Texas Independence Day Celebration

Two-day living history celebration, March 4 & 5, 2017

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University of Texas

The University of Texas opened in 1883 but the idea originated in 1839 when the Congress of the Republic of Texas ordered a site set aside for a university. That same year an act allocated fifty leagues of land to the establishment of the college or university. Nothing more was done until 1858 when the legislature made financial provision for a university by appropriating for the institution the fifty leagues granted in 1839, $100,000 in United States bonds remaining from the $10 million paid to Texas in the Compromise of 1850, and one section of land out of every ten reserved to the state in grants made in aid to railroads and a navigation company. However, this act never carried through. The Constitution of 1866 directed the legislature to put the university in operation as did the Constitution of 1876. In 1881 an election for the location was held and Austin was chosen as the site for the main university and Galveston for the location of the medical department. Construction of the main building took place in 1882 and the university formally opened in September 1883, though classes were held in the temporary Capitol as late as January 1884.

Information courtesy of the Texas State Historical Association and The University of Texas at Austin The photo below is of the original main building as part of the collection entitled: Chalberg Collection of Prints and Negatives and was provided by Austin History Center, Austin Public Library to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries.