in the neighborhood in 1884, and Reverend Jacob Fontaine. Fontaine was one of the founders of the Sweet Home Baptist Church and began the Gold Dollar, Austin's first Black newspaper.

Today, many of the original homes built in Clarksville are long gone and most African Americans have been driven out of the area by decades of land speculation, gentrification, the construction of Mopac and rising property taxes. Yet, Clarksville’s unique cultural, architectural, and historic identities live on and the neighborhood’s traditional strong sense of community continues.



The Haskell House

The Haskell House, located at 1703 Waterston, is one of Clarksville's historic treasures. A great example of the Cumberland-style architecture that typified early Clarksville homes, it is a City of Austin historic landmark.

Although the Haskell House is located on City of Austin dedicated parkland, the CCDC has a long-term lease to maintain and manage the property. The Clarksville Community Garden is located behind the house.

Click here for more information about the Haskell House.



Sweet Home Baptist Church

Sweet Home Missionary Baptist church has played an important role in Clarksville history for nearly 140 years. Early church services were held in the Haskell House and then later a simple wood frame church was built in the 1700 block of West 11th, where today’s church stands. Click here for more information about Sweet Home.

Click here for more information about Sweet Home.



Texas Confederate Home

The Texas Confederate Home for Men was built on the edge of Clarksville after the Civil War. The community and the Home coexisted uncomfortably for more than seventy-five years. Its presence profoundly affected the self-sufficient community and years later it holds an important (albeit not positive) place in the memories of many current and former Clarksville residents. Although the building no longer stands, stairs and parts of a stonewall remain.

Click here for more information about the Texas Confederate Home.