As an HBCU, Huston-Tillotson University has established itself as a pilar of education in its Austin, Texas community. However, its value extends on a national level, and now H-TU will be part of a national register! Learn more in the story by Marisa Charpentier at KUT 90.5.
Huston-Tillotson University is officially a historic district. Earlier this year, the campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of sites deemed worthy of preservation.
“The recognition of the physical space of Huston-Tillotson University speaks of the equally immense educational, cultural, and economic importance of the University to the East Austin community and beyond,” interim university President Archibald Vanderpuye said in a press release.
Huston-Tillotson’s roots date back to 1875, predating UT Austin as the city’s oldest institute of higher learning. The East Austin landmark is the city’s only historically Black college and university (HBCU).
After the Civil War, church-affiliated organizations founded Tillotson Institute and Samuel Huston College to educate formerly enslaved people. Eventually the two colleges merged in 1952 to become Huston-Tillotson College, and later Huston-Tillotson University.
The 19.8-acre historic district on Chicon Street has 13 structures that contribute to the campus’ historical and architectural significance, according to the university. Being listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the university says, can help protect the campus from the impact of certain outside projects and gives the university access to technical expertise and grants to help with restoring and preserving the campus.
“Huston-Tillotson University has a proud history of excellence in higher education and community service to Austin,” said Joi Harden with the City of Austin’s Historic Preservation Office, which worked with HT to get the designation. “Generations of African American students have found a rich and supportive home on the Huston-Tillotson campus to earn college degrees, pursue professional careers, and advance their lives in an inclusive environment.”