Don Brownlee contributed images from the 1914 Stamford yearbook, called the Pyramid. The Handbook of Texas History has a brief history of the school.
The Stamford Collegiate Institute was founded in Stamford, TX by the North West Texas Methodist Conference. The Institute opened with 236 students and reached 300 by 1909. In 1910 it took the name Stamford College. A 1911 advertisement shows that it had a 2-year sub-academy course; a four-year academy course, and a two-year college course.
1909 newspaper accounts show a debate with Clarendon College. A debate is also one of the activities scheduled during commencement week in 1914. Commencement also featured music recitals and art exhibitions.
Since the college began with three new buildings, finances and fundraising were constant concerns during the short life of the college. Listed indebtedness was $65,000 in 1912. By 1917 the drought and World War I caused the enrollment to fall below 100. A major fire in 1918 caused between $50,000 and $100,000 in damages.
Despite attempts of local residents to find ways to rebuild in order to keep the school, the Conference moved the college to Abilene, where it reopened as McMurray College in 1920.
Bricks and Mortar
The City of Stamford offered $67,000 and 20 acres of land to have the college placed there. The administrative/classroom building was described in advertisements as a “magnificent five-story stone building. In addition, two dormitories were quickly built.
The April 1918 fire essentially destroyed the administration building. In 1920 the property was sold to the Stamford school district for $3,000.
The first newspaper account of a sporting event for Stamford College occurred in 1910 when the school played doubleheaders in tennis and basketball against Simmons College. This seems to have been a common practice at the time. But also just men’s and women’s basketball doubleheaders were common. Basketball at Stamford was an outdoor game as newspaper accounts show games played in mud from melting snow.
Stamford became a member of the West Central Texas Athletic Association along with Howard Payne, John Tarleton, Britton, Summers and Granbury. The Stamford women’s team laid claim to the championship of West Texas before being beaten by a high school team.
Stamford played a few football games beginning in 1912. In general they experienced little success against other conference teams before dropping the sport in 1916. The 1913 team defeated Draughon’s Business College of Abilene twice and Scranton Academy while losing twice to Britton Training School.
They also played some baseball and ran track.
The 1913 football team (Pyramid, courtesy of Don Brownlee)
1913-14 basketball team (Pyramid, courtesy of Don Brownlee)