This story is part of “Austin’s Eastern Frontier,” a project by KUT, the Austin Monitor and KLRU. This series takes a closer look at Manor’s growth – and the challenges it presents for the town.
Manor, Texas, is growing fast. Really fast.
But it hasn’t always been that way. The city, located 12 miles northeast of Austin, was settled by its namesake, James P. Manor, in the 1830s. When a donation of land by Manor allowed the railroad to come through town in the 1870s, people followed.
Between then and now, the population of this relatively sleepy town has waxed and waned as nearby Austin continued to develop.
But don’t worry, Manor has had its moments. Notably, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” was filmed there. Manor was also the longtime home of the now-shuttered Manor Downs horse racetrack, which, in addition to hosting races until its closure in 2010, also hosted the Grateful Dead during the 1970s and ’80s when the band came to Austin. The city even has its own tech claim to fame – it was home to the first government agency in the country to use QR codes to disseminate information via signs placed throughout the town.
Against this backdrop, Manor’s biggest boom yet is now underway as overflow from Austin’s meteoric population boom has spilled into surrounding communities. In 2000, just 1,204 people called Manor home. In the following decade, the city’s population grew a staggering 318.4 percent, to reach a then all-time high of 5,037 in 2010.
Manor city staff estimates that the population has grown to 7,900 as of August 2015. By 2020, it forecasts that the population will reach 10,300 people.
If projections pan out, Manor will have seen an 8.5-fold population increase over 20 years, and that doesn’t even include the Shadowglen and Presidential Meadows subdivisions that lie just outside of city limits and are home to approximately 4,000 residents.
At a public meeting in April of this year, city of Austin demographer Ryan Robinson said it is likely the explosive growth occurring in Austin over the past several years, coupled with rising property values, is fueling population spikes in developing areas east of the city as former residents seek more affordable costs of living. These trends could be a driving factor in Manor’s growth.
One reporter went to seek out the cause of some of Manor’s explosive growth, and found it in Austin.
Listen to the story in the audio player above.