In 1885, the Servant Girl Annihilator preyed upon the city of Austin’s domestic servants and sent an otherwise tranquil city into a state of distrust and near bedlam with eight violent murders carried out with an axe.
The University of Texas opened its doors in September of 1883, a mere 15 months prior to when the still-unidentified serial killer began his string of murders in December of 1884. As student’s were just getting acclimated to a new campus, the map shows some of the city’s most brutal murders occuring just a few miles, and in some instances only blocks, away from the university’s old main building.
The most eerie bit of information to learn as a UT student is that the murder of Orange Washington and Gracie Vance occurred directly on Guadalupe Street, in the space now occupied by retail chain Urban Outfitters. Students walk in front of the store daily, and unless up to date on Austin history, are unaware that one of the city’s most heinous crimes occured here.
The Austin Axe Murderer struck in several other locations that have direct, creepy ties to UT. The brutal murder of Eliza Shelley in May of 1885 occured directly at the location where the Vince Young Steakhouse currently serves expensive steaks and cocktails to unknowing patrons. Just a block north of the steakhouse, where the Courtyard by Marriot/Austin Convention Center is currently located, 11 year-old Mary Ramey was murdered in August of 1885. The slaying of Mollie Smith happened where Whole Foods is currently located, the same store many UT students frequent to purchase their groceries.
In all, the map encompasses all of the Servant Girl murders and provides an excellent backdrop to visualize while listening to the Devilish Deeds podcast.
You can find the map here.