Historic black neighborhood. Settled in 1871 when Charles Clark, a freedman, bought two acres of land on present Tenth Street. This formed the nucleus of the community that Clark, according to tradition, wanted to start for his people.
For years Clarksville lay in a wilderness on the outskirts of Austin, crossed only by a few country roads. Gradually it grew into a closely knit village, with activities centering on the Sweet Home Baptist Church. At first members met in the home of Mrs. Mary Smith. Then, in 1882, they purchased this site.
Religious fervor was strong in those days, and the residents often stood on their porches at dawn to begin the day with a hymn. The first church building was erected in the 1880s; present (fourth) one in 1935.
Among Clarksville's distinguished citizens was Elias Mayes, who served in the Texas Legislature in 1879 and 1889. One of the first ministers of Sweet Home, the Rev. Jacob Fontaine, was instrumental in unifying negro Baptist churches in Austin and started the first negro newspaper, "The Gold Dollar", in the city.
As of 1973, Clarksville encompassed over 9 square blocks, bounded by Tenth, West Lynn, and Waterston Streets and the Missouri-Pacific Railroad trackes.