Profiles of the school appear in the Handbook of Texas Online, the Midland Christian College Marker and as part of Colby D. Hall’s larger history of Texas Christian University. The McKinney Weekly Democrat-Gazette--source of the 1913 ad (right)-- served as a local newspaper for the college. The El Paso Times and the Fort Worth Record also covered some school events. Texas Tech University provided scans from the 1921 Sandstorm.
In the spring of 1908, Texas Christian University began discussions with the Disciples of Christ to organize a junior college in Southwest Texas. That college opened at Midland in September 1910 for 107 students in six grades. The faculty numbered 10.
Catalogues list Midland College as an “affiliated college” of Texas Christian University. As such, it’s faculty taught mathematics, biology, history, English, modern languages, physics and chemistry. The 1913 ad shows that it could point to departments of art, music, and oratory and that it had added departments of business and teacher training. By 1916 one faculty member taught piano.
According to the 1913 ad, Midland offered “good debating societies” for students and offered “splendid social and religious conditions.” The commencement that year shows that graduates put on “an excellent musical programme” in the morning and “appeared in a dramatic programme” that night. Students published both a school newspaper (the Coyote) and a yearbook (the Sandstorm).
The college marker claims an enrollment of 250 for the college in 1917. But the Handbook noted that the enrollment was not sufficient to support the school financially. Without tax or endowment to support, Midland College could not survive. Midland residents felt that if the school could only have survived a few more years, the oil boom would have saved it.
After closing in Midland in 1921, the school reopened in Cisco in 1922. There, renamed Randolph College, it lasted until 1937.
Bricks and Mortar
Before the oil boom of the 1930’s, Midland had a population of 2,000-2,500. It was advertised as a town with a good altitude and “invigorating climate." Midland provided 225 acres for a campus, making it the largest in Texas with plenty of room for “open air play.” The building itself was three-story brick, over a cellar which stored water, pumped from a well. The building measured approximately 145 X 78 feet. The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows six large classrooms on the first floor, along with a kitchen/dining area. The second floor held the auditorium/chapel. The third floor was listed as a girls’ dormitory. A 1914 ad noted that rooms were “comfortable,” and table fare was “excellent.” The building was heated by gas furnace and by stoves,
A second frame building was added to house the boys.
By 1929 the Sanborn map lists it as a “vacant building in bad repair.” During the oil boom the building was used for offices. Sometime afterward it was razed.
Pinterest image of the main building saved by Mabel Jones to Old Midland.
Team name: Herefords
The 1913 ad notes that the school supported “clean athletics.” That same year the Fort Worth Star reported that every boy in school indicated that he planned to try out for the team. Midland began playing football immediately in the fall of 1910 with losses to Big Springs High School 12-0 and 11-0. Newspapers show undefeated teams in 1911 and 1912, with the 1912 team defeating Rosco High School 71-0. Another frequent high school opponent was Pecos High School. In 1919 Midland stepped up against a college team, losing 46-0 to Abilene Christian.
In the first year Midland began playing baseball as well against the same high schools and colleges, as well as independent teams. Midland also fielded a girls’ basketball team, often playing a boy’ baseball/girls’ basketball doubleheader with an opposing school.
The 1920 Herefords. Image from the 1921 Sandstorm. Courtesy of the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University.