The Eagle Park and recreation grounds area on the North Texas campus occupied land on what was formerly Scoular Hall (originally the Journalism Building), Stovall Hall, the Willis Library, and a number of other structures. The recreation area extended beyond what was replaced with the Laboratory School (now known as the Music Annex) to the west and stretched out to the east even before the current Administration Building was constructed.

Eagle Park was a recreation area where croquet, volleyball, tennis, horseshoe and other activities could be enjoyed. It included a football field, a practice field for soccer and hockey, tennis courts, a men’s and women’s gymnasium, basketball courts, volleyball courts, an outdoor stadium, horseshoe courts, a shaded playground with trees, and, to the east, an archery area. It also included buildings such as the Men’s Gymnasium and the Women’s Gymnasium. A bowling alley was located behind the swimming pool to the west.

Originally, benches were part of the area where students could gather around the bandstand and watch theatrical performances, listen to music or, with the addition of a projection booth, watch films. The bandstand was an open air theater designed by architect O’Neil Ford. The stage of the bandstand was active throughout the 1920s and up until the late 1940s, when the Journalism Building took its place.

A swimming pool was part of the area behind the benches of the open air theater. When classes were not in session, the pool was open to the public, as were many of the areas on the grounds. The outdoor swimming pool was one of the last remaining structures of the recreation area, lasting even up through the 1980s and the early years of the Willis Library.

For many years, up until 1969, the current location of the Willis Library was occupied by the Willis Library. In photographs dating back to this year, early construction of the A.M. Willis, Jr. Library is visible in aerial views. Prior to this, this patch of land was the largest of the remaining pieces of Eagle Park.

Gradually, through time, every piece of the Eagle Park area has disappeared. Aerial photographs illustrate a progression of the land’s development up to the present day. None of the land or structures that were once an integral part of the North Texas community do not exist anymore except in memory. If it were not for photographs and aerials, clippings, yearbooks, old maps and documents, no one would even realize the space now occupied by the Administration Building, the Willis Library, Music buildings, University Union, and the recently demolished Scoular Hall and Stovall Hall had such a rich history of activity and recreation throughout the 1920s and up through the 1960s.

— by S. Ivie, Associate Processing Archivist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *