Hutto, Texas has undergone a transformation over the past decade from a sleepy, rural Texas farm town of 1,250 in the Year 2000 to one of Austin’s fastest growing suburbs. The impetus for Hutto’s exponential growth has been quality, affordable housing and quality public schools coupled with the opening of SH-130 on the new Central Texas Turnpike System. Low crime, quality schools, moderate taxes, and convenient access to the Austin region and state have resulted in honors such as Hutto being named one of the “Top 100 Places in Major Markets to Locate Your Business” by Southern Business & Development as well as a host of other accolades.
All of the growth and change has not eroded a strong sense of community pride that has permeated Hutto since it was first settled in the mid 1800’s. Swedish and German immigrants came to this area to farm and ranch and begin their new lives in America.
Hutto is perhaps most widely known for its high school mascot – the hippo. According to local historian Mike Fowler, there are several alternate stories about the beginnings of the unique Hutto mascot. One is, the big Swedish and German boys of Hutto were playing their smaller foes in football, and the visiting coach exclaimed “We can’t beat those boys, they’re big as hippos!” Another story, also based on gridiron lore, is that the Hutto football team in the early twenties had no real jerseys and used feed sacks as their uniforms. The opposing coach allegedly said that the football team looked like a bunch of hippos in their makeshift outfits.
The most popular local legend is that in 1915 a circus train stopped in Hutto at the depot to take on passengers, pick up and deliver mail and possibly take on water and fuel for the steam locomotive. The circus train workers also would have taken this opportunity to care for their animals. At some point during this historic layover, a hippopotamus got out of the railcar and made its way to the nearby Cottonwood Creek which is next to the rail line. This caused much consternation for the circus workers. Local farmers and merchants watched the commotion in amusement and with interest as unsuccessful efforts were made to extricate the hippopotamus from the muddy waters of Cottonwood Creek. The Depot Agent telegraphed the communities of Taylor and Round Rock that were eight miles to the east and west of Hutto to the effect of: “STOP TRAINS, HIPPO LOOSE IN HUTTO”. After much effort the hippo was prodded from the mud and water that resembled its natural habitat and was reloaded back onto the train car. Soon afterward the Hutto School adopted the hippopotamus as its mascot and as early as 1923 the hippo appeared on official Hutto High School graduation announcements. Hutto is the only community in the United States with the Hippo as its mascot.