Walking Waller Creek

This self-guided walking tour of Waller Creek, the urban stream and ecosystem that bisects The University of Texas at Austin, is about 1.9 miles long and will take about an hour. Written by Kristin Phillips (Communications Coordinator, Office of Sustainability) and Timothy Riedel (Research Educator, Freshman Research Initiative) with photos by Kathryn Gatliff.


PART 1: Healing Through Prairie at Dell Medical School

This section focuses on the Dell Medical School campus and is 0.7 miles and a leisurely 20 to 30 minutes. Parking: Health Center Garage (not hospital garage) with an entrance on Trinity Street (entrance on right, just N of 15th St.) 

1. School of Nursing
GPS +30.277594, -97.733176
The School of Nursing formally became part of UT in 1976 although there are deeper roots in Texas through The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Currently, over 80 faculty supervise four degree programs that serve 300 undergraduate and 200 graduate students. In front, thornless mesquite (Prosopis chilensis) is planted to the north and native huisache (Vachellia farnesiana) graces the front with a wildflower garden. This building does not have public access, but the courtyard is furnished with benches and tables crafted by UT carpenters from wood harvested on campus by UT Landscape Services. Look across the street to Little Campus: the Arno Nowotny Building, the second oldest building on campus (1857) that was originally built as the Texas Asylum for the Blind and designed by the same architect (Abner Cook) who built the governor's mansion, the original UT Main building, and other prominent buildings in Austin.
Walk S to cross Red River to the E sidewalk. The oak street trees are growing together: the darker gray pavers mark the boundary of an underground planter.

2. Dell Medical School Campus
GPS +30.275967, -97.733776

UT’s new medical school—the first to be built from the ground up at a top-tier research university in nearly 50 years—was designed with sustainability and wellness in mind. Dell Medical School is rethinking the role of academic medicine in improving health—and is doing so with a unique focus on our community. The first class of 50 students graduates in May 2020. All three Dell Med buildings—the Health Learning, Health Transformation and Health Discovery Buildings—are certified LEED Gold. The Health Learning Building plaza contains three transplanted live oaks surrounded by inland sea oats, including two oaks that were moved together because of entwined root systems. The Spiral of the Galaxy sculpture by Marc Quinn is a bronze cast of a conch based on one in the British Natural History Museum collection. The sculpture was acquired by Landmarks, the university’s public art program. Listen to an audio guide. Look across the street to the Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas. Operated by Ascension/Seton, it is the primary teaching hospital for Dell Med and also LEED Gold. The hospital chapel includes repurposed pecan and oak from campus for walls, podium, pews and other elements.
Take a break: Nourish Cafe. Walk S to 15th Street; at the crosswalk;cross Red River and walk downhill past the hospital and past red yucca (which is really hesperaloe and not yucca; note the lack of spines on the tip of the leaves that also have fibrous threads). Stop at bridge over 15th Street.

3. An Urban Creek
GPS +30.275837, -97.735101
Looking upstream, you can see a paradigm shift in how UT Austin approaches Waller Creek. The 16-acre Dell Medical School complex embraces the creek; compare this to many buildings north of MLK that wall off the creek.  Before the medical school, this area housed the Tennis Center, and Centennial Park; adding the school required moving Red River Street to the east, removing and reengineering much of the soil, and removing 70% of plant material (invasives like bamboo and Aurndo donax). The UT Board of Regents requires that the finished floor elevation of all buildings be a minimum level of one foot above the 100-year floodplain. Note that in 2015, the bridge that you are standing on was under water.
Continue W and then N to path following the W of the creek

4. Entering a SITES Gold Landscape
GPS +30.275976, -97.735433
Note the large transplanted live oak (Quercus virginiana) that is on the western bank of Waller Creek is permanently held by cables—it is important to the survival of large trees to maintain the original angle and direction to the sun after being moved. To construct the medical school, 12 trees older than a century were transplanted. Nearby, a 50-foot pecan tree (Carya illinoinensis) is rooted.

Do you see prairie or weeds here? The landscape is certified Sustainable SITES GOLD using native plants and reducing the demand on natural resources. The intentional creation of a native ecosystem around the Dell Seton Medical Center is considered beneficial for patient wellbeing and health—as well as the wellness of students, faculty and staff. The SITES rating system was developed by the LBJ Wildflower Center with the United States Botanic Garden and the American Society of Landscape Architects beginning in 2006. Note the first of many pocket prairies filled to the west to Trinity Street; some of the live oak were transplanted.  The area was seeded with about 25 species of wildflowers and grasses, others were planted.
Walk N along the path on the west side of Waller Creek.

5. Rainwater Collection
GPS +30.276007, -97.735153
During three-inch rain event, this landscape absorbs 85% of the water on site through the built bioretention ponds that collect water from heavy downpours to slowly percolate into the grounds over 2-3 days. This conserves water by keeping it in the landscape. These ponds also capture and filter (physically and biologically) out the pollution that is concentrated in the “first flush” after a hard rain. If you look up at the parking garage, you can see a 28,000 gallon rainwater collection tank and pumps on the top four floors. This allows for automated deep watering so that plant roots grow deep, and the team waters once a month. In addition to constructed rainwater collection, the plants found in this area—horseherb, inland sea oats, Turks cap, river sedge, Black willow (Salix nigra)—act as a sponge to absorb water. The old foundation in this area is a reminent of an old home seen on the 1887 map (see Stop #34).
Continue to walk N along pathway

6. Shade Garden
GPS +30.276363, -97.734941
As you walk along the path, note that the pavers here are porous, allowing water to seep below. This reduces the amount of impervious cover on campus and helps retain water on site. The shade garden east of the path includes red Turks cap under mature live oaks. On the garage-side of the path is Yapon (Ilex vomitoria), Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica). Also, note the climbing fig (Ficus pumila) on the building that is not native but can help reduce reflected heat and the heat island effect. As you look at this and the other pocket prairies, identify the wildflowers and larger plants that you see with the PRAIRIE IDENTIFICATION GUIDE
Continue N along pathway on the W side of the creek

7. Wellness Through Nature
GPS +30.277101, -97.734693
What is that large block of cement? It allows Landscape Services staff to tie themselves in for safety in this steep ravine. The staff manage one of the largest native landscapes in Austin, and their skill at finding ways to give native plants the edge over invasives without pesticides is in high demand for training other landscapers. Invasives like ragweed return after every storm that rushes through Waller Creek, and birds also spread ligustrum, mulberry and other woody invasives. But health and wellness benefits from more than a beautiful, organic outdoor space; quiet and reflective is also key, and Landscape Services uses electric tools for noise reduction. This equipment is also easier to repair and cheaper to operate, and they also use 85% ethanol in their vehicles. If you look across the creek, there is a heritage live oak by the hospital. This tree was moved five feet for construction, but keeping it means that visitors in the cafeteria inside have beautiful green branches to look at. Many staff say that these are the most sought after seats.
Continue N along pathway

8. Trinity Plaza: Food and Fire lanes
GPS +30.277551, -97.734765
As you walk into the plaza between the Health Transformation Building (HTB) and the Health Discovery Building (HDB), notice that the pavers are no longer pervious. This is because this part of the landscape needs to hold the weight of fire trucks and other equipment. Plots of native Buffalo grass allow these fire lanes to absorb water. The trees planted in the plaza include desert willow and redbud, and the dark gray pavers under them indicate that they are sunk into a huge planter allowing the trees to share root systems, water resources and nutrients. To identify the ~ 250 tagged trees found along this section of Waller Creek, please look them up by tag number in MYTreeKeeper maintained by Landscape Services.

Going up: the southern end of the 7th floor of the Health Transformation Building has an 11,000 square foot roof garden planted with spineless prickly pear and red yucca in fiber netting to anchor soil. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is researching and developing best practices for roof gardens in central Texas. Roof gardens reduce the urban heat island by reducing energy consumption in a building as well as absorbing rainwater/reducing flash flooding. They even provide habitat for wildlife; researchers are studying the bees in this space. This planting has not been watered since October 2017.
Take a break: Nourish Cafe. Continue N along pathway and turn to E onto bridge

9. Bridge Vista
GPS +30.277592, -97.734461
Flash flooding is common in central Texas because of the limestone bedrock and lack of deep soil to absorb water. Here, you can see the engineered channel of Waller Creek that helps slow down the water during storms. During construction, bone fragments were found near here which shut down construction for awhile. It appears that Waller Creek was used as a dump in the past, at least from a butcher shop. Note the fast-growing black willow are in the creekbed; the most common large trees seen along this portion of Waller Creek include pecan (Carya illinoinensis), American elm (Ulmus americana), hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), live oak (Quercus virginiana) and box elder maple (Acer negundo). Within the prairie, native plants that spread and thereby crowd out invasive plants include silver tip bluestem and evening primrose. PRAIRIE IDENTIFICATION GUIDE Look for wildlife. People have seen numerous birds (herons, hawks), racoons and even silver foxes from this spot.
Retrace steps and continue N on the path on the W side of Waller Creek.

10. Wildflower Prairie
GPS +30.277940, -97.734203
The pocket prairie between the path and the creek contains a depression that is a natural bioswale that retains water in the landscape. It is easy to see because the Mexican sycamore (Platanus mexicana) trees planted here require more water than other native trees. In 2016, the prairie was seeded with 25 species and planted with 25 species.  Now, botanists have identified over 180 species of native plants. On the west side of the path, purple-flowering Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens), Chinquapin oaks (Quercus muhlenbergii), and evergreen Cherokee sedge (Carex cherokeensis) are planted.
Continue N along pathway

11. Pocket Prairie Continues
GPS +30.278231, -97.734258
The prairie and native landscape is the first of its kind and size in Austin. See what is blooming and in season with the PRAIRIE IDENTIFICATION GUIDE. On the building behind (HDB), note the evergreen Texas mountain laurels (Sophora secundiflora) with flowers that 'trip' bees into spreading pollen and the self-attaching hacienda creeper (Parthenocissus sp), a vine related to Virginia creeper and discovered recently in Mexico.
Continue N and then walk onto bridge to look N

12. Historic Watson House
GPS +30.278359, -97.733833
Looking north from the bridge, the east bank of exposed limestone is interesting, with the 90 degree bend in the river that is also the deepest section of the creek. There is a line in the limestone that makes the east bank with a red oak growing out if it; this may be a fault line. Above the limestone is the oldest building on campus, Watson House. This building was owned by Jim Bowie’s sister-in-law in 1853; there used to be 13 mansions along the bluffs of Waller Creek as well as poorer homes in the floodplain and Swedish immigrants to the east. The iron work was added in the 1920’s by Weigil Ironworks (now Ironworks BBQ downtown). More recently, the house was inhabited by interior designers Arthur P. Watson and Robert Garrett from 1959 to 2007. The house had a party reputation with guests numbering in the hundreds: in L and G Style magazine, Garrett said, “The drinks flowed like a river, so that usually smoothed over any otherwise rough spots for our guests. We were known for Arthur’s Bloody Marys, for the chateau Pink Gins and our lethal Velvet Hammers. Hardly a day passed that we did not entertain friends, clients or other guests for some occasion.” One signature in the guest book was Rock Hudson’s who found shelter from football fans by running up the driveway.
Retrace steps and walk W to Trinity Street. Note the large pecan near a picnic table in pocket prairie.

13. The Forth Bridge
GPS +30.278661, -97.734773
The largest live oak moved to make the medical school is just before the bridge over the creek, near Trinity Street. Note the Mexican sycamore (Platanus mexicana). Look for turtles in this part of Waller Creek.
Continue N on Trinity Street's E sidewalk

14. Taking Care of Campus
GPS +30.279093, -97.734616
Compost and compost tea to keep soil healthy is made in a corner by the Trinity Garage. Landscape Services collects coffee grounds from campus cafes and mixes it with good quality leaves and organic matter. This is brewed with rainwater to make a 'tea' that increases soil health. Other ways that UT takes care of Waller Creek: Environmental Health and Safety hosts Clean Ups twice a year, events that have increased because of student organization. The Dell Medical School/managed native landscape portion of the Waller Creek Walking Tour is finished. Note that as Waller Creek passes under Trinity St. and then Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (MLK), it is for a brief time not part of UT Austin; the surface parking area is owned by the state.
Continue up Trinity Street and cross Martin Luther King St. at the light. Walk W along the sidewalk on the N side of MLK to Santa Rita Oil Well plaque.


PART 2: Following the Footsteps of Joseph Jones

A year after Joseph Jones (1908-1999) published his reflective Life on Waller Creek, Walking the Forty Acres: Waller Creek Wilderness Trails and Adjuncts was printed (1983), co-written by with S.P. Ellison and Keith Young. Guiding through "forest primeval with plenteous ongoing geology, ... nature modified, and,... for the most part, technologicobarbarian rubblebumble," the authors suggest that "if you are undertaking this walk during the growing season for poison ivy and ragweed, be advised that both these plants are all too plentiful." Jones was a professor of English for 40 years (1935-1975) and often had his lunch on the western bank near what is now Patton Hall (RLP).

15. Santa Rita Oil
GPS +30.279970, -97.734755
The discovery of oil on the University Lands in Reagan County on May 28, 1923 led to the first check of $516.53 to the Permanent University Fund, accelerating the long-term endowment of higher education in Texas. The structure of Santa Rita Oil Well No. 1 was brought to UT in 1940 even though production continued at the Permian Basin site for another 50 years. The trees here are live oaks (Quercus virginiana) and, although not the most common species found near Waller Creek, are typical of campus with a canopy of over 40% oak. The trees on campus are largely because of the efforts of John Calhoun, Comptroller, 11th (Interim) President, and “maker of academic shade.” Before he planted and mapped over 620 oaks (plus other trees), the Forty Acres had a landcape left over from a period of over-grazing and had few trees.
Walk W on sidewalk to bridge over Waller Creek; look N to the San Jacinto Bridge. (Note that if you walk E  on MLK, you can see a pollinator garden near the Swim Center)

16. Geology Lesson Between Two Bridges
GPS +30.279978, -97.735237
From Ellison, Jones and Young walking tour:  Looking north from the MLK bridge to the San Jacinto bridge, “note that the Creek exposes a floor of Austin limestone (Upper Cretaceous, about 75 millions years old), on top of which is a lot of stream debris in the form of cobbles, boulders, etc.” If you zoom into campus on the Texas USGS Map, you can see that most of campus is on a layer of 325-420 foot thick layer of Austin chalk, or the remains of creatures that inhabited an inland sea during the time of dinosaurs. The chalk, which formed Blackland prairie, is younger than the harder limestone to the west of Austin (the Hill Country) that was exposed between 20-25 million years ago by the Balcones fault zone. Water flows along a fault line to make Waller Creek; note the black willow (Salix nigra), a short-lived tree with fibrous roots that hold soil together.
Walk W on MLK and cross San Jacinto Blvd at the light. Once at the NW corner of MLK & San Jacinto,take the path N past the Chilling Station #3 and onto Clark Field

17. Clark Field’s Pecan
GPS +30.280587, -97.735007
The large, 50-foot tall pecan tree—one of more than 20 on the west bank of Waller Creek at Clark Field—is tagged #4553. All tags can be used to identify and learn about campus trees. Tree #4552 gives UT about $300 in ecobenefits each year. Pecans (Carya illinoinensis) are the State Tree of Texas and native to the Louisiana-Texas-Mexico area. Pecans are one of the most recently domesticated crops and have been widely grown since the 1880's.
Continue N on path between Clark Field and Waller Creek, turning E onto pedestrian bridge

18. Bridge Vista No. 1
GPS +30.280603, -97.734478
In 2016, UT’s Landscape Services cleared much of the invasive and overgrown plants in Waller Creek; as you walk this urban stream, look for cut 3-inch poison ivy vines and stumps of trees like ligustrum (left in place to hold soil until new plants take root). This alteration opened the canopy, increased visual sight lines, and revealed the system of weirs established for the bald cypress’ (Taxodium distichum) in the 1930s. Weirs and cypress reduce erosion of banks and minimize the need for constructed stability as found in the Dell Medical School portion of Waller Creek. Landscape Services has led several planting of native herbs, wildflowers, grasses and bushes. If you look to the North, can you see the concrete obstacle course from WWII.
Retrace steps back to Clark Field; continue N on path to second, metal pedestrian bridge

19. Bridge Vista No. 2
GPS +30.281521, -97.7336933
Waller Creek draws from a narrow but completely urban watershed of 3,662 acres that is six miles long. The section that bisects UT is just over one mile and includes 71 bald cypress trees (Taxodium distichum), trees rarely seen on other stretches of the creek. From the bridge, look south on the east bank to a 70 ft tall specimen (tagged 4629) planted in 1936 that provides an estimated yearly eco-benefits of almost $400. Also looking south, the large debris from the Memorial Day Flood in 1981—when thunderstorms dumped more than 10 inches of rain in a few hours—is visible. The Austin area is prone to flash flooding. For example, a flood in 1915 killed 12 people when, according to newspaper, “nearly every house on Waller Creek was flooded or moved by the waters.” In fact, the head of UT Grounds at the time created a fundraiser for a custodian who lost his home at 19th and Waller Creek (The Daily Texan). South of campus, the city has developed extensive flood mitigation, and Waterloo Greenway is developing a 1.5-mile park system between 15th Street and Lady Bird Lake.
Continue to walk E on bridge to sidewalk along San Jacinto Blvd; walk N on sidewalk (west side of San Jacinto Blvd) towards stadium

20. Battle of Waller Creek
GPS +30.282486, -97.733722
On October 22, 2019, several hundred students walked up the 21st Street hill from Waller Creek toward the Tower carrying the remains of 39 trees that were felled on the east bank of Waller Creek. Soon, branches and limbs were blocking doorways. This was the final scene of the Battle of Waller Creek which was initiated when UT abruptly announced that San Jacinto Street was shifting west to expand the stadium and add Bellmont Hall. Students obtained a restraining order and sat protectively in trees—some over-night—but Chancellor Frank Erwin ordered police to forcibly remove people (even sawing off one limb with a person still on it) and workers to bulldoze the trees. Twenty seven people were arrested, the first large-scale suppression of a protest on campus. Negotiations with the administration did prevent paving of the creekbed. The impact is still visible: note fewer trees and how the sidewalk cantilevers over the east bank south of 21st Street.
Continue N on sidewalk between Waller Creek and San Jacinto Blvd. Cross 21St and continue N on sidewalk. Just past the bus stop, leave sidewalk and turn onto the path going N between Waller Creek and the Alumni Center. Take a break: Cypress Bend Café at 21st Street

21. Waller Creek at 21st (same as Green Tour #18)
GPS +30.283436, -97.734419
[CONTENT UNDER DEVELOPMENT]
Continue N on path, walking along the E side of Waller Creek

22. Jessen Cascade
GPS +30.283909, -97.734178
[CONTENT UNDER DEVELOPMENT]
Continue N on the path. Take a break: Texpresso Cafe

23. The Living Lab
GPS +30.284200, -97.734831 
Waller Creek is UT's largest "classroom" and is the site of years of research and inspiration.
Continue N on the path

24. Twin Cypress with Fossils
GPS +30.284389, -97.734789
[CONTENT UNDER DEVELOPMENT]
Continue N on the path

25. Umlauf Sculpture and Cypress (same as Green Tour #17)
GPS +30.284643, -97.734743
Charles Umlauf taught fine art at UT for 40 years, and this bronze mother & child exemplifies his work. Tree 4036, a 65 ft tall bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) was—like many of the cypress on campus—was from Texas' oldest and longest running nurseries near the Guadalupe River area in 1936. The cypress wiers have been important for stabalizing the banks. Biodiversity Center info on bald cypress

Look across the creek to see the bench memorializing the lunches Joseph Jones had by the “Cretaceous Limestone Gutter”:  “Forty years and more I have packed my lunch to Waller Creek. Only since retirement, though, have I felt I had time to spend undertaking small improvements along its rugged banks: ephemeral gestures to be sure, but good for body and spirit alike – an hour or so, three or four days a week, before lunch. Instead of going up the wall I go down to the Creek.” Life On Waller Creek. Out of respect to Jones, Landscape Services left a few specimens that he planted, including English ivy and cast iron plants when removing nonnative plants from the creek.
Walk up the stairs from the amphitheater and cross Memorial Bridge over Waller Creek. Walk NE on sidewalk around traffic circle.

26. Patton Hall (RLP) (same as Green Tour #16)
GPS +30.285253, -97.734345
Waller Creek was originally the eastern frontier of the Forty Acres in 1883.  When UT Austin expanded about 100 years ago to include the creek, much of the initial infrastructure focused on moving people over the creek; one of the first bridges, the old stone Memorial Bridge at 23rd Street, was built in conjunction with the stadium in 1924. In 2019, UT's campus reached 3.6 million square feet of LEED-certified buildings, including Patton Hall (RLP) that is LEED-Gold and houses one of the newest of the 156 undergraduate programs: the popular B.A. in Sustainability Studies. At the time, this is 20% of the LEED-certified building in the city. As you walk across the traffic circle, note Tree #3985 immediately south of the 23rd Street Bridge. This is the only surviving bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) from the first attempt to plant Waller Creek, the 1928 plants collected from Onion Creek.
Cross 23rd Street and continue N on path between the Winship Building and Waller Creek

27. Storm Water Management
GPS +30.285039, -97.733814
UT’s campus of 423 acres spans the entire watershed of Waller Creek in this part of Austin, and about 95% of the rainwater that runs off the surfaces makes its way to the creek. Some flows directly into the creek, but other water is funneled there by 162 piped stormwater outfalls. Because Waller Creek is UT’s primary method of stormwater management, all litter—from confetti to spilled coffee to plastic bottles—ends up in the creek.
Continue N on path to high USGS bridge

 

28. USGS Bridge
GPS +30.285694, -97.734004
[CONTENT UNDER DEVELOPMENT]
Cross bridge to E side of Waller Creek; at sidewalk, head N along San Jacinto

29. Urban Ecology in Waller Creek (same as Green Tour #14)
GPS +30.286413, -97.733810
The Texas Palmettos (Sabal mexicana) are volunteers naturalizing north of their historic range. These palms are likely descendants of the old palm planted at Arno Nowotny Building and are thriving in Waller Creek with the aid of a warming climate & the Austin urban heat island. Texas’ flora has included palms for millions of years, and petrified Sabal palmwood is the Texas State Stone. Tree 3947 is a Durand oak (Quercus sinuata), a rare species with a highly fragmented population, it prefers to grow in rich alluvial soils near waterways.
Continue N on San Jacinto and cross 24th Street

30. Pollinator Garden, Orchard & Benches (same as Green Tour #13)
GPS +30.287259, -97.733836
The Orchard, started in 2013, highlights fruit trees that grow well in this region of Texas (peach, plum, Japanese persimmon, fig, and others). A small pollinator garden of native and adapted plants is a new addition, as is a bench made of wood harvested from a campus oak tree made by the Carpenter Shop. Note that the west bank, called the Secret Garden, is a good place to get closer to the wate and observe fish.
Continue N on Jan Jacinto St. following Waller Creek. Note the Texas Memorial Museum across the street

31. Confluence
GPS +30.288100, -97.734137
At this point, two tributaries of Waller Creek join together: the Hemphill branch that continues to follow San Jacinto St., and the main branch that crosses under San Jacinto to flow north by Creekside Residence Hall and the Michener Center for Writers housed on the other side of Dean Keeton in the J. Frank Dobie house that UT purchased in 1995. Dobie was a folklorist who documented Texan western stories and newspaper writer who saved the Texas longhorn breed from extinction. The main branch continues  north and upstream through Eastwoods Neighborhood Park, Lee Elementary School, Hancock Golf Course, Elizabet Ney Museum/ Shipe Park, UT’s Intramural Fields and up to the start near Lamar and Airport.
Continue N on San Jacinto along the Hemphill (western) tributary of Waller Creek (west side of San Jacinto)

32: Creek History Written in Two Buildings
GPS +30.288416, -97.734684
The bridge over Waller Creek to the LEED Silver EER building is a symbol of the new approach to this urban stream: embracing it with doors opening onto the creek. Many of the older buildings on campus—like the ECJ building to the north—are more likely to wall off the creek with few doors or windows. The recent adoption of the Waller Creek Framework Plan (2019) is the latest step towards including this urban stream into the greater campus. Also, the cypress trees here are different. Because the trees planted i n1928 and 1936 were not developing knees, fifty additional cypress were collected East Texan bayous in 1950 and planted north of the confluence by faculty member Carl Eckhardt (who also switched the power plant to natural gas).
Continue N along the Hemphill tributary and cross Dean Keeton St. at the light

33. Bridge Near Chilling Station
GPS +30.290304, -97.734852
There are over 20 bridges over Waller Creek on campus.  Some help pedestrians navigate the landscape, like the footpath in Stop #34; others enable the flow of heavy vehicular traffic, like the bridge over Dean Keeton Street. Some bridges also allowed UT to develop the eastern campus since utilities and other infrastructure use bridges for support. The bridge that you are standing on  gives access to Chilling Station No 5, one of UT’s five chilling stations that—along with two thermal energy storage tanks that hold 10 million gallons of chilled water—satisfy the cooling requirements for 22 million square feet in more than 160 campus buildings. These are part of UT’s Utilities and Energy Management innovative ways to get more energy out of the natural gas that powers campus, so much so that UT’s carbon emissions are the same as in 1976 despite large growth in population and space.
Walk NE on San Jacinto, following the Hemphill tributary

34. The Edge of UT's Main Campus
GPS +30.291599, -97.735299
Waller Creek is named for Austin's first mayor, Edwin Waller, who laid out the plans for the city and capitol starting in 1839. The historic map of Austin (including Waller Creek's main tributary) is from 1887, four years after UT Austin opened its doors and one year before the capitol building was completed.