Nevertheless, because the leaders for both endeavors were Nacogdoches people, there has always been an informal partnership between the two.  For example, with the establishment of Nacogdoches High School, there was no longer a need for the type of higher education formerly provided in Nacogdoches University, so the university building became the center for the local  high school.  Yet,  the people still wanted a college or university in their town. 

Now, at that time, there was a  state movement to establish normal schools (institutions for training teachers) around the state, and community leaders  decided that such an institution could meet their needs for a local college.  Therefore, they organized and marketed a proposal for a normal college in Nacogdoches.  

Their proposal was approved in l9l7, and   Dr. A. W. Birdwell,  from Southwest Texas State Normal College,  was chosen as president of the new institution.  Alas, just as the development of the college was to begin, the United States entered World War I and plans for establishing the college were delayed for several years. Finally, Dr. Birdwell announced that classes at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College would begin in the fall of l923 and that a fine new building being constructed on North Street

It was built in l830 by Colonel Piedras, Commandant of the  Mexican troops in Nacogdoches.  After Colonel Piedras was expelled following the Battle of Nacogdoches in l832, the property was seized and sold to the highest bidder.  Thomas Rusk, the winning bidder, made it his family’s home until l843 when he sold it to Judge Bennett Blake.  In l845, university trustees rented the house from Judge Blake; however, within a year they bought it for $3,000.  With careful modifications, the building was altered to provide living spaces  for  female students on the upper level and male students on the lower level.  There were also classrooms and an apartment for President Montrose and his family. 

After seven years in the Red House, the university moved to a building across the street.  Still later, in l855, it moved to the Temperance Hall on Hospital Street where classes were held until the University building was opened.


“What is the relationship between Nacogdoches University and Stephen F. Austin State University?”

The answer is that there has never been a formal relationship between the two because Nacogdoches University was closed several years before the idea for Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College was proposed. 

Nacogdoches University opened in September, l845.  Its classes were held in a downtown building called the “Red House,” so named because  its base was plastered with local clay that had a strong red tint. The upper part was a frame structure.  The building was located at the corner of Pilar and North Street.

   The Red House became famous in local history because of its owners and its uses through the years.

would be the home of the institution. 

Again, timing was a problem, for as the opening date approached,  it became clear that the building was far from ready for classes.    President Birdwell solved the problem of no classrooms or office spaces by negotiating with the school district to use its buildings on Washington Square.  Among the various spaces that were used for the college classes was the Old University Building!

That partnership of SFASU and The OUB that began in l923 has continued through the years.  For example, recently SFASU transferred some of its original furniture to the OUB for use in the parlor, dining room, and museum.  One item is a rare piece – an antique fireless cooker. Other pieces include the Victorian furniture that was the original living room furniture in SFASU’s president’s living room, as well as several of the l923 classroom chairs. A further example of the partnership  is the joint development of a video to show how Nacogdoches has historically placed great value on education.  NISD, SFASU, and ONUB leaders are all involved in this endeavor.  Through the years,  SFASU faculty and student groups have been generous with their time and expertise as the programs for The Old Nacogdoches University Building have developed.

“What is the relationship between Nacogdoches University and
Stephen F. Austin State University?”

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