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POW camp origin of Country Campus
May 12, 1942

On this date in 1942, construction began on a German prisoner of war camp some twelve miles northeast of Huntsville in northeastern Walker County. This construction also marked the origins of the town of Country Campus. The POW camp had a capacity to house 4,800 men, providing housing and medical facilities, a clothing shop, barbershop, laundry, bakery, cafeteria, commissary, gymnasium, guardhouse, fire station, and motor pool. In addition, clubs for both officers and enlisted personnel were provided. Prisoners held at the camp were leased as laborers to local farmers. The camp was deactivated on January 25, 1946, and the property was donated by the government to Sam Houston State Teachers College (later Sam Houston State University) and renamed the Sam Houston Country Campus. The buildings were adapted to serve as dormitories, administrative offices, classrooms, and recreational facilities. Buses shuttled students between the country and main campuses. A post office was established at the site in 1948, and a year later the community reported a population of 1,000. By 1964, however, when the post office closed, the town reported 425 residents and one business. In the 1980s some of the old buildings, a golf course, and pastureland remained at the site. Country Campus in 1990 comprised sixty residents.

Black postal workers' organization planned in Houston
May 12, 1913

On this day in 1913, the National Alliance of Postal Employees, an organization formed to protect the rights and privileges of African Americans in the postal service, was projected at a Houston meeting attended by a number of black postal workers in the city, including Henderson native James S. Rutledge. From this meeting grew the Progressive Postal League, which led to the Chattanooga convention that founded the National Alliance of Postal Employees.

University of Texas anthem premiers in Austin
May 12, 1903

On this day in 1903, "The Eyes of Texas" was first sung. The performance took place at a minstrel show benefiting the University of Texas track team at the Hancock Opera House in Austin. The ditty soon became the official song of the University of Texas, and is even considered by some a sort of unofficial state song. (Such enthusiasts are rare at College Station.) William L. Prather, an alumnus of Washington College (Lexington, Virginia) and president of UT from 1899 to 1905, had often in his student days heard Robert E. Lee, then president of Washington College, say to students, "The eyes of the South are upon you." Prather altered the saying for use at UT.