Third Base Lemonade

The 1911 Faculty vs. Senior Class Baseball Game

The mighty faculty baseball team was supposed to be unstoppable, but no one was prepared for Gene Harris’ lemonade.

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“The date for the henceforth-to-be-annual Faculty-Senior game has been set at Thursday, May 18,” announced The Texan student newspaper. The 1911 spring term had only a few weeks to go before final exams, followed by commencement week in early June. “Everybody talk it up,” the Texan continued, “Let’s make this one of our best annual ‘doings.’ It’s going to be a hard, fast contest, and everyone should turn out!”

The idea for a faculty vs senior class bout apparently originated with first-year baseball coach William J. “Billy” Disch, who had organized something similar at his previous coaching post at Saint Edward’s College (now University) in South Austin. As many present-day Longhorn fans know well, Disch remained head coach for 28 years, won 465 collegiate games, 22 conference titles, and molded the UT baseball program into a national powerhouse. But in 1911, Disch was a rookie on the Forty Acres, and was looking for ways to be involved on the campus.

Above: The 1911 University of Texas Baseball Team. First-year coach Billy Disch is on the right in the middle row.

The faculty team wasn’t going take it easy on the graduating seniors. The squad included physics professor Bill Mather, who’d played shortstop for Amherst College, and German professor (and former UT football coach) Bill Metzenthin, who’d been a center fielder for Columbia University. Dan Penick, a Greek professor, tennis coach, and UT alumnus, had earned three baseball letters during his undergraduate years. Also on the team was education professor Caswell Ellis, botany professor Frank Heald, philosophy instructor John Keen, education professor Bill Sutton, zoology professor John Patterson, and Alex Krey, a Medieval history instructor who reportedly played “like a big leaguer.” Disch was to play catcher, and for more than a week, after regular practice with the UT team, Disch worked with the faculty squad to get them ready.

The seniors, meanwhile, weren’t allowed to include any members of the baseball team on their roster, and struggled to find comparable athletes who also had time to practice. With the end of the academic year approaching, term projects, research papers, and upcoming final exams were higher priorities. Prospects for the senior class were grim.

No worries. Gene Harris had the solution.

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Above: A 1908 view of the UT campus, with the newly-opened Law Building at lower right. It was replaced by the Graduate School of Business building in the 1970s. 

Eugene L. Harris hailed from Ysleta, Texas, then a small town just southeast of El Paso. In the summer of 1906, after graduating from El Paso High School, Gene boarded a train for the nearly 700 mile ride through Marfa, Del Rio, San Antonio, and finally north to Austin.

Harris planned to enter the University of Texas and earn a law degree, at the time a Bachelor of Laws and Letters (LL. B.). While the study of law then required only two years, University officials highly recommended “pre-law” students take two years of general studies in the Academic Department (arts and sciences) to gain a stronger background in history, government, and English. Harris completed his academic studies and entered the Law School in 1908, only to discover that he was part of the first class to be admitted to a new, three-year law program that had recently become the national standard. Though Harris’ time on the Forty Acres had been extended by a year, he could take some comfort in knowing he was also among the first to occupy a new Law Building in the southeastern corner of the campus.

Above: The Law Building, dedicated in 1908, as seen from the top floor of Old Main. 

Outgoing and jovial, Harris was well-liked and respected by his fellow students. He was active in the Students’ Assembly, joined the Athenaeum Literary Society, and participated on the UT Debate Team. He was editor-in-chief of the Texan newspaper for the 1907-08 academic year, and for four years served as the University’s Head Yell Leader. A highly-prized, elected position, the yell leader was considered to be the caretaker of UT’s college spirit. While the students had an established tradition of yells and cheers, Harris invented a few of his own, including the “Long Hey” yell:

Harris, though, also had a mischievous streak, one that often ran afoul of the faculty. A talented voice impersonator, Harris would telephone a newly-hired faculty member, claim to be University President Sidney Mezes (photo at left), and demand the young professor “be at my house at 8 p.m. tonight to discuss a serious matter.” More than once, Mezes was surprised to find an anxious college instructor at his doorstep, hat in hand, at the appointed time.

Over the course of his student career, Harris “accepted” multiple invitations to appear before Dr. Mezes and the Faculty Discipline committee. He participated in too many freshman-sophomore class rushes, painted the water tank behind the old Main Building one night that led to a skirmish between rival law and engineering students, and his ability to imitate the president over the phone was eventually discovered. At one point, the faculty planned to suspend Harris for three months. It took a great deal of pleading by his friends to save Harris from an enforced vacation from the Forty Acres.

As a senior law student, Harris kept his head low as he wanted to graduate, but the Faculty vs. Senior Class Baseball Game provided an irresistible opportunity. The underdog seniors needed help to win the game, and Harris knew just how to provide it.

Above: Congress Avenue and downtown Austin in 1911.

On the morning of May 18th, Harris took the electric trolley downtown to Graham’s Drug Store and purchased a gallon of Citrate of Magnesia, a quick and effective laxative to the uninitiated. (Harris would later recall the genuine look of concern on Dr. Graham’s face.) At Weilbacher’s Confectionary, Harris acquired a bag of sugar and several dozen lemons. Elsewhere, he found two pails, a pair of tin cups, and ice, and proceeded to make a special kind of lemonade with rather serious side effects. To one of the pails, Harris attached an anonymous note: “For the Faculty, from an admiring friend.”

The game was to be held at old Clark Field, about where the O’Donnell Building and Gates/Dell Computer Science Complex are today. Harris arrived a few minutes before the first pitch and gave the pails full of spiked lemonade to a youngster, with instructions to place them next to third base.

Above: The original Clark Field, UT’s first athletic field, was used for both football and baseball. Up the hill to the right is the old Main Building, where the Tower stands today.

It was a warm and sunny afternoon, and a large crowd was on hand to witness the home field senior class take on the faculty. President Mezes and engineering dean Thomas Taylor helped to officiate, and Dr. Mezenthin took the pitcher’s mound. Two pails of lemonade, so thoughtfully provided for the faculty, waited for those who made it as far as third base.

As expected, the professors scored early. Dr. Ellis, the team’s shortstop, hit a stand-up triple, and was the first to sample the refreshments. He scored when Coach Disch, to the delight of the fans, knocked the ball toward left field for a home run. Dr. Patterson (for whom Patterson Labs are named), surprised everyone with a beautiful slide into home to score in the fourth inning. As the game continued, though, more and more of the faculty availed themselves of the lemonade, whether or not they’d made it to third base.

The determined seniors fought back, but by the seventh inning stretch, the score was 11 – 7 in favor of the faculty.  Suddenly, Dr. Ellis hurriedly left the field without a forwarding address. As the team huddled to discuss his replacement, the entire outfield went missing. The rapid exodus continued until Dr. Mezenthin, alone atop the pitcher’s mound, was the only player left for the faculty. The game was over prematurely, for no matter how closely lemons, sugar, and Citrate of Magnesia might taste like lemonade, it doesn’t act like lemonade. The senior class promptly declared victory by default.

Above: The old Main Building. President Mezes’ office was on the first floor.

Thanks to a tip from pharmacist Graham, President Mezes soon uncovered the truth and determine the culprit, and issued an “invitation” for Gene Harris to come to the president’s office Friday morning in Old Main. Harris arrived to find Mezes alone; much of the Faculty Discipline Committee had played baseball the day before.

Mezes was livid. Harris had violated just about every rule possible, had disrupted the academic work of the University, and had caused members of the faculty extreme discomfort and embarrassment. And Harris was a law student. After an extended and stern lecture, Mezes asked the customary question: “Mr. Harris, what action to you think should be taken?”

Harris panicked, confessed his guilt, and then blurted out that the faculty had already taken all of the action possible or necessary.

The usually staid president stared for a moment, then chuckled, and finally leaned back and roared. He rose, extended his hand, and said that he’d enjoyed their relationship, and thought Harris not as bad a person as his actions might appear. A stunned Harris was ushered out of the office with a final “Good luck!” and graduated a few weeks later.

Life in Cliff Courts

The G. I. Bill more than doubled UT enrollment in three months.

Above: Post World War II class change on the Main Mall. 

When the war ended, the invasion began.

On June 22, 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, more commonly known as the “G.I. Bill.” (Photo at left.) With millions of veterans returning home from the Second World War, and with limited employment and housing opportunities to greet them, the legislation was meant both to ease the transition to civilian life, and mitigate the surge of jobseekers on the economy.

The G.I. Bill provided a variety of assistance from which a veteran could choose: a year of unemployment benefits, low interest loans to start a business or buy a house, or stipends for tuition and living expenses to attend a vocational school or a four-year college or university.

Designers of the bill added the education benefit both to allay concerns that too many of America’s youth had missed college because of the war, and to delay some veterans from entering the job market immediately. As the war was ending, surveys of the troops indicated that about 200,000 planned to enter college, but the actual number surprised everyone. Just over two million veterans – more than ten times the estimate – opted to continue their education.

Universities scrambled to accommodate the flood of new students. Additional teachers were hired. Congress authorized $75 million for a Federal Works Administration Project that transported what were then unused barracks and other buildings from military bases to college campuses as makeshift dorms and temporary classrooms. But the issue was more complicated than just finding room for everyone. As students, the veterans were unlike any of their predecessors.

Traditional college undergraduates had long been between 18 and 22 years old, just out of high school, and living on their own for the first time. The veterans, though, were older, more mature, and the war had provided many of them with significant life experiences. They were serious about completing their degrees, asked more questions in class, and usually earned higher grades than their younger counterparts.  “The returning service men and women who now fill our institutions of higher learning to overflowing are by far the ablest students American college teachers have been privileged to instruct,” lauded Chancellor Bill Tolley of Syracuse University. “Thousands of college professors dread the approach of that inevitable day when they will be back among the eighteen-year-olds, and once more must measure their strength against the resisting medium of the adolescent mind.”

Some of the veterans were also married. Before the GI Bill, a married student was still a campus rarity; at some colleges it had been grounds for dismissal. And a size-able number of married students had already started families. For the first time, baby carriages, diapers, and high chairs were a part of the American collegiate scene.

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While the University of Texas had prepared for an influx of veterans, the full effect of the GI Bill created something of a campus emergency. Enrollment at the end of the spring 1946 semester was 6,794. Three months later, 17,108 students arrived for fall classes, of whom almost 11,000 were veterans. (Over the next decade, over 25,000 World War II vets would attend UT.) Some academic departs doubled or tripled in size overnight, while the law school increased ten-fold, from 78 to 797 students.

Class registration, to put it kindly, was a challenge. Students crowded the loggia at the south entrance to the Main Building to pick up registration time cards (photo at left) before waiting in extensive lines at Waggener Hall to complete forms, present medical records, and sign up for placement tests. Registration itself was held in the un-air conditioned Gregory Gym, where tables for academic departments were arranged in rows and students placed their names on class rosters. The more popular courses and class times filled up early; those who waited to start the process at the Main Building had fewer choices.

Above: Class registration in a crowded Gregory Gym.

Living off limited government stipends, most veterans couldn’t afford to replace their entire wardrobe with civilian clothes right away, and instead sported the military apparel they still owned. The campus teemed with flight jackets, naval pea coats, and Eisenhower jackets (or “Ike jackets”). All were worn with the ubiquitous gold discharge lapel pins (photo at right). For a time, it was impossible to enter a store on the Drag and not hear veterans sharing their war stories.

As expected, Veteran-related student organizations proliferated. The Ex-Servicemen’s Association was, by far, the largest group on campus, along with the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Navy Pilot Club, Canopy Club (Army parachutists), Semper Fidelis Club (Marines), Disabled American Veterans, and even a group for former prisoners of war.

Above: With a table in front of Gregory Gym during class registration, the Ex-Servicemen’s Association recruits new members.

Sprinting just ahead of the flood of new students, University administrators raced to add 176 full-time teaching positions and revamped the class schedule to run continuously from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., while lab classes continued until 11:30 p.m. Additional classroom space was provided through 14 surplus military buildings transported from Camp Wallace in Galveston. One was placed on the South Mall – where Parlin Hall stands today – to serve as the campus offices of the Veterans Administration. The others housed 36 classrooms, four chemistry labs, an engineering workshop, faculty offices, a student health service annex, and a cafeteria.

Above left: Temporary classroom facilities installed on the East Mall as seen from the UT Tower observation deck. Look close! Two more are on either side of Gregory Gym. Click on an image for a larger view.  

What used to be a longstanding, campus-wide lunch break from 1 – 2 p.m. was abandoned, in part, because there simply wasn’t room for everyone to dine at the same time. The Texas Union’s Commons could accommodate 2,000 persons, and cafes along the Drag and just south of campus could handle another 1,500. Most students either went home or brought lunch with them.

The greatest concern, though, was housing. Residence halls, boarding houses, and apartments filled quickly. Soon, there were veterans living in attics, basements, garages, or any nook that might hold a bed and a desk.

The University’s three men’s residence halls – Brackenridge, Roberts, and Prather- temporarily increased the usual two persons per room to three  room. Eight, two-story Bachelor Officers’ Quarters – or “BOQs” – were acquired from Louisiana and placed along San Jacinto Boulevard as additional men’s dorms.To accommodate some of the married students, UT constructed the Brackenridge Apartments on the Brackenridge Tract southwest of campus near Lake Austin.

Above: This photo of the 1963 groundbreaking for the alumni center includes an image of one of the two “BOQs” placed on the site as temporary dorms. In all, eight BOQs were positioned along San Jacinto Boulevard. 

Perhaps the most unusual housing arrangements were 150 hutments. Pre-fabricated, 16-foot square units, they were originally built for Higgins Industries, a large, prolific defense contractor based in New Orleans. The hutments were to house employees but never used, and acquired by the University through the Federal Emergency Housing Administration. Grouped in to three “mini-neighborhoods” on campus and at the Brackenridge Tract, each unit housed up to four persons. Furnished, with electricity, running water, heat, and with a bathroom (though no kitchen, air conditioning, or telephone service), rent was $22.00 per month, split among the residents. To better serve the students, the University connected the hutments with sidewalks, and added clotheslines, storm drains, and trash bins.

Above: The University constructed three neighborhoods of hutments: at Little Campus, where the Collections Deposit Library now stands; on the northeast corner of campus, the site of today’s Law School; and on the Brackenridge Tract. 

At the last minute, 33 additional “double hutments” were ordered. These were twice the size (16 x 32 feet), divided into a study area on one side, and with sleeping quarters and a bathroom on the other. Arranged in four rows, the hutments were placed just south of Prather Hall, about where the RecSports outdoor basketball courts are today. The location was atop a short cliff that overlooked present day Clark Field, and was named “Cliff Courts.” Rent was slightly higher, $30.00 per month, divided among roommates.

Above: An overhead view and map of the Cliff Courts area. Gregory Gym, Brackenridge, Roberts, and Prather Halls, as well as the stadium, can be seen along the top. To the left, the intramural field is the present site of Jester Center residence hall and the Blanton Museum of Art. The open field to the right is today’s Clark Field. In the middle, the four rows of pre-fabicated huts that were cliff Courts.

The hutments were meant to be a makeshift housing solution and expected to last three years. But while the other hutment communities had disappeared by 1950, Cliff Courts remained for over a decade.

Isolated from the busier areas of campus, the “Cliff Dwellers,” as the residents came to be known, created their own community. As veterans, they shared their war experiences, helped each other through the trials of returning to school, and formed lifelong friendships. While they were serious about completing their degrees, more than one Cliff Dweller noticed that the Courts were much closer to Scholz’ Beer Garden than to UT’s main library, then in the Tower.

The residents found ways to dine together (either by using electric hot pots to cook simple meals or going together to one of the off-campus cafes), fielded intramural sports teams, and organized their own social events. The group’s first dance party was held in the Roberts Hall lounge. Refreshments were provided, music was courtesy a borrowed record player, prizes awarded to the best waltzers and jitter-buggers, and “card tables, ping-pong tables, and other amusements” were available. When warm weather made sleeping in the un-air conditioned hutments difficult, the Cliff Dwellers moved their beds outside, next to the overhang above today’s Clark Field, and slept under the stars, taking advantage of the southeastern breezes that arrived from the Gulf of Mexico.

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Over the years, as the surge of returning veterans eased, Cliff Courts remained as an inexpensive housing option for more traditional UT students. Rent was raised slightly, to $45 per semester for each resident, to help with the rising costs of maintenance on the hutments. It was, in the long run, a losing battle. The structures were meant to be temporary, but the constant upkeep made it economically difficult to operate them. Besides, the lack of conveniences, especially of telephone service, made the Courts less popular.  In 1960, after a 14-year run, Cliff Courts was closed and the hutments sold.

Above: An aerial view of the Cliff Courts area. Waller Creek and San Jacinto Boulevard are lower right, next to today’s Clark Field. Cliff Courts was perched on the shallow cliff above the field, just south of Prather Hall.

To Serve the Nation

The University’s World War I service flag is 100-years old March 2nd.

Above: A century ago, on March 2, 1918, a hand-sewn, 10 1/2 x 16 foot World War I service flag was presented to the University.

It’s nine pounds of wool and grommets that tells a story like no other.

Among the extensive collections preserved by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, a 10 ½ x 16 foot relic from UT’s past is a poignant reminder of a time when normalcy on the Forty Acres was upended and replaced by a single-minded effort to aid the country at war. While universities have often described their missions in terms of education, research, and service, the First World War required the University of Texas to put almost everything else on hold and focus on its service to the nation.

One of the many wartime projects was the creation of an enormous University service flag. A team of faculty wives and UT co-eds carefully hand-cut and sewed more than 1,500 stars – on each side – to honor members of the University community enlisted in the armed forces. Officially presented on March 2, 1918 as part of UT’s Texas Independence Day celebration, the flag is a century old this year.

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World War I was a defining moment for American higher education. Before 1917, colleges and universities were viewed by many to be frivolous or elitist, not as opportunities for social and economic mobility. Professors were rarely asked for advice on issues or problems of the day. Despite curriculum reforms to include more “practical” courses in science and engineering, and business — along with the more traditional Greek, Latin, and the classics — colleges in the early 20th century had failed to win widespread support from government, business, and the public. The world war changed everything.

Caught up in the patriotic fervor that pervaded the nation, male students rushed to enlist in the armed forces, which decimated college enrollments. At co-ed institutions like the University of Texas, women assumed leadership roles that had traditionally been denied to them. Professors who specialized in subjects useful for war were recruited for their expertise.

To avoid the closure of hundreds of male-only colleges, a national Student Army Training Corps was created, which allowed students to both remain in school and receive military instruction. Because the corps was open to any high school graduate, legions of young men who might otherwise have joined the work force found themselves on a college campus, and either graduated or returned after the war to finish their degrees.

By the end of the conflict, universities had firmly established themselves in the public eye as a national resource. The college campus became a place where American youth could be transformed into broadly-educated and valued citizens.

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In Austin, the entry of the U.S. into the First World War on April 6, 1917, transformed campus life almost immediately. Unsure where to begin, the faculty promptly organized itself into a military company. Led by philosophy professor Al Brogan as honorary captain, 84 professors agreed to participate in one hour of drill and shooting practice three days a week. The group included honorary Private and UT President Robert Vinson. Senior members who were too old for active military training assisted history professor Eugene Barker with planting a war garden.

The faculty, of course, did much more than drill. Almost 40 professors were granted leaves of absence to engage in government service, often in officers’ training camps, hospitals, or intelligence. On campus, research in psychology, biology, and chemistry was directed toward the war effort.  Home economics professor Mary Gearing organized a widely-touted war college for Texas women that focused on food production and conservation, as well as women in wartime industrial roles. With funding from the Department of Agriculture, Gearing dispatched groups of UT co-eds to rural areas across the state to instruct farmers on the best methods for food preservation. At the same time, the University produced four widely-distributed bulletins with recipes to help conserve food staples.

Above: The “Save the Sugar” bulletin was one of four in a series. Other bulletins were filled with recipes – created and tested on campus – to conserve wheat, meat, and fat.

Most notable, perhaps, was chemistry professor James Bailey (photo at left). As a UT undergraduate, Bailey was better known as one of the authors of the University’s first yell, but after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Munich, he returned to Austin as a professor of organic chemistry. In 1915, when war broke out in Europe, medical supplies of the anesthetic drug Novocaine quickly ran short. The drug had been discovered in Germany, which wasn’t going to share the formula with its wartime enemies. Bailey volunteered to help, worked with Alcan Hirsch in New York, and “rediscovered” both Novocaine and a synthetic Adrenalin, a significant contribution to the war effort for all of the Allies.

In 1917, over 1,000 UT students rushed off to enlist, but with the advent of the Student Army Training Corps a year later, campus enrollment again swelled to accommodate those who were concurrently students and members of the U.S. Army. The Forty Acres was converted into an armed encampment, as students in uniform woke to the sounds of “Reveille,” marched in formation to meals, and followed a strict schedule that included both academics and military training. Sentries were posted at University buildings, and professors were required to present proper identification to enter their offices and classrooms.

Above: Members of the UT Student Army Training Corps fall in to formation in front of a row of wooden barracks along the west side of Speedway (where Waggener Hall and the McCombs School are today). On the hill to the right, Pig Bellmont, UT’s first live mascot, inspects the troops.

In late April 1917, President Vinson was appointed to the Council of National Defense and requested to attend a strategic conference in Washington, D.C. The meeting formalized an idea supported by President Woodrow Wilson to better involve universities in the war effort. In order to take advantage of existing college facilities and instructors, the U. S. government established special military schools for aviators at campuses throughout the country. Six colleges were initially chosen to host a School of Military Aeronautics (SMA), and the University of Texas was among them. The SMA was to provide basic technical instruction for beginning pilots before they moved on to flight training. An eight-week session included classes in the history and theory of flight, meteorology, astronomy, machine guns, aerial combat, and the use of signal flags in communication. Those attending the SMA were soldiers in a new branch of the Army known as the “Air Service,” later to become the Air Force, and were not considered university students. Instructors for the SMA included both army officers and UT professors.

Above: The official flag of UT’s School of Military Aeronautics is still preserved in the University Archives, a part of the Briscoe Center.

The SMA opened in June 1917. It was first housed in B. Hall, the first men’s dorm, but the SMA quickly grew from 50 students to several hundred. It was moved to more spacious quarters in buildings once used by the state’s Blind Institute, now called the “Little Campus,” just north of the Erwin Center, where Hargis Hall and the Nowotny Building remain. When the war ended, the SMA had expanded to almost 1,200 students. The largest in the country, it was given the nickname “West Point of the Air,” and was a prototype for the U. S. Air Force Academy.

Above: The School of Military Aeronautics in formation on the Little Campus. Only the building on the left remains as today’s John Hargis Hall, used for Freshman Admissions.

The success of the School for Military Aeronautics placed the university in good stead with the War Department, which assigned two additional schools to the Austin campus. The School for Automobile Mechanics opened in March 1918 at Camp Mabry in northwest Austin. Three hundred men at a time completed a six-week course before being sent overseas to the war. Like the SMA, instructors included members of the university faculty.

A month later, the School for Radio Operators was established on the campus. It took over the B. Hall quarters vacated by the SMA, but needed more classroom space than was available. To solve the problem, several rows of large canvas army tents were pitched in front of the old Main Building (photo at right), along what is now the South Mall. Once opened, radio students and their equipment were a common sight on the hilltops and in the valleys west of Austin.

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One of the by-products of World War I was the invention of the service flag (photo at left). Designed by Robert Queissner, an Army captain from Cleveland, Ohio, the rectangular banner featured a blue star on a white background with a red border. Queissner initially created and displayed a pair of flags as a patriotic tribute to his two sons, who were in France fighting on the front line. But the idea quickly became popular nationally, and service flags were visible on front doors, in living room windows and on Main Street storefronts. Each blue star represented a son or daughter enlisted in the armed forces during wartime. If a person died in service, the blue star was covered with a gold one.

In February 1918, members of the University Ladies Club — spouses, daughters, sisters, and mothers of UT faculty and staff — decided that the University of Texas needed a service flag of its own, one large enough to display blue stars to honor all of the faculty and alumni engaged in the war effort. Spearheaded by the wife of engineering professor Ed Bantel, the Ladies Club recruited the Women’s Council, a student organization for UT co-eds, and discussed plans for an ambitious project.

Above: The University ladies Club and the Women’s Council work on the service flag.

The flag required a full two weeks of labor, with volunteers divided into 15-person shifts. Made from “a fine grade French flannel,” the entire flag measured 10 1/2 x 16 feet. The white center was 6 1/2 x 12 feet, and was initially filled with 1,570 blue stars. Each was 1 1/2  inches tall, individually traced, cut, placed, and hand sewn in meticulous straight lines. While Captain Queissner’s original service banner was intended to be hung against a wall or in a window, with the blue star visible only on one side, the ladies elected to make the university’s version a true flag, so that two star fields were created, attached back-to-back, and a two-foot wide red border sewn around it.

Above: The University’s service flag was presented on March 2, 1918.

Ready by March 2nd, the flag was introduced at the University’s Texas Independence Day ceremonies in the old wooden gym that pre-dated Gregory Gymnasium.  Following a rousing rendition of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by the UT Band, Charlotte Spence, chair of the Women’s Council, formally presented the flag to the university. Space was left for 140 additional stars, and, instead of a gold-colored material, eight of the stars had white toppings to indicate those who had died. Before the war was over, the remaining stars would be added (more faculty and alumni served in the war than the flag could accommodate), and 85 stars would be topped in white.

Once completed, the service flag was a popular public symbol of the university’s commitment to the war effort, and was proudly displayed in the rotunda of the Old Main Building. On rare occasions it was attached to the outer brick walls of the old Main Building for commencement and other ceremonies.

Above: Patriotism Day on Nov. 14, 1919. The service flag is carefully lowered from the University’s flag pole. Click on an image for a larger view.

One year after the war ended, on Friday, November 14, 1919, the university held a “Patriotism Day” memorial. At noon, in accordance to “General Order No. 1 as issued by President Robert Vinson,” classes were dismissed, and all students, faculty and staff assembled in military style in front of Old Main, where, for the first and only time, the service flag had been hung on the university’s flag pole.

Engineering dean Thomas Taylor acted as commanding officer. The names of University men and women who lost their lives were read, “Taps” was heard, and as the band played “The Star Spangled Banner,” the flag was slowly lowered, folded, and solemnly carried into the Library (now Battle Hall) to be stored in the archives.

The Alumni Room

The message was direct, succinct, and dire.

“The Alumni Association,” wrote Houston lawyer Ed Parker (right) in 1910, “has not possessed that vigor essential to practical achievement . . . [It] has at this time no complete records, no fixed habitation, no funds, no really effective organization. That such a condition should not be permitted to continue does not admit of argument.”

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Founded in 1885 by the 34 members of UT’s first two graduating classes (one with a B.A. and the rest with law degrees), the University’s new alumni association seemed full of potential. By 1891, the Association boasted 250 members, and a committee led by Robert Batts met with the faculty and Board of Regents to explore ways the alumni might be of service.

The following year, the Association announced plans to help build a YMCA building near the campus. At the turn of the 20th century, YMCAs – with meeting rooms for student groups, cafeterias, study lounges, and gym facilities – were popular among colleges as a precursor to student unions. The project was eventually realized with the opening of the University YMCA (above left) at the corner of 22nd and Guadalupe Streets.

In 1899, the alumni raised nearly $1,000 to pay one-third of the cost of UT’s first athletic field, later named for Proctor James Clark. A year later, another $1,000 was pledged for a pair of marble busts – of former Texas Governor Oran Roberts and Sir Swante Palm – sculpted by Austin artist Elizabeth Ney. As governor, Roberts had ensured the passage of the 1881 legislation that created the University, while Palm, a Swedish immigrant who lived in Austin, had bequeathed most of his 12,000-volume personal library to UT.

Above: The alumni association’s first tangible gifts to UT were two marble busts of Oran Roberts (left) and Swante Palm. Today, they’re on display in the research room of the Briscoe Center for American History.

Scholarship fundraising had also begun, with the first $100 awarded in 1899. Soliciting donations, though, was strictly informal. For several years, members of the scholarship committee personally wrote or visited with their fellow alumni in cities and towns throughout the state, asking for one dollar contributions.

So, too, was the observance of Texas Independence Day on March 2nd. Since 1897, when UT students legally borrowed a cannon from the Capitol and fired it in front of the old Main Building (left), celebrating the birthday of the Texas Republic had become a favorite campus tradition. At the Association’s annual meeting in 1900, Bob Saner from Dallas suggested that the alumni should continue the custom. A special proclamation was created and received unanimous approval. It stated:  “Wherever two ex-students of the University of Texas shall meet on March 2, Texas Independence Day, they shall sit and break bread together and pay tribute to the founders of the Republic of Texas who made our education possible.” The tradition continues today, chiefly among the Texas Exes chapters, who often use their March 2 parties to raise funds for scholarships.

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But by 1910, as the Association was completing its first quarter century, the group seemed to have lost momentum. Most of the activity centered on the annual meeting in June, in conjunction with spring graduation, and the agenda was primarily about electing new officers and appointing the following year’s alumni commencement speaker. Concerned voices were raised. The Austin Statesman reported that the 1903 meeting evolved into a general discussion on “why the alumni showed such a lack of interest in the affairs of the association.” Speeches were made, a committee was organized to look into the issue, but a definitive solution was elusive.

As for the 1910 gathering, Parker was unable to attend, hadn’t planned to run for an office, and didn’t know he’d been elected president until his predecessor, Will Crawford, personally visited with Parker months later. Completely surprised, he asked about the state of UT’s alumni affairs and was appalled. While dues were supposed to be a dollar a year, no one bothered to pay them, and there’d been no money in the Association’s treasury since 1905.

Above: The UT campus and University Avenue around 1910.

Parker agreed to take on the role as president anyway, and then requested his fellow officers – the Executive Council – to attend a Thanksgiving Day meeting in Austin. He proposed a significant and ambitious overhaul for the group, and with the Council’s input, established some short and long term goals. A month later, on December 20th, Parker sent a three-page circular letter to about 2,000 known alumni, effectively telling everyone, “We need to get our act together.”

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Parker’s message was timely. Alumni associations for American higher education had been around since at least 1821, when the graduates of Williams College in Massachusetts founded a “Society of Alumni.” But it wasn’t until the 1900s that campus administrators widely began to realize the value of an organized alumni group as a part of the university community. There was fundraising, of course, but alumni were also contributing members of advisory committees and governing boards, advocates in political matters, promoters of higher education in their local schools, mentors and professional connections for students, and more.

The University of Michigan’s alumni group hired a full-time “alumni secretary” to assist the organization. Other colleges soon followed, and a national association of alumni secretaries was being organized to share ideas. At the same time, alumni newsletters and magazines, some of them published weekly, were becoming more common and connecting alumni in new ways. If Texas had waited much longer, it would have found itself behind.

Above right: Princeton University’s Alumni Weekly was first published in 1900.

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In his letter, Parker outlined five objectives:

  • To encourage stronger attendance at the annual meetings and to better connect the alumni with each other, official class reunions would be held. In 1911, UT’s first 10 graduating classes, from 1884 – 1893, would be featured. The 1912 meeting would highlight the second 10, and 1913 – the University’s 30th anniversary – would showcase the last 10 classes. In lighthearted fashion, the oldest group was dubbed the “Ancients,” the middle group called the “Medievals,” and the most recent graduates were the “Old Timers.” “Out of these reunions will spring close class organizations,” Parker wrote, “and it is suggested that arrangements be made by each class to meet in Austin every fifth year.”

Right: A ribbon worn by one of the “Medievals” at the 1912 annual alumni meeting and reunion. 

  • As the Association needed an operating budget, the rule of paying dues was to be enforced. Members were to “have the privilege of paying each year annual dues of $1.00,” but those who chose to contribute $50 at once (or $10 over five years) would be considered Life Members.
  • An alumni magazine would be established and sent to all dues-paying members. (The birth of the Alcalde magazine will be the subject of a separate blog post.)
  • An alumni secretary would be hired “who shall be immediately charged with the execution of such plans as the Association may adopt.”
  • With the University’s help, a room on the campus would be reserved for the Association. As Parker envisioned, “The Alumni Headquarters will soon become a comfortable, convenient, and popular resort for all members.”

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Above: As part of the 1911 annual meeting, an alumnae reception was held in the Woman’s Building – the University’s residence hall for women – which stood where the Flawn Academic Center is today.

Parker’s letter was well received. One person claimed it would transform the Association “from a wishing organization into a working organization.” Through the spring of 1911, Parker sent several more messages to the alumni, inviting them to the June annual meeting, while UT President Sidney Mezes penned a personal note to the “Ancients” – the 1884 – 1893 graduates – encouraging them to attend the reunion.

Just over 250 alumni made the trip to Austin in June, which the organizers claimed was an “encouraging response.” An alumni barbeque at the Austin Country Club, a special alumnae reception on campus, the spring commencement ceremonies, and, of course, the class reunions, were all part of the schedule.

The business meeting was held in the second floor lecture hall on the east side of the Engineering Building, today’s Gebauer Building (right). There, it was announced that 815 of the approximately 2,000 known alumni had remitted their dues, which included 36 life members. John Lomax, an 1897 graduate, was introduced as the Association’s first full-time alumni secretary. Efforts to launch a magazine had been put on hold in favor of publishing an alumni directory. And of great interest to those present was the announcement of the “Alumni Room” as an official, on campus headquarters.

A new University Library building (known today as Battle Hall, image at right) was almost complete, and the first floor had been outfitted to house President Mezes and his staff. Since he was vacating his quarters in the old Main Building, Mezes presented his former office – room 119 – to the alumni. Outfitted with tables, chairs, a sofa, and even a private restroom, It would serve both as the office of the alumni secretary and a place for any visiting ex-students to gather and feel at home.

Above: The UT president’s office in Old Main was remodeled into the Alumni Room.

Along with furniture, the Alumni Room was filled with photographs and other items meant to encourage visitors to reminisce about their UT student days. Hanging on the wall next to the door was an image of the first, eight-person faculty from 1883 (left). Shelves on the west side of the room displayed the University’s first athletic trophies, along with a few team photos, and signed footballs and baseballs from special victories. In a cabinet were issues of the Cactus yearbook, and, later, extra copies of the Alcalde magazine. Elsewhere on the walls were individual portraits of alumni association presidents, a map of Texas that showed the enrolled student distribution by county, and an architectural rendering of a possible campus gymnasium. (For the alumni to build a gym was a longtime ambition of 1885 graduate Thomas Gregory. It was eventually reached in 1928, when Gregory, as president of the Association, launched the Union Project, a $600,000 fundraising effort to build today’s Texas Union, Gregory and Anna Hiss gymnasiums, and Hogg Auditorium.)

Above: Ex-Students visiting campus would enter Old Main through the south entrance, then turn east for a short walk down the hallway to the Alumni Room (highlighted).

Left: This water color rendering of engineering dean Thomas Taylor was drawn by 1905 graduate Ed Connor and was used as the cover for the third issue of the Alcalde magazine. Afterward, it was hung on the south side of the Alumni Room, in between a pair of windows, and remained there for years. Found today in the Alcalde’s offices in the present alumni center, it is, perhaps, the lone survivor of the Alumni Room. 

 

 

 

Sources: The John A. Lomax, Will C. Hogg, and Harry Y. Benedict papers in the Briscoe Center for American History; The University of Texas Record, July 8, 1911; 1914 Cactus yearbook; “The Alumni Room” by Fritz Lanham, Alcalde, February 1914; Austin Statesman and The Daily Texan newspapers.

Presidential Poetry for the Holidays

UT President Harry Benedict was a poet – and sure did know it!

Above: A Christmas greeting, authored by UT President Harry Benedict, was sent on a one-sided postcard to all University alumni in 1927.

In 1927, Dr. Harry Benedict was the first University of Texas graduate to be appointed its president. He served in that capacity for a decade, still the record for the longest sitting UT chief executive. Benedict’s involvement with the University was deep. He’d earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from UT (as well as a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard), then joined the faculty in 1899 to teach applied mathematics and astronomy. During his career, Benedict was chair of the Athletics Council, president of the University Co-op, and was twice elected president of the alumni association. He was the first Director of University Extension, and later served concurrently as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as Dean of Men before the Board of Regents asked him to take on presidential duties.

Academically, Benedict’s interests were broad and varied. “Dr. Benedict can right now engage a specialist in any one of half a dozen different fields in conversation,” wrote good friend and Texas naturalist Roy Bedicheck. Benedict was well-versed in economics, sociology, anthropology, geology, and history, along with math and astronomy. He was an expert on Texas flora and fauna, collected bird eggs with a passion, and took fellow UT professors fishing and camping along Bull Creek in northwest Austin and in to the Texas Hill Country.

Benedict could also write, and as president enjoyed penning an annual holiday rhyme – from he and his wife, Ada – for his official UT Christmas cards. Because of his popularity on and off campus, the cards were often sent to faculty, staff, and alumni across the state. Here are a few samples, discovered several years ago at an Austin book and paper show. (See also: Found! 1909 UT Physics Lab Reports)

Above and below: The 1929 Christmas card featured a drawing of the Texas Capitol as seen from the Forty Acres, with Sutton Hall on the left. The artist was Professor Samuel Gideon in the School of Architecture. 

The 1930 card featured a photograph of a snow-encrusted old Main Building (where today’s UT Tower now stands) and some distinctly astronomy-themed verse (see below).

Click on an image for a larger view.   

 

 

 

 

The University’s Guardian Angel

James Clark’s Christmas Dinners for stranded students were legendary.

He was the youngest “old man” on the campus. The genuine friendships he forged with students and faculty were to him an elixir of perennial youth. For the alumni, he was among the most cherished memories of their college years. His kindness, humor, patience, and counsel, were invaluable, as was his courage to take on a staggering array of vital responsibilities. For more than two decades, James Benjamin Clark was the indispensable guardian angel of the University.

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Born in North Carolina, raised in Mississippi, and an 1885 graduate of Harvard University (photo at right), Clark settled in Bonham, Texas in 1873 with his wife, Florence, and opened a successful law practice. A decade later, Governor John Ireland asked Clark to serve on the Board of Regents for the soon-to-be-opened University of Texas. He accepted, but didn’t remain a regent for long. Ready to move again, and excited at the prospect of being involved with the initial development of a university, Clark offered to take on the duties of proctor. His fellow regents agreed. In July 1885, Clark resigned as a regent, moved his family to Austin, and at 50-years old took up the only non-teaching position on the Forty Acres.

For $2,000 a year, Clark was, in practical terms, the entire University staff. Along with his formal duties as “Secretary to the Faculty and the Board of Regents,” Clark served as registrar, bursar, academic counselor, groundskeeper, and librarian. He was also the campus financial advisor. “Parents are warned against the serious dangers connected with extravagance in the supply of money to students,” cautioned the University catalogue, “and are strongly advised to deposit the funds of their children either in the hands of a discreet friend, or with the Proctor of the University.”

From his home at the corner of 26th Street and University Avenue – where the Student Services Building stands today – Clark looked after the University community as if it were his own family. A student who missed class because of illness often received a personal visit. “After I left you the other day on the street car,” Clark wrote in 1899 to regents chair Tom Henderson, “I found the student threatened with appendicitis up, dressed, and out of danger. At the next house I found my boy with the broken leg (done in a friendly scuffle) doing well, and the other two who had fever were able to enjoy some oysters I had taken to them. I took supper with the mess [a campus eating club] and spent an hour talking with them. They live pretty hard, but are of the right metal. There are a dozen of them, and they have a short debate every night. The dear fellows seem very grateful for any attention shown them, or interest manifested in their work. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to cheer and encourage the boys who are making a brave struggle with poverty for noble ends. And they will win the fight.”

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Faculty, too, occasionally fell into trouble and needed Clark’s help. One of them was the rusty-haired Thomas Taylor (photo at left), hired in September, 1888 to teach applied mathematics as well as courses in mechanical drawing. His classroom in the old Main Building was on the third floor, directly above the library, and was outfitted with drafting tables, chairs, and a faucet and sink for cleaning the drawing equipment after class. Austin’s water works, though, weren’t always reliable in the 1880s, and the water pressure was often insufficient to make it to the third floor.

On the afternoon of May 2, 1889, near the end of Taylor’s first academic year on the campus, he turned on his classroom faucet, but no water was forthcoming. Since this had happened many times before, Taylor simply went downstairs in search of a place to scrub his equipment. This time, though, he forgot to turn off the faucet before he left.

Overnight, with most of the city’s residents asleep, the water pressure returned to normal levels, and the faucet began to run. Since the basin had been plugged, the water filled the sink, overflowed, and began to flood the room. By the next morning, much of the third floor was a large puddle, and water had seeped downstairs to the University library, where many of the books were ruined.

Taylor was more than a little upset, and was certain his short career at the University was over. But Clark reassured the young professor, quietly had the water damage repaired, and replaced some of the library books at his own expense. In a report to the Board of Regents, Clark minimized the harm done as “not so great as might be expected,” and took some of the blame himself for not checking the building more thoroughly that evening. The regents were reassured that steps had been taken so that a similar incident wouldn’t happen again. In part because of Clark’s intervention, Taylor remained at UT for more than 50 years, founded and developed its engineering program, became the first Dean of Engineering, and was one of the most loved and respected professors on the campus.

Above: A 1904 engineering survey class. Professor and Dean of Engineering Thomas Taylor is back row center, with the mustache. 

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Along with his duties to faculty and students, Clark had to look after the grounds. When the University opened in 1883, the square, 40-acre campus was inhabited by the west wing of the old Main Building, a set of temporary outhouses down the hill to the east, and little else. Near the close of the Civil War in 1865, most of the trees on the future campus had been hastily razed and used to build Confederate defenses for Austin. By April 1882, as the regents considered plans for a University building, the grounds were cleared of remaining tree stumps, and a mile-long, white-washed wooden plank fence was erected around the perimeter of the campus, with gaps at the corners and at the south and west entrances.

Above left: The west wing of the old Main Building in the 1880s. The planted trees and graveled pathways were added by James Clark.

Clark re-sodded the areas damaged by the construction of the west wing, laid out graveled walks, and planted live oak, mesquite, and cedar trees. At his home he grew English walnut and pecan trees from seeds, and when the saplings were tall enough, Clark transplanted them to the Forty Acres. Florence assisted by planting flower beds around Old Main.

The greening of the campus, though, brought unwanted visitors. Austin’s family-owned cows, which wandered freely about the town, found the grounds a favorite place to graze, and made a special effort to eat the tender leaves of the newly-planted trees. While Clark denounced the cows as the “most ruthless of raiders,” their appetites were also a distraction to classes. Harried professors had to regularly interrupt their lectures en masse to herd noisy cattle away from classroom windows. To stem the bovine invasion, Clark filled in the gaps of the perimeter fence with turnstiles and gates.

Surprisingly, the turnstiles weren’t very popular with the students. “They are nuisances to the stranger who is out late on a dark night, to the young ladies whose dresses are easily torn, to the tardy student whose overcoat pocket “hangs him up,” and to our regiment of absent-minded poets who commune with the stars during their evening strolls.” Besides, the cows had somehow learned how to operate the turnstiles themselves. Gates replaced the turnstiles, but were almost always left open. By 1895, the gates had been removed entirely, and the fence had fallen into disrepair, but the town cows had since found other places to graze and weren’t a concern.

Above: The Forty Acres from the southwest in 1895. The old wooden fence can still be seen along an unpaved Guadalupe Street. 

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Among his many contributions to the University, Clark was perhaps best known for his Christmas Dinners. For almost a decade after the University opened, only Christmas Day was allowed as a holiday. Students repeatedly complained, argued there wasn’t enough time to travel home and return to campus before classes resumed, and petitioned the faculty for a week-long holiday. In 1891, the faculty at last acquiesced. Most of the students fled the campus for home, but there were still a few, all of them residents of B. Hall – the men’s dorm – who didn’t have the funds for a train ticket.

Clark came to the rescue and invited the “leftovers,” as he called the stranded students, to his home for dinner. “There was turkey at one end of the table and ham at the other,” recounted Clark’s daughter, Edith. “We had individual stuffed squabs, cranberries, plum pudding, and everything that goes with Christmas dinner.”

Above: B. Hall as seen from Speedway Street. The dining room was on the ground floor in the central part of the building.

As the University’s enrollment grew, so did the number of leftover students, and within a few years, Clark’s Christmas Dinners had to be moved to the ground floor dining room in B. Hall. By 1900, more than 50 students attended, and the event lasted several hours. Guests traditionally arrived by 2:30 in the afternoon, where a complete Christmas banquet awaited them. “After the feast there was a flow of soul,” reported the Texan newspaper. “It was announced beforehand that every good looking person present would be expected to respond with some toast, and so there was a great rush to secure recognition from the toastmaster. Of course everybody spoke, and everybody covered himself in glory – even the freshmen.”

“Clark,” the Texan continued, “in his inimitable way, kept the audience in convulsions with witty anecdotes and sly humor sandwiched in between the speeches. He also favored the boys with an eloquent address on the University which called forth much enthusiasm. Among other things, he pleaded strongly for a proper understanding and confidence between Regents, Faculty and Students.”

While the University president sometimes attended and offered to share the cost, Clark was adamant on providing for the dinner himself.

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Above: The entrance to Clark Field, UT’s first athletic field, named for Clark in 1906.

“Editor of the Texan: I suggest the name of ‘Clark’ Field,” began an anonymous letter published in the student newspaper in the spring of 1905. “Judge Clark is a lover of sport and by his own testimony is a trained athlete. The name is easy to remember and is one we all love. If no better name can be found, I move we adopt it.” The note was authored by David Frank, The Texan’s editor, who had actually written the note to himself. Frank had been on the newspaper staff since his freshman year, and later remembered, “When I first went to the University in 1901, Alex Deussen and the editors who followed him were constantly referring to the fact that at other schools the athletic fields had definite names, whereas at the University of Texas people merely spoke of it as the athletic field.”

The field in question was a lot just east of the Forty Acres, about where the O’Donnell Building and the Gates-Dell Computer Science Complex are today. The University purchased the land in 1899 to use as an athletic field.

Frank’s idea to name the field after Clark quickly found traction on the campus. Letters from fellow students appeared, and Frank began to refer to the grounds as “Clark Field” in print. His successor continued the effort. By the fall of 1906, the Athletic Council approved the name, and the Board of Regents quickly made it official.

Above: The present day Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field is managed by the Division of Recreational Sports.

Through the years, Clark Field has wandered about the campus. When the original athletic field was closed in the 1920s in favor of the present DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium, the name Clark was assigned to a new baseball facility where the Bass Concert Hall now stands. Baseball moved to its present location in 1975, and the old “Freshman Field” along San Jacinto Boulevard was renamed for Clark and placed under the management of the Division of Recreational Sports.

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On December 6, 1908, James and Florence Clark arrived at the auditorium of the old Main Building to hear a speech by William Jennings Bryan, the three-time presidential nominee. Clark smiled and waved to his many friends, and the couple took their usual seats on the front row. Just minutes before the start of the program, Clark’s head dropped, and his shoulders slumped forward. Florence knew immediately that something was wrong. Clark was hurried to his office while a doctor was summoned, but it was too late. At the conclusion of Bryan’s speech, Bryan himself learned, and then announced, that the University’s beloved proctor of twenty-three years had passed away.

Two days later, an enormous crowd that included UT President Sidney Mezes, the Board of Regents, the entire faculty and student body, and many alumni and friends in Austin, gathered at the Clark residence. With a horse-drawn cart to carry Clark’s coffin in front, the assemblage formed double lines and quietly followed for more than two miles to Austin’s Oakwood Cemetery, where Clark was interred.

Efforts to memorialize Clark were numerous, and among them was one written by Dean Thomas Taylor: “For nearly a quarter of a century he was the guardian angel of the University, and his life here was a benediction to the students, faculty and alumni. The night was never too dark for him to go to the help of a student or professor in need. He was the associate of the distinguished men that have shed glory on the University of Texas – Mallet, Humphreys, Roberts, Dabney, Gould and Waggener. The places of these great men have been filled with able men, but until the world produces another prophet Samuel, the place of James B. Clark will never be filled.”

Above: The senior class of 1909 donated a stained glass window in memory of James Clark. It was initially installed in a place of honor, above the south entrance of the old Main Building. In the 1930s, when Old Main was razed and replaced by the current Main Building and Tower, the window was preserved and can be seen just inside the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies on the first floor.

The Tower Gold Rush

A recent discovery adds to what we know about the UT Tower.

Above: The rim and hands of the UT Tower clock are gilded with gold leaf. A recent discovery has found that the Tower originally had much more gold.

Behold a room of treasures. Tucked away on the ground floor of Battle Hall is the Alexander Architectural Archives, a vast collection of more than a quarter-million drawings, tens of thousands of photographs, letters, and building models. It is the largest resource of its kind in the state.

For those interested in UT’s architectural history, this is the mother lode. The archives preserves the designs, blueprints, and correspondence for most of the University’s buildings, including those that have long since disappeared from the Forty Acres.

There are hundreds of drawings for the Main Building and Tower alone. Some are of more pragmatic details: the schematics for the plumbing, for example, or the parts of a window. But others are highly-detailed, hand-drawn, breathtaking designs, and often in color. They took days or weeks to prepare, the shading on a building added one meticulous pencil line at a time.

Above: The reading room of the Alexander Architectural Archives. On the table in front is a color rendering of the Tower clock at half scale, while framed in the back is drawing number 100, a detailed look at the top of the Tower.

Of these, one of the best-known is listed as “drawing number 100” (photo at right). It’s a 5 x 3 foot view of the top of the Tower, with all of the ornamental features intended by architect Paul Cret carefully labeled. Because it’s is so admired, it has been specially framed and usually sits on a dolly toward the back of the reading room. After more than 80 years, UT officials still consult it.

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One of the drawing’s more curious details is the use of gold leaf. As anyone who’s seen the Tower knows, the rims and hands of the clock faces are gold. From articles found in The Daily Texan, the gold leaf was applied in October 1936, just a few months before the Main Building was officially dedicated in February 1937.

A closer inspection of the drawing, though, shows that gold leaf was also planned to highlight the limestone carvings around each of the clock faces, along with the belfry at the top of the Tower. Similar instructions for gold leaf appear on other drawings.

Above: A close-up of drawing 100 in the area just below the clock. The term “gilded” can be seen in the lower left with arrows pointing to the highlighted parts of the carving. Click on any image for a larger version.

Above: Just above the belfry, more sections are labled “gilded,” including the capitols of the Doric columns, and the areas around the carved bunting along the top.

Was all of that gold leaf actually applied? For years, the general consensus was no. There didn’t seem to be any record of it in the archives, though there weren’t any accounts of placing gold leaf on the clock faces, either, and we certainly know that happened. It may be those records were lost. But there was also no trace of the gilding on the Tower. While the weather may have removed most of it over the years, there ought to be some remnants still present in the protected nooks and crannies of the limestone carvings. The Tower, though, was clean. Given the evidence – or lack of it – it was natural to conclude that when the Main Building opened in 1937, the gold leaf was limited to the clock faces.

Earlier this fall, I was researching another UT history topic and happened upon a 1943 film about Austin on the Texas Archive of the Moving Image web site. Produced by the Chamber of Commerce, it was titled “Austin, the Friendly City” and relayed the experiences of a fictitious family who had just moved to the Texas capital. The film was a little grainy and the colored was faded, but about halfway through (at the 16:10 mark), there was a shot of the Tower’s observation deck and the clock. It didn’t look quite right.

Above: A screen shot from the 1943 film “Austin, the Friendly City.”

The scene was filmed in the late afternoon, but there were pieces around the clock face that were “shiny,” and reflected the sun differently from bare limestone. They were also gold in color, while the rest was a light gray. I compared a screen shot from the film with a copy of drawing 100, and the gold areas matched just right. Since the film was made just six years after the Tower opened, the film might be the earliest color close-up image we have, and if gold leaf was used, it would still be readily apparent. To be certain, though, more evidence was needed.

A search through the Alexander Archives was disappointing. As mentioned above, any documentation of the use of gold leaf on the clock faces or elsewhere had either been lost or were hiding in an unexplored folder. Instead, the hunt led to the Briscoe Center for American History, home of the UT Archives and another impressive collection of photographs. One day, while combing through a massive folder of images of the Main Building, magnifying glass in hand, I stumbled upon a 1938 black and white photograph of the Tower on a partly cloudy day, and where the angle of the sun left the side of the Tower in the image in shadow (image at left). Most of the pictures had been in full sunlight, and the bright white limestone made it difficult to tell if it had been highlighted with gold leaf. But in shadow, the differences between limestone and gold were unmistakable. Once I learned how to search for it, the gold leaf was apparent in other images, too. The University had indeed followed through with Paul Cret’s designs; the Tower once sported a great deal of gold leaf.

Above: Surprise! When the UT Tower was dedicated in 1937, it was fancily dressed in gold leaf around the clock faces and up by the belfry, all according to architect Paul Cret’s original designs. Click on the image for a larger view.

Above: A close-up view of the clock face.

What happened? The rough Texas weather took its toll. A review of photographs after 1938 show the gold leaf lasted for about 20 years, but by the late 1940s was already becoming spotty. It had disappeared entirely by the mid-1950s.

In the spring of 1966, both the Main Building and Welch Hall were sandblasted clean before objections were raised about the damage sandblasting would do to the limestone ornamentation. It likely erased any remaining traces of the original gold leaf, but we still have the photographic evidence to show us how UT’s iconic Tower originally appeared.

Left: A photo and caption from the May 15, 1966 issue of The Daily Texan. Click on the image for a larger view.

 

 

 

 

Sources

  • The Paul Cret drawing of the Tower – “drawing number 100” – is officially referenced as: Main Building and Library Extension, Drawing 100, The UT Buildings Collection, Alexander Architectural Archives, The University of Texas at Austin.
  • The 1938 image of the Tower is credited as: Prints and Photographs Collection, di_11166, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Texas Engineers Know How to Party!

The Thanksgiving Eve Engineering Reception drew capacity crowds.

Above: The Engineering Building, today’s Gebauer Building.

It was the social event of the fall term. Everyone wanted to attend. For a decade on Thanksgiving Eve, students, faculty, staff, and alumni donned their finest attire, gathered on the Forty Acres, and headed straight for – of all places – the Engineering Building. There, they were dazzled by the electric lights, amazed at the science exhibits, laughed at the variety show, enjoyed the plentiful refreshments, sang along at the rooftop concert, and danced into the wee hours on the top floor.

Thanksgiving could wait. This was the Engineering Reception!

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Starting in 1900, Dean of Engineering Thomas Taylor (photo at right) hosted an annual banquet for his students. Held at the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin, Taylor scheduled the event near Thanksgiving to ensure his engineers enjoyed a feast, as most wouldn’t make it home for the holiday. University students were inclined to remain in Austin for Thanksgiving. There was always a home football game scheduled that afternoon, usually against the A&M College of Texas. Besides, Friday was a class day, and there usually wasn’t enough time to make the trip to home and back.

By 1907, the engineers had exceeded the capacity of the Driskill. “On account of the marvelous growth of the engineering department,” announced The Texan newspaper, “the annual Engineers’ Banquet had to be abandoned this year.” The students met to discuss the issue, and “it was the unanimous choice of those present to hold a reception, smoker, roof garden party, and dance.” It was ambitious idea. The Engineering Building, newly opened in 1904, was to be transformed into the venue they needed, and they planned to invite the public to celebrate with them. Thanksgiving Eve was chosen as the date, as engineering alumni would be in town for the football game and could attend as well.

Above: The top floor of the Engineering Building was a drawing studio that would serve as the main dance hall. The desks were pushed together to create a stage for the band. Courtesy Alexander Architectural Archives, UT Buildings Collection, Box 249.5

As they began to plan, the students soon discovered that their Engineering Building, though full of classrooms, a library, and labs, would be a great place to host a party. The roof offered a grand view of the campus and the Texas Capitol to the south. The top floor, a single, well-lit open room, was the drawing studio, and was easily the best choice for a ballroom. A lecture hall along the east side of the second floor was a natural for a planned variety show and smoker, and other rooms in the building could be remade into lounges.

The reception opened at 7:30 p.m. and guests were treated to a building thoroughly transformed from basement to roof. The stairways and rooms were draped with holly, imported by train from East Texas, along with orange and white bunting and large Texas pennants. Newfangled electric lights of various colors, powered by a basement generator in the electrical engineering lab, were strung across the ceiling of the top floor ballroom.

Everyone received a printed program for the evening, which included a well-crafted welcome message:

For the first hour-and-a-half, the focus of the reception was in both the second floor classroom and on the roof. The classroom was the scene of a variety show, where the students performed skits – which often poked fun at the faculty or rival law students – sang songs, and led the audience in some UT yells. Upstairs, Besserer’s Orchestra, a popular Austin band, played a roof top concert of familiar tunes. The crowd was invited to sing along.

Above: It was standing room only to watch the skits, songs and yells of the variety show on the second floor. Click on an image to see a larger version.

At 9 p.m., the formal dance began on the top floor. The drawing tables had been shoved together in a corner on the west side as a makeshift stage, Besserer’s Orchestra descended from the roof, and everyone had dance cards inside their programs. Each dance for the evening was listed – a waltz, two-step, schottische, or others – with a blank where the name of the dance partner could be written. At the time, it was the usual social custom to reserve dances in advance. The reception’s earlier entertainment was, in part, intended to give the gentlemen time to ask the ladies for dances and fill in their respective cards.

Those who chose to sit out a dance would find refreshments on the east side of the top floor, and could either return to the roof to rest and talk, or join the post-variety show smoker on the second floor. Traditionally, smokers were for the men. (It was considered unladylike for a woman to smoke, especially in public.) Cigars were provided, and it was here that many of the engineering alumni settled to reminisce with their fellows and relay stories of their time on campus to the students who visited.

In addition to the roof top lounge, the four engineering classes – freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior – had each decorated a room in the building to serve as additional sitting rooms. A contest was declared, a committee of faculty obliged to be judges, and the junior class room was declared the best.

Above: The Junior Room was dubbed the best class-decorated sitting room at the reception. The walls were covered with hanging carpets, UT and other college pennants attached to the carpets, and the room outfitted with couches and pillows. 

Dancing continued until 1 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, when the guests, tired but happy, returned home. The affair was considered a complete success. Over the next decade, the Engineering Reception attracted capacity crowds, the decorations and planning became more elaborate, and a pre-reception Open House was added in the afternoon for visitors to explore the basement laboratories and enjoy science and engineering demonstrations. In 1917, with the onset of the First World War, the tradition was reluctantly discontinued.

Above: Program covers for the Engineering Reception were elaborate. From left, a Thanksgiving turkey on a survey, the entrance to the Engineering Building (now the Gebauer Building), and an image of the original Alec, patron saint of the Texas Engineers. Click on an image for a larger version.

Above: The farewell message from the last page of the Engineering Reception program.

The Dinosaur Club

Above: The 1952 hand-drawn logo of the Die? No, sir! Club.

They’re nearly 600 members strong. They travel the world, provide scholarships for UT students, are regulars at local cultural events, and are experts on the ever-expanding Austin culinary scene. They work out at RecSports, play bridge at the alumni center, and volunteer on campus to help with everything from spring commencement to UT Remembers.

For the past 35 years, a busy Retired Faculty-Staff Association, or “RSFA,” has been keeping its members connected to each other and to the University.

Above right: RFSA members gather for banquet each semester.

The idea of an organization for UT retirees first originated with John Calhoun (photo at left). A 1905 graduate, Calhoun joined the mathematics faculty in 1909, later served as the University’s comptroller, and was appointed president ad interim from 1937 – 1939.

Calhoun was perhaps best-known for his passion for live oak trees, and was primarily responsible for their prominence on the Forty Acres. Calhoun started with four live oaks – transplanted from nearby Pease Park – that still grow on the south side of Sutton Hall. The oaks that shade the walks near and along Guadalupe Street were planted in 1928, and in the 1930s, Calhoun successfully argued for more live oaks on the West Mall, South Mall, and around the Main Building. He later drew a map of every tree on campus with detailed descriptions of those with interesting histories. It’s still consulted by the University’s Landscape Services.

When Calhoun retired in 1942, he wanted to continue to associate with his longtime UT friends, and created the “Die? No, sir!” or “Dinosaur Club.” The group’s purpose was simply to prevent its members from “fossilizing prematurely.”

Members included all UT faculty and staff over 70 years old, or were retired or on modified service “whether they desired membership or not.” Curiously, though, the group was limited to men.”No woman ever reaches the age of 70,” Calhoun joked. “Anyhow, men and women tend to see too much of each other.” (Perhaps Calhoun was trying to escape a long list of “honey do” projects that were waiting for him at home.)

Calhoun drew up a constitution for the club.There were no dues and only one officer, the secretary, who acted as “president, secretary, corresponding secretary, recording secretary, and treasurer.” It was the secretary who called meetings and kept a roll of the members. As for being treasurer of a group without dues, Calhoun specifically wrote that “he shall have no duties, no emoluments, and no responsibilities.” Since Calhoun was UT’s comptroller for 12 years, this part of the office was likely the most appealing and why he included it in the by-laws.

Above: A few members of the Dinosaur Club pause for a group portrait. Chemical engineering professor Eugene Schoch, second from left, also founded the Longhorn Band. William Battle, fourth from left, taught Greek and classical studies, designed the UT seal, started the University Co-op, and was an important chair of the Faculty Building Committee. John Calhoun is on the right.

The group was low-key and informal, and its members seemed to like it that way. The club usually met for lunch at the Texas Union and discussed current affairs on the Forty Acres, though they were sometimes used as a resource by the University administration. After all, the combined membership had given more than 1,000 years of service to UT, and they were happy to share their experience and advice.

The Dinosaur Club continued for several decades. In 1982, under the guidance of UT President Peter Flawn, a more formal Retired Faculty-Staff Association was organized – and open to both women and men!

The Star Machine

In the 1930s, the University built a one-of-a-kind planetarium.

Few could claim to have moved the heavens, but Ernest Keller was one of them.

At his command, 4,000 stars in dozens of constellations were kindled. Nine planets and 26 moons stirred, then raced along their orbital paths. Brilliant comets with their long tails careened through the Solar System. And all of it was sped up so that the events of a year could be viewed in a minute.

In the 1930s, under the guidance of Professor Keller, the University of Texas invented a planetarium not quite like anything yet seen.

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Astronomy at UT is as old as the University. The Board of Regents, at its inaugural meeting in November 1881, wanted an astronomy professor on the original faculty, but funding issues forced a delay. No matter. When the University opened two years later, Physics professor Alex McFarlane and math professor George Halstead, teaching in the west wing of the old Main Building (photo at left), incorporated some astronomy topics in their courses. A few students took more than a passing interest, including William H. P. Hunnicutt, who was awarded a special Certificate of Proficiency in Astronomy by the regents in 1887.

Above: Brackenridge’s telescope gift was recorded in the handwritten minutes of the Board of Regents’ April 1896 meeting: “To the School of Physics – An equatorial telescope, five inch object glass, mounted on a tripod.”

A decade later, in the spring of 1896, Regent George Brackenridge of San Antonio presented the UT physics school with a five-inch refracting telescope, mounted on a tripod. “Now that we are provided with the means for work, why not organize such a class?” urged the Alcalde, a student newspaper that preceded today’s Daily Texan (and not to be confused with the alumni magazine of the same name). The telescope was stored in the regents’ meeting room in Old Main, but without an astronomer on the faculty, nothing more could be done. A month later, the Alcalde prodded, “The telescope recently given to the University by Mr. Brackenridge is still reposing in the regents’ room.” It would repose another three years before it was finally put to use.

In 1899, Harry Benedict was hired as an instructor of applied mathematics and astronomy for an annual salary of $1,200. A University alumnus, he was already well-known on the Forty Acres. Benedict earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering at UT, but had also been bitten by the astronomy bug, and in 1894 left Austin to join the staff at the prestigious McCormick Observatory at the University of Virginia. After two years, friends urged him on to Harvard, where he completed a Ph.D. in mathematical astronomy in 1898.

“Dr. Harry Y. Benedict, Instructor in astronomy, has been at the University for the past month getting his work in hand for the next year,” reported the Austin Statesman in September 1899.” He has overhauled the handsome telescope of the University, and has it in good condition for making observations.”

Though he was officially on the faculty of applied mathematics, Benedict was, in effect, a one-man astronomy department. For the next quarter century, he taught a series of astronomy courses, gave public lectures (some illustrated by lantern slides), and was the go-to expert for the local press. Benedict often invited classes to his home just north of campus to view the night sky through the Brackenridge telescope, and sometimes hosted telescope parties on the campus. It wasn’t long before his branch of the faculty was renamed the Department of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy. Left: A 1910 announcement for a public astronomy lecture, held in the auditorium of Old Main.

Along with his teaching duties, Benedict proved to be an able administrator. He was promoted to full professor, served as the first Director of University Extension, then concurrently as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Dean of Men before the regents named Benedict to the post of University President in 1927, the first UT graduate to become its chief executive.

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Once Benedict moved into the president’s office – then located on the first floor of Sutton Hall, in what today is the architecture graduate student lounge – it quickly became apparent that there would be little time for astronomy. Instead, Ernest Keller (photo at right) was hired in 1928 to take the reins.

A newly minted Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Keller was excited about teaching astronomy on the Forty Acres. For those potentially intimidated by mathematics, he added a nearly math-free, popular astronomy course which quickly filled with 200 students. The old Brackenridge telescope, though, was still the only one available, and it was clear that the University needed to upgrade.

In 1933, a new Physics Building – today’s Painter Hall – was opened along 24th Street. Located between the Biological Labs Building to the west and chemistry’s Welch Hall to the east, the three became known as UT’s “science row.” At the insistence of President Benedict, a three-room, $15,000 observatory was installed on the roof. Its centerpiece was a 12-foot long refracting telescope with a nine-inch objective lens, a significant improvement from Brackenridge’s 1896 donation. Keller was named Director of the Student Observatory, and the new instrument was a boon for his astronomy courses as enrollment continued to climb.

Above: The newly opened Physics Building – today’s Painter Hall – with its copper-domed observatory on the roof.

Left: The nine-inch telescope was produced by the Warner and Swasey Company from Cleveland, Ohio..

With new momentum behind the astronomy program, Keller went in search of a teaching tool to augment his classroom, something that would vividly illustrate the motion of the planets and their relation to the stars. A planetarium would be ideal.

The modern version of a planetarium, a domed theater where the night sky is optically projected on the ceiling, was invented in Germany in the early 1920s. It quickly became popular throughout Europe, and the following decade crossed the Atlantic to the United States. Keller took a keen interest in the opening of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago in 1930, and read about others being planned or under construction in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York.

Above: The Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

A planetarium for the University was unlikely. The funding troubles that had confronted the Board of Regents in 1881 were again an issue, though in the 1930s the source was the Great Depression. For two years, from 1933-1935, wages for all state employees, including UT faculty and staff, were reduced as the Texas Legislature struggled to balance the budget. Keller’s $3,000 salary was lowered to $2,100. A planetarium was considered a luxury.

No matter. Keller approached President Benedict with a proposal to build something less ambitious on a slim budget. The idea was really an elaborate “orrery,” a mechanical model of the Solar System (photo at right). Keller’s version would be vertically mounted on a large board, with the planets moving in their orbits along grooved tracks, but with the addition of thousands of stars, drilled into the board and illuminated from behind, of both the northern and southern constellations. From the front, he proposed projecting the images of comets to demonstrate how they passed through the solar system. (The term “orrery” comes from 18th-century Britain, when Charles Boyle, the Fourth Earl of Orrery, commissioned what is considered the modern version of the device.)

Benedict lent a sympathetic ear to Keller’s idea, and not simply because of the president’s own passion for astronomy. A few years earlier, Texas banker William McDonald left an unexpected $800,000 gift in his will for UT to build a formal observatory. Through a partnership with the University of Chicago, Keller’s Alma Mater, the upcoming McDonald Observatory was under construction on Mount Locke in West Texas. When completed, it would house the second-largest telescope in the world, and was certain to boost interest in astronomy on the Forty Acres.

At the same time, the University had been asked to participate in the upcoming Texas Centennial Celebration in 1936.  From June through December, the campus was to become an enormous exhibit hall, with detailed displays in various buildings on Texas culture, history, fine arts, and science. (Gregory Gym was transformed into a natural history museum, with a model of a dinosaur standing guard out front.) The planetarium, along with an exhibit on the McDonald Observatory, could be a major attraction, and further showcase UT’s efforts to become a world-class research university.

Benedict approved the project with a $1,500 budget. The planetarium was to be located in the reading room of the old Library – today’s Battle Hall.

Top: The planetarium was assembled in the old Library Building, today’s Battle Hall. Above: The Daily Texan headline isn’t quite correct. The planets, not the stars, would be in motion in the planetarium.

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Keller recruited mechanical engineering professor Alex Vallance to help with the design, and construction began on the chilly and cloudy Wednesday, January 23, 1935. Over the next eighteen months the project involved the University carpenter, painter, cabinet maker, physics department machine shop, several faculty members, and more than 20 students hired part-time through a Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) grant, one of the many New Deal programs created by President Franklin Roosevelt.

Above: The planetarium, still under construction, on the south end of the reading room. When completed, it was provided with a nicer base and framed by green curtains. The Greek statuary was relocated to the north end of the room.

The planetarium was placed on a square vertical board, 20-feet on a side, and painted a deep blue. Just over 4,000 holes, from ¼ to 1/32 of an inch in diameter, were drilled into the board to display stars seen in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The holes were lit from behind by 62, 60-watt bulbs encased in light-tight containers. “The stars of the planetarium are not made by projecting beams of light onto an interior dome, as in the Adler Planetarium,” reported The Daily Texan, “but by projecting light through the plane of the system by reflecting it along glass tubes from a central source.” Divided into a dozen sections, all of the stars could be lit at once, or only those seen from the Earth on a particular night.  A revolving switch allowed the lit stars to vary by month once the planets were set in motion.

In the center of the board was the Sun, a bright, 500-watt bulb, around which nine planets (including Pluto) and 26 known moons both rotated on their own axes and revolved about the Sun on tracts. The planets were made to scale out of thin glass spheres coated with mercury, which better reflected the “sunlight” and could be easily seen. “The smallest spheres are clearly visible, when illuminated, at a distance of a hundred feet,” Keller wrote in a special article for Popular Astronomy magazine. The largest planet, Jupiter, was seven inches in diameter.

Right: The primary drive that powered the planets on their orbits around the Sun. 

Behind the scenes was a ¾ horsepower motor central drive, along with smaller motors to operate each planet and its moons. Dozens of brass and steel gears and sprockets, all custom made on campus, along with more than 400 feet chain were required. Larger rotating parts were mounted on rubber bases to reduce vibrations and potential noise. The planetarium had two speeds. A year could be made to pass in a minute, or at a faster pace, in 20 seconds.

From the front, Keller designed a “comet projector.” He described it as an optical device “which projects a portion of a lantern slide of a comet in such a manner that the tail of the comet extends outward from the miniature Sun as the comet traverses its orbit.”

Above: Still under construction, chalk was used to outline constellations before star positions were drilled into the board. In this photo, the smallest “ring” is the orbit of Jupiter, which can be seen in the upper left. Saturn is the next planet and easily visible at lower left. The inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, are washed out in the photo by the 500-watt bulb acting as the Sun. 

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The planetarium was debuted to the University Science Club and faculty on May 3, 1936, before it publicly opened the following month with the campus-wide Texas Centennial Celebration. Three nights each week – on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday – two showings were held, at 8 and 9 p.m. “The lecture makes the heavens take on a new and brighter aspect,” reported the Austin Statesman. Much of the presentation was centered on the motions of the planets and comets over the previous century, from 1836, when Texas became an independent nation, to the 1936 centennial year.

Along with the planetarium, visitors were treated to an intricate, electrically powered, working model of the McDonald Observatory (photo at right). Built by the Warner and Swasey Company in Cleveland, Ohio, 4 ½ feet tall by 50-inches in diameter, it was shipped to Austin in four boxes with express instructions not to touch anything until a company representative arrived to unpack and assemble it. (Today, the model resides at the McDonald Observatory’s visitor center.)

Next to the observatory was a replica of Mount Locke, with the layout of the buildings, equipment, and roads planned for the observatory site. It was built by students in the School of Architecture, and funded with a National Youth Administration grant, another New Deal program.

Following the planetarium show, everyone was invited to stroll over to the Physics Building to look through the nine-inch telescope.  Jupiter, with its colored bands and four bright Galilean moons, was in the right place in the sky for easy viewing.

Above: A model of the McDonald Observatory on Mount Locke, created by students from the School of Architecture.

Keller’s planetarium was a great success. Crowds through the summer averaged 150 persons each night, and while public attendance tapered off once school began in the fall, it continued to be popular until the Texas Centennial exhibit closed in December. For the next several years, the planetarium was used for its intended purpose, as a teaching tool for astronomy classes.

Keller, though, didn’t remain at the University. In 1940, with the threat of the United States becoming involved in a second global conflict, he was hired as a consulting mathematician for the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, then the largest producer of military aircraft in the nation. With Keller’s departure, and with the University soon focused on World War II, the planetarium was neglected and fell into disrepair.

Years later, in 1946, a Texan reporter took note of the forgotten machine. “On the second floor of the old Library Building, surrounded by bulletin boards and diligent art students, rests a weird-looking object of yesterday’s fame – a planetarium.” Too large to relocate to the Physics Building, Keller’s creation was eventually dismantled. The heavens moved no more.