Texas A&M University’s Academic Building as an Incubator of Knowledge and Tradition

Matthew James Etchells, Warren L Chalklen, Lynn M Burlbaw

Abstract


At its inception in fall of 1873 Langford (1963) Texas A&M University, then known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, was little more than a lone building called Old Main, shortly followed by its close neighbor Old Gathright. For ten years these two buildings were the entirety of the College. When Old Main burnt down in 1912, a new and grand building was constructed on the same site in 1914. This new building, the Academic Building, has been honored with housing the Texas Liberty Bell replica, was a catalyst for a plethora of Aggie traditions, and is an incubator for new departments to sally forth. The Academic Building has been both a catalyst and a witness to the lives of Aggies since its inception.

As Texas A&M University grew around this building, however, the prestige and focus on the Academic Building in the foreground has dwindled. Recognized by all Aggies, but now visited by few, the future of the Academic Building’s status and purpose is uncertain. This research is a commentary on emergence and submergence, the life of an iconic presence at Texas A&M University, and on the necessity of keeping historic university buildings in the foreground of campus life.

Finally, this research questions the responsibility of stewardship and de rigueur of maintaining a historical narrative of a building central to the history of the American tertiary educational landscape in a period of modernity and expansion.

Keywords


Academic history, Academic building, Texas A&M University

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References


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