Rental vs. Owned
TAAS Test Scores
SAT Average Scores
To make sense of the previous paragraph, you should spend a little time in Leander. Order the roast beef dinner at the Silverado Cafe, head out to the Leander Municipal Golf Course west of town, get lost on the wooded country roads east of U.S. 183. (Don’t worry; the roads all lead somewhere eventually, although at times they seem to go on for miles without sign of a driveway or intersection.)
Chat up the locals, the townies and those who appreciate the affordable acreage nearby -- they’re an interesting bunch (but they don’t like to be quoted for articles). They might even give you a history lesson, like this one:
In 1881, the town fathers of Bagdad, Texas, steadfastly refused invasion by the newfangled railroad line going in between Burnet and Austin -- not even for the $1000 the railroad offered -- so the tracks were laid about a mile to the east. Before long, the potential boon to local commerce became apparent, so most businesses relocated along the tracks and named their new community after one of the railroad officials, Leander "Catfish" Brown. By the turn of the century, most of Bagdad had gone to Leander. Nowdays, the old cemetary and the oldest house in town, just down Bagdad Road and across from the park, comprise most of Bagdad’s memories.
Like Cedar Park, its neighbor to the southeast, Leander’s population has increased dramatically during this decade. At 7000, more than twice as many people live within the 50 square miles served by the Leander Volunteer Fire Department as were counted in the 1990 census.
More growth is inevitable as a new deal with the Lower Colorado River Authority alleviates a sticky 20-year-old water problem. Now that residential water permits are being issued again, new subdivisions are in the works, the town has seen the construction of its first apartment complex, and city leaders are looking to the future with ideas for a master plan.
They’d like to see the Hill Country Flyer make a stop in Leander instead of just passing through on its steam-powered way to and from Burnet. They’ve also proposed a new downtown with a nod to historic preservation (fire destroyed many older buildings decades ago) that would encourage retail traffic.
Meanwhile, they point to the new Steiner Ranch Elementary School, part of the respected Leander Independent School District. After its first year, the grade school scored an "exemplary" TAAS rating. The district also boasts a new high school.
As Austin continues to grow and spill up the U.S. 183 corridor through Cedar Park, Leander’s destined to be a part. For now, the only chain store in town is Sonic, and you can still see miles and miles of Texas Hill Country on out 183 toward Lockhart. You might say Leander is the edge of greater Austin ... but you probably shouldn’t say it out loud while you’re in town, or you just might be banished to Bagdad.
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