Saturday, June 21, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History June 22

Southwest Texas Conference Gives Westmoorland College to Presbyterians June 1942

As John McLean once wrote, “Perhaps we overdid the school business.” He was right. Methodists opened dozens of schools during the 19th century. Disposing of the inventory of unneeded schools in the 20th century became an unpleasant necessity.

The closing of Westmoorland College in San Antonio is one of the happier endings. Instead of shuttering the college, the Presbyterians accepted the facilities and moved Trinity University from Waxahachie to San Antonio.

Methodists had projected a school in San Antonio even before the Civil War. Robert Belvin came from Georgia to head it, but it never got off the ground. The West Texas Conference reformed it as San Antonio Female College in 1894. In 1914 it was elevated to junior college. In 1918 the trustees renamed it Westmoorland College. The 1930s brought hard times and declining enrollment so in 1932, the trustees admitted male students.

Meanwhile the trustees of Trinity University in Waxahachie were considering relocation. Presbyterians had founded Trinity in Tehuacana but moved it to Waxahachie in 1902. It was that relocation that made it possible for Methodist Protestants to move their college to Tehuacana.

Waxahachie provided too small a population base for Trinity’s ambitions. The Southwest Texas Conference made Westmoorland’s campus available, so Trinity moved to San Antonio. Graduates of Westmoorland and San Antonio Female College became alumni and alumnae of Trinity, so the San Antonio Methodist educational heritage continues in Trinity University.

In 1950 Trinity University moved from the old Westmoorland campus to a new campus on the north side of San Antonio.


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