East Metropolitan Park

The 273-acre East Metropolitan Park is a multiple-use recreational area in eastern Travis County. The land was purchased in 2002, and recreational facilities were financed with voter-approved park bonds.  The park opened in 2006 and features sport fields, hiking trails, and fishing ponds. 

On the site of East Metro Park sits a historic two-room cabin, which provides evidence of the land’s history. Archaeological investigation dates the cabin, or “tenant shack,” as late-19th or early-20th century. Although the cabin’s specific history is not known, research revealed that the parkland had once been the location of the Hayden Springs School, an early rural African American school established in 1884. In that year, Sandy Hayden, an African American landowner in the area, sold one acre of land to Travis County, on which the school was built. 

Sandy Hayden sold much of his land in the area in the early 1900s, but the school bearing his name existed until 1928, when a new African American school was opened at Littig. The school building is no longer at its original location, indicating it was either moved or demolished at some point in the past.  

As for the existing cabin, it appears to have been moved to the site from its unknown original location; aerial photographs show that it has been in its current location since at least 1937.  At present, there is no evidence to prove that the existing cabin is the same as the Hayden school building.  While many questions remain, the cabin at East Metro provides a unique glimpse into the parkland’s history.