Southwestern University--Oldest Univ. in Texas
Favorite thing: Southwestern University actually came about from combining the remants of four different colleges/universities in Texas that for various reasons had closed earlier (or as in the case of Soule U. was headed towards failure):
Rutersville College (1840)
Wesleyan College (1844)
McKenzie College (1848)
Soule University (1856)
The very first institute for higher learning began with Rutersville, when Colonel William B. Travis* of the Texas volunteer army requested the founding of a Methodist presence as settlers were beginning to revolt against the government of Mexico.
The Methodist Church sent three missionaries to Texas once the political tensions calmed down. One of these was Martin Ruter of Pennsylvania, who got the ball rolling but died within 6 months of his journey.
As one college after the other failed and Soule University seemed destined to follow, Francis Asbury Mood, a teacher from the South Carolina State Normal School was asked to become the president of the university, which would become Southwestern.
Opening pic: Main, the oldest building on campus
pic #2 Mood-Birdwell Hall
pic #3 Lois Perkins Chapel
pic #4 Cody Memorial Library
Today, Southwestern has an enrollment of 1200, which is comprised of students from 30 states and 20 nations. It still maintains it's connection with the Methodist Church but has other religious denominations represented, as well.
The university whose roots were founded in 1840, is classified among 164 national liberal arts colleges, with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter added in 1995. It has a sterling reputation.
*Colonel William B. Travis, of Alamo fame
For more on the university, see www.southwestern.edu/about/about-history.html
Old Fire Station
Favorite thing: When the Georgetown Fire Department and the Rescue Hose Company were founded (about 1881/1882) manpower provided the muscle for moving their truck to the site of the emergency. A 'bucket brigade' carried the water from the hose to the blaze.
pic #2 The old fire bell
It's believed that the creation of these organizations came after a large fire struck Taylor, Texas wiping out most of its businesses (February,1879). Georgetown wanted to be ready in case a similar circumstance descended upon the town.
A new firehouse was constructed with some Italianate embellishments (1885) 'north of the standpipe for the truck and hose carts'. It stands as an example of 19th century fire houses.
Today the station remains the city's prime fire station. Inside, a museum displays old firefighting equipment, a 1922 Seagraves fire engine, vintage photos and other paraphenalia related to firefighting.
*Location: 816 Main Street; 817-512-3473. See www.georgetown.org for more info.
- Family Travel
The Confederate Soldier & Sailor Monument
Favorite thing: We noticed this monument to the Confederate Soldier and Sailor at the south entrance of the Williamson County Courthouse. The memorial was erected in 1917, by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The information above is etched into the granite base, with a carved wreath circling the date of 1861 (pic #2). In January of this year the South seceded from the Union and the Civil War began, ending in 1865.
Further reading showed that on January 19, Texas celebrates 'Confederate Heroes Day' an official holiday/observance day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. It combines Robert E.Lee's birthday and Jefferson Davis' birthday into one official holiday'*
*info. from www.mainstreet.georgetown.org/history.markers.php
- Family Travel
The 'New' Williamson County Jail
Favorite thing: Originally, the Williamson County jail was located on the east side of the county courthouse. However, after jailbreaks began taking place all too often, prisoners were moved to the Travis County jail and a new one was approved for construction.
Land formerly used as a wagon yard was purchased from David Love and by January 1889, the 'new' Williamson County jail was accepting 'residents'. There is some disagreement over how the town received funds to construct this new building, but most accept these were raised through the generous donations of Georgetown's wealthier citizens.
FYI: The jail has been in continuous use since 1888. It was constructed from native limestone at the cost of $22,000 and styled in the French Castille design. A $40,000 restoration took place in 1934.
It appears to be used currently as a community health administration office.
Location: 312 Main Street. For more on this see www.georgetown-texas.org
- Family Travel
The Williamson County Courthouse
Favorite thing: I think many of the Texas towns that are county seats have some pretty impressive courthouses.
The Williamson County Courthouse is constructed (circa 1910-11) in the Classical Revival style. This is actually the fifth courthouse to serve Georgetown. It was designed by the Austin architectural firm of Charles H. Page and Brothers.
The building was designed in the Classical Revival style and features soaring columns, copper dome with a clock facing four different directions and a statue of Justice. These county buildings often loom protectively over the center of a town, with numerous shops, restaurants and businesses encircling it like a wreath.
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