Faculty Housing at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas

By Sierra Laddusaw | 10-01-2020

1920 map of the A&M campus
Click the image for full-resolution. Department of Buildings and Grounds. Map of the campus of the A&M College of Texas: showing house numbers and names of streets. Scale approximately 1:2,400. College Station, Texas: Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, approximately 1920. From the Texas A&M Collection at Cushing Memorial Library & Archives.



From the opening of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas in 1876 through 1941, college faculty lived on campus in faculty housing. The first five faculty houses were built in 1876 on the east side of Throckmorton Street. As the college grew so did the need for faculty housing, by 1914 there were approximately 50 faculty houses on campus, with the number increasing through the 1920s to approximately 70 houses. As the houses were built, they formed a small neighborhood on the south side campus, running along Clark Street, Houston Street, Throckmorton Street, and Lubbock (now Roe Routt) Street. The majority of the houses were built where the Memorial Student Center, Rudder Tower, and Rudder Plaza currently stand. A smaller portion were built near North Gate, sitting along Ireland Street, Houston Street, Henderson Street, Jones Street, and the now gone Wood Street – the current site of several dorms including McFadden Hall, Lechner Hall, and Haas Hall.

The City of College Station grew up around the college and formally incorporated in October of 1938. With the newly established city, its amenities, and growing neighborhoods the need for faculty to live on campus diminished. In 1939, Texas A&M’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution to have all campus residences vacated by September 1941 with the option of purchasing the houses and moving them offsite for the faculty who lived in them. This resolution did not apply to positions at the college that were required to live on campus at the time, including the President, Commandant, and campus surgeon.

The first sale of former faculty houses was approved by the Board of Directors in March 1941. During this sale, 35 of the houses were sold and moved off campus. At the time, the houses sold for between $200 and $800. Additional sales were held over the next two decades, during which the majority of the faculty houses were sold and moved. The last recorded sale of a former faculty house was in 1973. The last few houses sold, during the 1960s and 1970s, brought in $2,000 to $3,000 a house.

As these houses were sold and moved, many of them ended up in Bryan or College Station and still stand today. In 1986, Paul P. Van Riper filed an Official Texas Historical Markers application with the Texas Historical Commission for the still standing houses. Van Riper spent three years conducting research into the history of faculty housing and the sales in order to track down the houses. Through his research he was able to identify and located 41 existing houses, 38 in College Station, two in Bryan, and one in the Brazos County countryside. Additionally, Van Riper identified four that were moved from campus and later lost to fire or were demolished.

Much of the material used by Van Riper in his research is held in the University Archives, additionally copies of Van Riper’s notes, his annotated map, and Historical Commission application were added to the archives (David Woodcock Collection, Box 1, Series 1, Campus Houses). One of the items used by Van Riper was a “Map of the campus of the A&M College of Texas: showing house numbers and names of streets.” While the map is dated January 4, 1914, based on the actual buildings depicted on the map and the numbering system used to label the buildings, it is more likely it was drawn in (or updated to) 1920. The smaller, numbered buildings on the outside of campus are the faculty houses. The numbers on each house corresponds to a directory of numbers defined by the Texas A&M Committee on Houses in 1919.

Cushing Memorial Library & Archives holds, what often feels like, an unlimited treasure trove of history about Texas A&M University. In the 1980s, using maps, reports, directories, and minutes from administrate meetings, Mr. Van Riper was able to document a part of Texas A&M’s history that was not commonly known. There are many avenues of research waiting to be conducted within the archives that will bring a more cohesive understanding of our past, how it is has shaped the University today, and the impacts on our future.

Tags: Maps; Texas A&M University (TAMU); University History; Campus Life; Van Riper, Paul P. 

Cushing Memorial Library and Archives Collections: University Archives; Maps Collection.

Contact Us: cushingcollective@library.tamu.edu


Sierra Laddusaw smiling

Sierra Laddusaw is an Assistant Professor at the University Libraries. She is the Curator of Maps, Co-curator of the Chapman Texas & Borderlands Collection, Curator of Digital Scholarship, and Curator of the Maritime Collection at Cushing Memorial Library & Archives. Her research interests lie in mapping of ideas and imaginary places and the use of cartographic resources in non-traditional fields of study. She has curated a collection at the University Libraries of materials that blur the line between cartography and art. Sierra earned her Master of Library Science from Texas Woman’s University.