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U T School of Law Building in Photographs

Temporary Capitol

The University of Texas held its first classes in the building known as the Temporary Capitol on September 15, 1883. This building was constructed in 1882 to replace the previous Texas State Capitol, which had burned in 1881, and was used for five years while the new granite Capitol was being built. 

Of the original 218 University of Texas students, 52 were registered in the Law department. Of the eight founding faculty, two were law professors: former Governor of Texas Oran M. Roberts (1815-1898) and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Robert S. Gould (1826-1904).  

The Temporary Capitol was in use by the law students only until the west wing of the new University's Main Building was finished in 1885.


The Law Department was, by all accounts, happy to move into their new accommodations. 

"It was finally decided to seek authority to use the temporary capitol. The faculty in a body called on the Governor, John Ireland, and laid their petition before him. The petition was granted and were permitted to use temporary plank partitions in making lecture rooms. It was decided to use the Senate Chamber as an assembly hall and to divide up the much larger Hall of Representatives by means of plank partitions into lecture rooms. This was done in time for the opening of the session. When work began, the arrangements we had made proved very unsatisfactory. Sounds permeated through the thin plank partitions to such a degree as to disturb lectures or recitations."  

-- Professor Milton Humphreys, member of the University’s first faculty, ALCALDE, April 15, 1913. 

Photo courtesy of the Austin History Center; PICA 06180