“Throughout the history of Sam Houston Normal she has been an institution of service-never has she failed to take part in any worthy movement or fallen down in any great undertaking.” From the The Alcalde, 1918. World War I was no different from 1917-1919 Sam Houston sent 200 of the finest young men “over there”; to Europe to fight for the great struggle of Democracy.
At home, the Sam Houston Normal Institute established a unit of the SATC, Students Army Training Course, where students could enlist as privates and continue their education. These soldiers/students bunked in the Austin Hall Building; sleep on mattresses bought from the Texas Penitentiary, and did drills and exercises as if they were in boot camp.
The above photographs shows the SATC on campus. Note the bottom right photograph of the campus. In front on the left is the Manual Training/Agriculture Building. In the middle with three floors is Austin Hall. In the back photograph, there are the spires of the Old Main Building. The top middle photograph shows the back of Austin Hall before the new columns and extra door, were added later as the college grew to the south.
To see more WWI materials in the archives come visit us in the Newton Gresham Library, room 400.
This photograph of the Sam Houston Normal Institute with Huntsville, Texas, in the back ground was shot in the early 1920s. Judging by the view this image must have been shot from the top of the Old Men’s Gym.
The Old Men’s Gym was a wooden building that was built by the students. Because the building was made out of wood the students had to rebuild the old gym more than once due to fires.
In the foreground is what they called at the time the Demonstration School (later the Wood Buildings) roof. In front of the Demonstration School is the Science Building (now Bobby K. Marks Administration Building), then the Women’s Gym, (where the Dan Rather Communications is now) across from that was the Agriculture Building, Austin Hall, with the 3rd floor still attached, and finally in the back, the Old Main Building.
To the far left you see the smoke stack and building of the West Plant which fronts a dirt road now known as Sam Houston Avenue. The current West Plant is built on the foundation of the original West Plant.
The gates in the back of the Administration Building and Women’s Gym are placed on what it now Ave J. This gateway was considered the entrance to the Normal before the entrance we have now on 20th and Sam Houston Ave.
To see more photographs come visit the SHSU University Archives in the Newton Gresham Library, Room 400. We are open from 8-5, M-F.