The Office of Alumni Relations and the Texas State Alumni Association are housed in a former boarding house that has been restored and relocated to LBJ and University drives.
The Alumni House is one of the oldest buildings on the Texas State campus. German craftsman Charles Sinz built the Victorian-style home in 1896 for Beverly Hutchison and her family. In the 1920s, R.E. Lola Miller, then-owner of the house, rented rooms to students.
In 1966, the San Marcos Urban Renewal Agency recommended that the Texas State Alumni Association use the building. Two years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson, an alumnus who had lived in the boarding house for two semesters, formally dedicated the Alumni House. Today, the home features a display of Johnson memorabilia and furnishings, including the desk and chair he used to sign the Higher Education Act of 1965.
The house has received the President’s Ranch Medallion and the Texas Historical Medallion. It also received a Texas Historic Landmark designation in 1968 and was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Dr. Mary L. Spence, granddaughter of Beverly Hutchison, the original owner, began restoration of the interior of the house in 1981. The wood floors were refinished, and plantation shutters, oriental rugs and period-style wallpaper were added.
The exterior of the Alumni House was restored and painted in 2004. Upon its completion, the house was presented the Landmarks Award by the Heritage Association of San Marcos.
921 Aquarena Springs Drive
Aquarena Center is home to the campus’ most beautiful natural feature, the crystal-clear springs that flow at a rate of 150 million gallons a day from the Edwards Aquifer. The springs feed the San Marcos River, which flows through campus and San Marcos and provides a home to several endangered species.
Archaeological research at the site shows that human habitation around the springs dates back to more than 12,000 years ago, making it the oldest continually inhabited site in North America.
Formerly a resort known as Aquarena Springs, Aquarena Center is now part of the Texas Rivers Center, managed by the River Systems Institute at Texas State. It is a showcase for education, research and environmental projects.
Featuring archaeological, endangered species and aquatic exhibits, along with the floating wetlands boardwalk, Aquarena Center is open to the public. Visitors can ride on the famous glass-bottom boats for a close-up view of the San Marcos Springs.
The Bobcat statue, located between the Taylor-Murphy History Building and the Psychology Building, was commissioned by the Associated Student Government in 2007 and created by sculptor Matthew Palmer. It was dedicated on Oct. 18, 2008.
The steep hill on which Old Main sits is known as Chautauqua Hill, named for the late-19th century national social movement. Chautauquas provided popular education combined with entertainment in the form of lectures, concerts and plays. From 1885 to 1895, a large tabernacle-like structure seating 1,500 occupied the pinnacle where Old Main now stands.
The Fighting Stallions statue is located by the west end of the Quad, in the plaza between Derrick Hall and Evans Liberal Arts Building. The 17-foot-high sculpture was a gift from noted sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington and husband Archer Huntington of South Carolina in 1952.
The 40-foot mural on the west wall of Flowers Hall depicts the intellectual pursuits of humanity and is the work of the late artist, muralist and sculptor James Buchanan “Buck” Winn. The mural, designed in 1958, is made of 138 engraved concrete blocks and “Blenke Glass,” a Winn invention.
Ranch Road 12
After making their fortunes in Texas cotton, oil, ranchland and Chevrolets, Harold M. “Harry” Freeman and his brother Joe — for whom San Antonio’s Freeman Coliseum is named — were longtime philanthropists. “Mr. Harry,” as he was called, bequeathed 3,485 acres of ranchland to Texas State. The property is held in a perpetual trust as the Harold M. Freeman Educational Foundation and used by the university for farm, ranch, game management, educational, recreational and experimental purposes.
The outdoor amphitheater below Harris Dining Hall was built in 1968 for well-known Texas State playwright-in-residence Ramsey Yelvington’s production, “Texian Trilogy.” The play premiered that season, but the shady, rock-benched theater went unused after that. In the spring of 1995, it reopened for a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” A Texas State play is now performed at Glade Theatre every spring.
The near-life-size statue, created by Lawrence M. Ludtke, depicts a young Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, as he may have appeared while a student at Texas State, then known as Southwest Texas State Teachers College. Johnson graduated in 1930 with a bachelor of science in history with a permanent teaching certificate.
The bodies of water surrounding the Theatre Center and adjacent to the J.C. Kellam Administration Building are the remnants of a U.S. Federal Fish Hatchery. Built in 1893, the 43-acre hatchery was the nation’s oldest when it was deeded to Texas State in 1965. It is now used by students in the aquatic biology program.
This red-roofed, castle-like landmark was the university’s first building, and until 1908, the only structure on campus. Designed by architect E. Northcraft, Old Main was built in a style known as Victorian Gothic.
Begun in 1902, the construction of Old Main proved complicated and expensive because the site lay directly over a cavern, which took load after load of concrete to fill. The building opened in time for the first classes in fall 1903. As other buildings were added, Old Main served as Texas State’s administration building.
Old Main has undergone many renovations. Originally, most of the second floor was a large auditorium/chapel, with an ornately carved and filigreed cathedral ceiling. With a stage at one end and a balcony at the other, general assemblies, plays and presentations were held here.
The auditorium was subdivided into smaller rooms in the 1972 renovation, and in 1988, a floor was added at the balcony level. However, the remnants of the ornate ceiling are still visible on the third floor. An extensive restoration in 1993-94 returned the famous roof to its original style and color.
Old Main now houses the College of Fine Arts and Communication Advising Center, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the student radio station, KTSW 89.9 FM.
On a hot summer day in 1916, Dr. S.M. “Froggy” Sewell, a mathematics professor, went wading into the brush- and weed-choked San Marcos River. No place was deeper than three feet, and he decided the college needed a park.
In 1917, the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries leased the college four acres of land along the river. College workers, armed with mud scrapers and mules, cleaned the river bottom, built up the banks and smoothed the slopes. It was called Riverside Park until 1946, when it was renamed in honor of Sewell.
The present-day plaza and basketball court was once an island, but the eastern fork of the river consistently clogged and was filled in. The S-shaped bend in the river was shored up by concrete walls in the 1920s. In 1984, a $1 million renovation gave the present six-acre park its current look.
Sewell Park is located next to Strahan Coliseum and is open to students, faculty and staff.
The Wittliff Collections
Alkek Library, seventh floor
The Wittliff Collections contains a wealth of material relating to regional literature, music, film and photography — and a handsome, inviting space of stucco, pine, and Saltillo tile in which to study and enjoy it. The Wittliff Collections consists of the Southwestern Writers Collection and the Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection. The Texas State University Archives include historical materials, campus memorabilia, a complete set of the Pedagog yearbooks, and other Texas State-related publications.
The Southwestern Writers Collection offers research opportunities to anyone interested in the region’s cultural studies, literature, history, film and music. Available are books and manuscripts, notes, diaries, photographs, correspondence, mementos and artifacts that offer insight into the creative processes and personal lives of southwestern artists, among them J. Frank Dobie, John Graves, Larry L. King, Larry McMurtry, Willie Nelson and Katherine Anne Porter. Exhibits, readings by award-winning writers, panel discussions, and symposiums are offered year-round. For details on events and online exhibits, visit www.swwc.txstate.edu.
The Southwestern & Mexican Photog-raphy Collection offers students the opportunity to experience world-class fine art photography on exhibit year-round and to study prints and processes documenting the history of photography from the 19th century to the present. The gallery features the largest collections of contemporary Mexican photography in the state and prized collections by Keith Carter, Mariana Yampolsky, Rocky Schenk, Graciela Iturbide and Russell Lee, among other leading figures. Informative presentations and artist talks are offered free to students. The print holdings are available for study, as is the gallery’s extensive collection of photography books, videos, serial publications and ephemera. For event calendars and online exhibits, visit www.wg.txstate.edu.