An essay about my experience at Quick Hill
I had been asking a lot of people in person and via e-mail where the film location was for a long time. A couple of people replied and said that you could still see the roof tops off of 1325 and that it was somewhere to the right of a pink watertower. This sent us on a wild goose chase trying to find the place. I explored Merriltown road, a windy road further south off of 1325 than Quick Hill road, as much as I could, thinking about jumping fences and exploring. We actually went into a country driveway at night, went through the open gate and realized that we were in the wrong place. Along the way, I twisted my ankle pretty good.
Some time later, I found Mr. Hansen's web page and asked him where the film location might be via e-mail. I was pleased to see that he had responded to me. But he only knew that it was off of Burnet road, now called 1325 and that even he was unable to find the place because some country roads had been closed by gates. The gates he's referring to are the gates that are at either end of Old Country Road 172.
But then I got the break I had been looking for. A co-worker of mine, Michelle, had some friends who claimed to have been to the location several times. After pursuing her and her friends to tell me where it was located, she brought me a map of where the houses were located. My wife and I went to the hill and I took pictures of the remains of the family house and the rear barn. After all that hiking, we were too tired to find the grandparents house and go through more barb wire. So we went back to the hill some weeks later and I took pictures of the remains of the grandparents house.
It wasn't until April of 1999 that I found out that the original family home had been purchased and moved from Quick Hill to Kingsland, TX. to become a restaurant. At this point, the restoration of the family house is almost complete. Please go to my section about the Antlers Inn for current information on the house.
Comparing my pictures to the film
When looking at all the pictures I have and the descriptions, you immediately realize that there's a lot more greenery in my pictures as opposed to the film. When the film was made in the summer of 1973, it's obvious the weather was stifling hot and the hill had not seen rain in a while. This happens almost every summer in almost every part of Texas. And it's not unusual to see most of the grass dying and turning a light brown color. When my wife and I visited the hill, it was in September of 1998. Although we were experiencing a drought throughout central Texas, we did have intermittent rain. In fact, we postponed the second trip to the hill because we had a very good rain recently. And I didn't want us walking through a lot of mud.
In addition to the greenery, you'll notice the natural overgrowth of the trees. Not only had the plants from 1973 grown into 25+ year old trees, but common traffic paths that were seen in the movie are now covered with green. An excellent example of comparing the 25 year growth is the picture of the back yard gate.
More notes about Old Country Road 172
When looking at the road, it's obvious that the road has not been kept up like a city road has. There is grass growing in the cracks, the yellow stripe in the middle is almost completely faded, and it's warped from natural erosion. But this road is still being used by cattle ranchers. They come in from the north gate of Old Country Road 172, heading south up the hill, and they turn left into the driveway. From my pictures of the fencing, you can tell that there is a cattle pen setup for rounding up the cattle that roams free on the property. At the top of the hill, there are barb wire posts put in the middle of the road and the fence extends down the hill southward. By this fact, it's plain to see that no one is driving to or from the top of the hill via the south part of old 172.
What is it like to be on Quick Hill?
It's quiet. But I was very excited to be there. It's very calm, almost like an escape from the hustle and bustle of Austin. The only noise you hear is the faint sound of cars and trucks flying by on IH-35 which is about a mile away. It is certainly a gorgeous place for a farm house. Isolated with quite the view from up top the hill. Since Old Country Road 172 used to be a public road, I would imagine that in it's time, occupants of either the family house or the grandparents house heard and felt the presence of Austin passing in front of them. In all probability, Old Country Road 172 was a heavily used road which may have prompted the city to build a newer, wider road to facilitate the traffic. Thus, the road that remains today, Quick Hill Rd. 172 that goes around the side of the hill.
It's a hike to walk from the north entrance to the top of the hill. The road is in bad shape. There's nothing to see from left to right until you arrive at the top. We walked some around what's left of the grandparents house and found a pond of water. This reminded me of the watering hole that Kirk and Pam were trying to find in the movie. But that location was further south from where we were. I never got a chance to look for that. There's plenty of cow dung to dodge as well. Around the houses remains, there are some beer bottles and cans. They all look very old though. So I don't think that there's been any recent parties there. The only other original remains to be found around the grandparents house is a colapsing barb wire fence and a good part of the wooden roof. It's obvious that the grandparents house has been down for a long time because there are small trees growing everywhere, inside and outside the perimeter of where the house used to be.
My unanswered questions
I have several unanswered questions. And I hope that visitors to my site can e-mail me some answers. I already have Gunnar Hansen to thank for answering a few of them for me.
Some of my original questions have been answered just recently when I found the family house moved to Kingsland, TX.
1.) When were the structures built and who built them? What families have lived in the houses? Until when did the last occupants move out?
ANSWER: I have the names of the family that originally built and lived in the house. But I cannot release the name on my web site because I don't have permission to publish them here. One of the things that I'm pursuing is getting in contact with them to find out more about the history of the house and their stay there. But that's going to be a real challenge because I've been told from a reliable source (a key person that was involved with the sale of the house) that the family is quite scattered in and out of Texas.
2.) When and exactly why did they close Old Country Road 172?
3.) I understand that after the movie, the occupants constructed a fence around the house because of fans and onlookers. What was the worst consequence the occupants endured because of the popularity of the film? Did they ever see the movie? What was the best thing that happened to them or the site because of the movie? I hope to find the answers to that question when I get in contact with the original owners.
4.) What does the future hold for Quick Hill?
ANSWER: Refer to this page for the current update. Basically, it's due to be bulldozed over for a freeway.