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

The Founding Years

"Nacogdoches Gets the Normal School" - July 14, 1917

Daily Sentinel, July 16, 1917

"Nacogdoches Gets the Normal School"

"Given to us by unanimous vote on the second ballot."

"About 11:00 Saturday night [July 14] a big noise broke out in Nacogdoches, and the people understood. . . .The fire whistle blew, bells rang out with lively peels, automobiles loaded with people filed in procession over the different streets of the city, the band played, and everything and everybody that could make any kind of noise was employed, with no "shock-absorbers" to interrupt. . . . It was, indeed, some noise - and it was worth the money.

"The cause of the great outbreak and universal rejoicing in the community had its inception in the receipt of a message from Dallas, announcing that the location of the Stephen F. Austin Normal, a prize for which we have worked so faithfully the past several months, had been awarded to Nacogdoches. . . . The Board met at Dallas Saturday night, being joined there by Governor Ferguson and having a full representation present. Judge S. M. King and Prof. R. F. Davis met with them and delivered some remaining data they expressed a desire for when here, and Hon. Eugene H. Blount arrived on the night train about 10:00 o'clock.

"Two ballots were taken, the first being distributed with different towns, and in the second ballot the vote was unanimous. In the third ballot, Kingsville was given the South Texas Normal in unanimous vote. . . . "And news from Kingsville is to the effect that the citizenship celebrated in the same vein that was employed in this city. . . ."The Board also decided to acquire the East Texas Normal at Commerce. The price will be $80,000 and other considerations.

"For the Stephen F. Austin Normal, which will be located here, $150,000.00 will be expended in buildings and improvements, and $30,000 is appropriated for the first year's support of the school. This all comes in addition to the grounds of the site which are donated by the people of this city. The bill provided that the selection of locations must be made before the first of August, this year, and that the contracts must be let for the improvements by the first of October following, all work to be completed and everything in readiness for the opening of the school by the first of October, 1918.

"The committee will likely return to Nacogdoches . . . .A further inspection of the site would be necessary . . . .The site up North street, which comprises about 205 acres, is the choice of the committee, and it is an ideal place for the great institution. Upon it most beautiful parks with natural shade and drainage can be worked out, agricultural gardens and experimental farms with different types of soil can be developed, and everything is as ideal as a generous Nature could make it. . . . .Another advantage is the near and easy approach of the city, being but a mile from the public square with not a hill on the route to interfere in the development of perfect roads to it. Another feature is that it is in one of the best residence sections of the city, almost surrounded by pretty homes."

Daily Sentinel, July 16, 1917 (Editorial)


"With the capture of the location of Stephen F. Austin Normal, a new era has been born in the industrial, commercial, and social life of Nacogdoches. . . .The victory is two-fold, for the reasons that it brought our people together in unity of purpose; every man, regardless of financial standing, doing everything in his power willingly and cheerfully to accomplish the victory, and it was through this impenetrable organization and enthusiastic cooperation that we won - an object less of the value of cooperation that we will never forget, and an inspiration that will hold us together in the future.

"And it is this feature of the accomplishment The Sentinel wants to stress in this editorial. . . . Our campaign was clean and dignified, no schemes, no political tricks and no underhand holds being employed to further our interests. . . .We got together with the best brains and brawn of the community, and the man in the "trenches" worked as faithfully as the men put in the front. No one balked, and no one pulled back. We did everything possible, with good measure, to meet every requirement, we never let up until the vote was taken, and we succeeded gloriously. . . . With the superb organization we now enjoy, and with the inspiration we get with our victory, we will go after other things, in which we will again succeed, and old Nacogdoches is coming into its own in the development of this splendid little city our "Sociability" invites, our "Fitness" will sustain, our "Accessibility" makes practicable, and the Nacogdoches of which all East Texas will be proud."

Daily Sentinel, July 16, 1917

"From Mayor Matthews"

"This happy result demonstrates beyond question the power of a united people, and should inspire us all to stay together, work together, and pull together. . . .Now many other improvements are needed, to prepare and be ready for a new and greater Nacogdoches, which is sure to come. . . ."The capacity of our electric light plant must be doubled. New artesian wells must be sunk to obtain a larger water supply. We must extend our sewer system, good sidewalks should be made in every part of the city. More streets should be paved or graveled. The unsightly wooden awning and posts in our business districts should be replaced with swinging awnings, and many other improvements made. All this can be accomplished if the same united spirit, and effort given in the normal fight, is given and kept up. . . .

Geo. H. Matthews, Mayor."

Daily Sentinel, July 18, 1917


"[Dallas, July 14] It was moved and seconded that the proposition of the city of Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches, County, Texas, as embodied in their application for the Stephen F. Austin Normal School, be accepted upon the condition that all the terms and agreements and obligations as set forth in their application and brief on file with the committee, together with their additional verbal agreement with the committee, are fully complied with; and upon the compliance of such further conditions precedent as may be required by the board."

"[Notice forwarded by] S. M. King, R. F. Davis, Eugene H. Blount"