Buffalo Gap College

By: Louise Kelly

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: May 1, 1995

Buffalo Gap College, in Buffalo Gap, was the first institution offering a formal education in Taylor County. Its origins can be traced to a cowboy and part-time student who began in 1878 to push for a public school in the town. The cornerstone of the building was laid in 1883. The school opened that year with a twenty-year charter as Buffalo Gap High School, with William H. White as principal. When Alpha Young and Rev. A. J. Haynes proposed elevating the school into a college, the board of directors agreed, and in the fall of 1885 the name Buffalo Gap College was adopted. White became the college's first president. Initially the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of West Texas controlled the school, but sponsorship soon shifted to the Buffalo Gap and San Saba presbyteries of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Trinity University was the only other Presbyterian institution of higher learning in Texas at the time. Classes at Buffalo Gap were held in a large red sandstone building with three recreation rooms and two smaller classrooms. A large auditorium was on the second floor. The school also had a chapel and a study hall. Tuition and board for the five-month term was $100. By December 1885, 106 students were enrolled. The school had at least eight presidents and reached an enrollment exceeding 300 students in 1897. It was often plagued with financial troubles, however. Enrollment for 1900–01 was 103. During the school year 1901–02 White returned to the presidency, but by December 1902 the presbytery had instructed the trustees to sell the property, as the school's charter was near expiration. By July 1906 the sale of the college was completed. Eventually the public schools used the building.

Abilene Reporter-News, April 2, 1956. Tommie Clack, "Buffalo Gap College," West Texas Historical Association Year Book 35 (1959). Hamilton Wright, "Old Buffalo Gap College," Frontier Times, December 1944.
  • Education
  • Defunct Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Religion
  • Presbyterian

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Louise Kelly, “Buffalo Gap College,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 24, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/buffalo-gap-college.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995