History of the Century Tree
The Century Tree is located in the heart of Texas A&M's campus, and has continued to thrive amidst the many changes that have occurred at the university throughout the years.
Old Main was built in 1876 and was the first building on the Texas A&M campus. It burned down in 1912 and was replaced by the current Academic Building in 1914. This photo was taken around 1900. The young Century Tree can be seen on the far left.
The Academic Building
Cadets fill the plaza outside of the present Academic Building in a photo taken around 1915, prior to the installation of the statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross ("Sully") in 1918. By this time, 49 percent of Texas A&M graduates were enlisted in the military, more than any other school in the country. In fact, the entire senior class of 1918 enlisted, and many were fighting in France when World War I ended in November of that year.
The Academic Building was the original site of the Texas A&M Library until the opening of the Cushing Library in 1930. The plaza in front of the Academic Building has served as the site of Silver Taps since 1918, with buglers from the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band playing "Silver Taps" from the building's dome.
The Century Tree can be seen on the left side of the plaza.
This image of Bolton Hall was taken around 1960, and the nearby Century Tree can be seen on the right.
Bolton Hall was built in 1912, and was the original mechanical and electrical engineering building on campus. It was named after President Frank C. Bolton in 1939.
Women at Texas A&M
Texas A&M (known back then as the "Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas") was founded as an all-male, all-military school in 1876.
Ethel Hudson, the daughter of a Texas A&M professor, was the first woman to attend classes at the A&M College of Texas in 1895. Her younger twin sisters became honorary members of the Class of 1903 several years later.
Mary Evelyn Crawford Locke became the first woman to receive a diploma from Texas A&M in 1925. However, the college did not allow women to openly enroll until 1969, three years after becoming a university.
Women were first admitted into the Corps of Cadets in the fall of 1974, and by 2011, nearly 40 years after the university allowed women to openly enroll as students, women would represent 46 percent of the overall student body.
The Century Tree today...
"According to an old Aggie legend, if two lovers pass beneath the tree's large, vine-like branches, they are destined to be wed. Similarly, if a couple becomes engaged under the Century's picturesque leaves, the marriage will last forever."
-- The Battalion, April 29, 2008
In recent years, the Century Tree has become known as a "sweetheart tree", with hundreds of Aggie marriage proposals taking place there every year. Tradition states that couples who walk beneath its draping branches will remain together forever.
The Century Tree was named an official Famous Tree of Texas by the Texas Forest Service in 2011, an honor given to an elite group of trees "that have witnessed exciting times in Texas frontier history." The Century Tree is one of only three trees added to the registry over the past 40 years.