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Editor of Houstonian in 1982 remembers Old Main

Houstonian Alumnus

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 01:12


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Sad day at Sam

Old Main - only memories remain. One of Sam Houston’s saddest days was last Friday when years of tradition and history were caught up in flames and destroyed. The tragic loss of Old Main was considered by many as the loss of a dear friend, and a number of students, past and present, came by to pay their last respects to this friend.

The people present in teh predawn hours Friday stood around helpless, watching in disbelief as the once majestic building fell, engulfed in flames. Some students cried, some appeared dazed, and others did not quite know how to react. At approximately 2 a.m., Friday, Dr. Elliot T. Bowers, SHSU president and alumnus, said this was his saddest day at the University.

Bowers had met with architects Thursday to prepare a proposal for Board consideration on the restoration and renovation of the historic buildings. Now that so much has been destroyed, the question is, is it possible to restore the Austin College Building, at least? Someone said it is even possible to rebuild Old Main, with some of the original bricks, but the amount of capital necessary for such a task would be enormous. A sad point point to consider is if the Texas Legislature had allotted funds to restore the building last year, there is a possibility this woul dnever have happened. And since money could not be found just last year, it is doubtful it will be found now.

The hill will never be quite the same without the pride and joy of Sam Houston, Old Main, to welcome visitors and newcomers to campus. If anything is ever put in her place, it will never be the same. Perhaps nothing should ever be built at the site, and a marker should be placed in memorial to a dear, lost friend.


A tragic loss


As long as I live I shall never forget this past Friday morning when a friend called and told me Old Main was on fire. In disbelief I rushed to campus and watched with others, stunned, as years of memories were destroyed.

Having heard about the glamor and splendor of Old Main for as long as I can remember from my sister who attended Sam Houston In the early 1960’s, as well as having seen it for myself when I was younger, I felt especially close to the historic structure. I think most students here at Sam Houston, past and present, felt the same closeness to Old Main.

I never thought I could become so attached to a building as I have with Old Main, but every time I think about the tragic loss felt here Friday tears well up in my eyes and a deep sadness fills my heart. A friend and I keep saying to each other, "If only I had one more chance to walk through her doors and see the splendor and beauty she offered."

As with everything else, we usually appreciate things most after they are gone. This should be an example to all. The parts of life we take for granted, such as love, our parents, family, and special friends, as well as treasured buildings such as Old Main and Austin College Building, should be appreciated and respected while they are still with us. After they are gone, there’s nothing left but memories.

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