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Old Main


Old Main photo
Old Main photo
This red-roofed, castle-like landmark was Texas State’s first building — and until 1908, the only campus structure. Designed by architect E. Northcraft, Old Main was built in a style known as Victorian Gothic.


Begun in 1902, the construction of the main building proved complicated and expensive because the site lay directly over a cave, which took many loads of concrete to fill. The building opened in time for the first classes in fall 1903. As other buildings were added, Old Main served as Texas State’s administration building.

Old Main has undergone many renovations. Originally, most of the second floor was a large auditorium/chapel, with an ornately carved and filigreed cathedral ceiling. The stage at one end and balcony at the other were the sites of general assemblies, plays and presentations.

The auditorium was subdivided into smaller rooms in the 1972 renovation, and in 1988, a floor was added at the balcony level. However, the remnants of the ornate ceiling are still visible on the third floor. An extensive restoration in 1993-94 returned the famous roof to its original style and color.

Old Main now houses the College of Fine Arts and Communication and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

an early image of Old Main
an early image of the Main Building

For more information on our Old Main, and other other historic main buildings on Texas campuses, download this article from the April, 1974 Southwestern Historical Quarterly. (Courtesy of the Texas State Historical Association, Austin, Texas.)

Temples of Knowledge: Historic Mains of Texas Colleges and Universities (PDF,4 MB)