178 years ago Austin wasn't Austin at all. It began that year as Waterloo, and wasn't renamed Austin (after Stephen F. Austin) until mid-1839.

Now, Austin is celebrating its 178th birthday.

It's hard to find photos of those first days of Austin, according to city archivist Michael Miller.


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"One way that we can remember the year that Austin was founded, it was also the year that photography was invented,” said Miller. “That's why there's not many pictures. There weren't a lot of photographers working at that time."

It hasn't been an easy journey for the river city.

"Three years after Austin was named the capital, the government moved to Houston. Well, they tried to move it to Houston,” explained Miller.

If you can believe it, Austin wasn't always so crowded either.

"Earliest population was about 800 people," he said.

When the capital moved away from Austin, it barely survived as a city.

"From 1842 to 1844, there was barely 100 people here,” Miller said. "It wasn't until 1870 that they finally made Austin the permanent capital."

Fast forward and now Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. While many people complain about its growth, infrastructure and traffic, those same people always love Austin's charm, food and outdoor spaces.