The UT Tower

The UT Austin Tower, towering at 307 feet, was completed in 1937. Over the years, it has not only served as the university’s most iconic landmark, but also a symbol of excellence in academics and personal opportunity.

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The design of the Main Building was created by Paul Cret, a French-born architect who was residing in Philadelphia at the time. The building was meant to house the university’s central library. On both the east and west side of the building were two reading rooms; “Hall of Texas” and “Hall of Noble Words”. These connected to a great central reference room which made use of oak and marble decor, as well as six seals of Texas.

Rising twenty-seven floors above the reading rooms was where the library’s book stacks were kept. Made from Indiana limestone, it was financed through a grant given by the Works Progress Administration; a New Deal program created during the times of the Great Depression. Being a closed-stack library, its patrons had to search an immense card catalog to identify their desired selections before requesting them at the front desk. Orders would then be sent upstairs to a Tower librarian (who often wore roller skates to maneuver between rows of bookshelves) before finally being sent back down in a “dumbwaiter” elevator to be checked out.
As the number of students and the size of the library’s collection increased, so did the time people had to wait to check out a book. The need for an open-stack library led to construction of the Undergraduate Library and Academic Center in 1963, and the Perry-Castaneda Library in 1977. Today, most of the Main Building is used for administrative offices, but students can still find places to study in the grand reading rooms, which now contain the Life Sciences Library.

Tours

The UT Tower is a great opportunity to see Austin and the UT campus from a different perspective. With information about the architecture and a full 360 degree view, this is a tour you won’t want to miss!

Hogg Memorial Auditorium

Hogg Memorial Auditorium, designed by French architect Paul Cret and completed in 1933, was the first theater on campus. It was part of the “Union Group” buildings financed almost entirely by student and alumni efforts and was named after James Stephen Hogg, the first native governor of Texas.

Throughout the decades, Hogg has served as a hub for different aspects of UT campus life. Its inauguration was a lecture by poet Robert Frost in 1933. In the 1950s, it became the main stage for UT’s drama department but has continued to serve as a venue for lectures, debates, and traveling plays – serving both the campus and community.

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After a dormant phase when it was only used for lectures, exams, and film screenings, Hogg reopened as a performing arts venue in 1997. Today, while maintaining many of its original architectural features that make the space historical, it is primarily a student-centric programming space for creative events planned and produced by registered student organizations.

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