A road and a river: the remaking of Williamson County, Texas, 1948-2000
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Williamson County, Texas, experienced a radical reconfiguration during the last fifty years. In 1948 it was a n isolated, agricultural, Democratic stronghold that possessed a rich brew of cultures and economies. In the year 2000 it was among the five fastest growing counties in the United States, suburban, homogeneous, Republican with a high-technology economy. The change occurred largely through two Federal public works projects — Interstate Highway 35 and the damming of the San Gabriel River. Planners failed to predict that t h e projects would trigger explosive growth, eradicating the agricultural world the dams were designed to protect. This work is a “thick description” of the projects’ environmental, economic, and cultural consequences. In short, it details h o w suburbia comes into being.