Alumni House

The Alumni House was built in 1896 by German architect Charles S. Sinz for Beverly Hutchison, who was the son of Major W.O. Hutchinson, an early settler and member of the 32nd Texas Cavalry. Located at 420 North Austin Street, the two-story home featured front bay windows and a T-shaped front porch. Lonnie Robertson purchased the house from the Hutchinson family in 1913. The building operated as a boarding house from the late 1920s until 1966, when it was given to Southwest Texas State College by the San Marcos Urban Renewal Agency.

The house’s most distinguished tenant was alumnus Lyndon B. Johnson, who boarded at the house from March 1927 until September 1928, and again briefly during the summer of 1929. Johnson rented the downstairs bedroom from Mrs. Miller, the house's manager, and ate his meals at a separate boarding house owned by Mrs. S.E. Gates. He visited the home during his campus visits in November 1964 and August 1968. In 1967, the Ex-Students Association and the Alumni House Committee launched a successful campaign to revamp the structure and dedicate it to Johnson. As a result of their efforts, the house was designated as a Texas Historic Landmark by the Texas State Historical Survey Committee in 1968 and later named to the National Register of Historic Places (1983). In 2003, the house was repainted in order to better represent the era in which it was built; designers determined its color scheme by studying decorative trends popular at the turn of the century and coordinating its aesthetic with Old Main.

The Alumni House is currently included in the President’s Ranch Trail, which highlights certain statewide sites and areas related to President Johnson, his life, and his family. The house has served many functions since its boarding house days, including hosting Development Foundation and alumni meetings as well as homecoming receptions. Today, the house operates as the site for the Center for Student Retention.