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About the Stone Fort

The fort on the campus of SFA started its life as a magnificent Spanish Colonial house. Built by Antonio Gil Y’Barbo sometime between 1788 and 1791 on the Camino Real, the house weathered four revolutionary actions, acquiring its nickname the "Old Stone Fort" along the way.

The house changed hands many times and was used for, well, whatever the owners needed and some things they didn’t. The Mexican government billeted soldiers in the house and a succession of filibusterers took temporary possession of the building before it settled into its final incarnation as a saloon. But the house Y’Barbo built could not withstand the march of progress. Demolished in 1902 against a backdrop of statewide protest, Y’Barbo’s house was the focal point of one of the first preservation efforts in Texas.

A replica structure built in 1936 by the Texas Centennial Commission, the Museum was shepherded into existence by the Cum Concilio Club, a women’s literary group organized in 1894. As a museum, the building is no longer at the center of revolutionary struggles unless you include an account published in the campus newspaper, The Pine Log, on April 1, 1942:

Somewhere on the Campus, Wednesday, April 1 (AP) - In a movement unsurpassed in the academic history of any institution, the College Commission, radical element of SFA, turned on their teachers like a pack of mad dogs and seized control of the school from authorities this morning, and set up a puppet government. The revolutionists were led by turbulent Bob Murffee, who promptly set up a dictatorship with himself on the top pedestal. Determined to make a last stand against the College Commission, the faculty has barricaded itself into the Old Stone Fort, historic East Texas landmark. They have supplies enough to last for at least two more hours, says Baby Rooth, rebel minister of supply. It looks bad for the faculty, folks.”

The puppet governments of years past, both real and imagined, are gone. But you might find a puppet show in the education room, so visit the Museum and open yourself up to something revolutionary.

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