State Approves Trinity University’s Application For National Historic Designation

Feb 7, 2018

The Texas Historic Commission has approved Trinity University’s application for the National Register of Historic Places.

Much of the campus was designed by San Antonio architect O’Neil Ford, who also designed the Tower of the Americas.


Ford created dozens of buildings for Trinity from the 1950s to the 1970s, including the university’s iconic Murchison bell tower.

The modern, red brick structures were built on top of a former rock quarry and adapted to the shape of the land. The halls and dorms are connected by walkways and surrounded by native landscaping.

“Seeking recognition as a National Historic District is a very exciting step for us. It means that we have taken stock and are willing to make a commitment to use a very conservationist approach,” said Trinity President Danny Anderson. “There are not many mid-century modern campuses like ours, and it’s a wonderful treasure to really make more known to the broader public.”

In addition to the Trinity campus and Tower of the Americas, Ford designed several buildings for the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Little Chapel in the Woods at Texas Women's University in Denton. He also led efforts to preserve La Villita.

Texas Historic Commission spokesperson Chris Florance said the commission is making final adjustments to Trinity’s application before submitting it to the National Park Service for consideration. He said the park service should make a decision within 45 days of submission.

A National Historic District designation will make Trinity eligible for historic tax credits and preservation grants.

Camille Phillips can be reached at camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille