Centennial Moments

Researched & Written by David Goeke


A "GYMNASIUM" IN TEXAS Part II

When it opened, there was but one building on the some 20 acre tract of land in Austin, Texas, that Concordia College would call home. The building was named Kilian Hall after Pastor Jan Kilian the spiritual leader of the Wendish Lutherans who came to Texas in 1854). This building was everything....classrooms, dormitory and kitchen. Students slept on "Murphy Beds"...the ones that folded up into the wall. It wasn't luxurious living. And, there was no "beautiful campus". In fact, the land was covered with underbrush. There were no funds to clear all this land, so guess who was recruited to do it? You guessed it....the students. Classes were held Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday was the Lord’s Day...and Monday mornings was "grove beautification day". And, what’s more, the students were happy and willing to do it. They were not remunerated, except for an occasional “Coca Cola” when they were done...a real treat....and not so easily acquired in that day.

As to eating provisions for the students, they weren't provided by some food service as is found today. No, the food for the students was provided by farmers and ranchers from around the state of Texas. On the day of the dedication of the college, one member of the Synod's Board of Directors, a Mr. Ahlbrand, stated to a group of men who were farmers, "Farmers have made our country what it is today. You may not be as wealthy as some people, but you do have an edge on the city folks. You can do for your Concordia what others cannot do as well. Do you know how these boys go for country sausage and fresh eggs sizzling in a pan? You can give them eggs and chickens, butter and bacon and ham, sweet corn and tomatoes and all kinds of fresh things from the garden". Well, the farmers came through. And a truck was purchased...which made its rounds to farmers throughout the state. That's how the students were fed for a good many years. As Walter Cronkite would say, "And that’s the way it was".