SFA Story: The History of Stephen F. Austin State University

The Founding Years

Reactions in East Texas

Summary of Opinion in East Texas

"How do Longview, Marshall, Beaumont, Texarkana and the other losing candidates for the normal site feel? Of course, we must stand by the winner - the historic town of Nacogdoches. It was the home of Stephen F. Austin for whom the school was named. It is the grandmother of all or nearly all the other applicants. This whole section was in the early days the western portion of Nacogdoches county; and we can't afford to fall out with our grandmother town when it pulls a plum." [Tyler Morning Tribune]

The Tenaha Messenger said it was "the logical location." The Timpson Times wrote "Nacogdoches has a right to rejoice." The Rusk County News said Henderson and other East Texas towns "never even had so much as a look in, much less ‘the ghost of a chance’."

The Beaumont Enterprise commented that SFA "will never know what a good town it missed." The Athens Review: "We trust there will be no such irregularity discovered in the work of the locating committee as was in that of the West Texas A. & M. College. We would have preferred Tyler to any other point, yet doubtless Nacogdoches made a better presentation of their claims than did those of Tyler."

Although rivalry between Lufkin and Nacogdoches continued right up to the very end of the quest, with the editors of the Daily Sentinel getting sometimes nasty with their criticism of Lufkin, the Lufkin News sent congratulations immediately hoping Nacogdoches "would stand by the school until it develops into one of the very best in the state."

The Silsbee Signal concluded:

"While there were many towns and cities asking for the school, one thing can be said: no other town would appreciate it more than Nacogdoches. The town is most beautifully located between the sparkling Banita and LaNana creeks and surrounded by the most beautiful scenery and fertile soils. The historic interests of the city are unsurpassed in the state; the town is truly a town of homes - beautiful homes - her streets are shaded and cool and inviting; her citizenship is made up of people who stand for high ideals of character. But the fact that every man, woman, and child in Nacogdoches county wanted the normal, talked the normal, wrote normal, connected with the very best school and school spirit in the town and country, had more to do with the selecting than her beauty or historic lore. Now that Nacogdoches has the school she will do just like she does with all things; she'll make it go and make it go good." [Editor - JLJ]