Edwin Waller was to Austin as Pierre L’Enfant was to Washington D.C.; except Waller was not an architect of urban planning. Both designed elaborate plans for a capital city. Waller laid out a plan for the capital of the Republic of Texas, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Waller fought Indians and had been a ship’s captain but had no experience planning a town. The site for the capital was chosen in April of 1839. President Mirabeau Lamar gave Edwin Waller the task of designing it. Brush and timber had to be cleared and buildings erected before the 4th Congress convened in November. Lamar knew his friend Waller didn’t have the qualifications but knew he was a leader of men. Waller found competent surveyors and map makers like S.C Wiltse and William Sandusky. He advertised for laborer’s, wood cutters and craftsmen to report to him on the banks of the Colorado where the water-was-low. Five months after the start on the 17th of October, Waller greeted the President in Austin. Honored as the first mayor of Austin, he resigned to go home to Waller County where he was buried in 1881. He was reinterned in Austin at the State Cemetery in 1928. A county and creek in Texas are named for Edwin Waller.