Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Temple Center for Teaching and Learning

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Institution Name: Austin College
Original/Historic Place Name: Thompson House
Location on Campus: SE corner
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1895original construction Struue, ?
1997renovation Unknown
1997restoration of front entry and parlor Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: pier and beam; bois d'arc wood piers
Walls: wood fishscale shingles; diamond shingles; clapboard
Roof: composite shingle; pressed metal shingle (turret)
1895-1919private residence (of the John Martin Thompson family)
1919-1938private residence (of the Harry Bean family)
1938-1943other (rooming house)
1943-early 1990sresidence hall (for students and faculty)
1990s-present (2007)classrooms
1997-present (2007)other (offices of Austin Teacher Program)

Significance: architecture, education
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Temple Center, formerly the John Martin Thompson House, was built in 1895 by Captain John Martin Thompson, an east Texas lumber magnate who moved his family to Sherman so that his sons could be educated at Austin College. Capt. Thompson served on the Board of Trustees of the college, and one of his sons, J. Lewis Thompson, succeeded him as a trustee and ran for congress from Texas's 7th Congressional District in 1934. Another son, Hoxie H. Thompson, Class of 1901, also served a Trustee of the college and made substantial gifts of securities, real estate, and the house itself in the 1940s. The family contributed lumber for an athletic park for Austin College in 1903 and a gymnasium in 1923. They also financed the building of a science hall in 1913.

After the college acquired the deed to the property in 1943, Thompson House was used to house students and faculty, serving as a foreign language house for two decades. When building codes and restrictions made its continued use as a student residence unfeasible, it was renovated through a grant from the David E. and Cassie L. Temple Foundation for use as the center for the Austin College Teacher Education Program. Temple Center is an excellent example of Queen Anne/Eastlake style architecture. The exterior retains most of its original detailing. The north and east facades were designed to come together at the domed turret to form a symmetrical composition originally intended to be entered at a 45-degree angle. The interior has been altered drastically over the years, but original details were restored in the front entry and two parlors on the first floor during renovations in 1997.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Cummins, Light T. Austin College: A Sesquicentennial History, 1849-1999. Austin, TX: Eakin Press, 1999.

Cummins, Light T., and Edward Hake Phillips, eds. Footsteps to the Past: A Walking Tour of the Austin College Campus. Sherman, TX: Austin College, 1988.

Wallace, Percy Everett. "The History of Austin College." M. A. thesis, University of Texas, 1924.

II. Location of other data:

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