On September 16, 1890, a man dressed in a frock coat and top hat stood on the steps of the Denton County Courthouse and addressed the citizens of Denton, Texas. President Joshua Crittenden Chilton’ s speech opened the Texas Normal College and Teachers Training Institute, now known as the University of North Texas. The new educational institution started classes before a site for the campus had been chosen. After the speech students were directed to a structure on the northwest corner of the square that would serve as the school site for the first year.
Classes were held upstairs at a hardware store and students were issued tickets for each class they would attend. Students in the inaugural class of fall 1890 included men and women from the north Texas area as well as 28 Native American students from Oklahoma, an area then known as Indian Territory. It took five months for a site to be agreed upon and acquired for the new institution’s campus. The first structure built would be known as the Normal Building and would open in 1891.
— Perri Hamilton