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Photos capture early years of university now called UL

Photos capture early years of university now called UL

Photos capture early years of university now called UL

On Jan. 3, 1900, a specially appointed committee of Louisiana citizens picked Lafayette as the site for a new state college to be called the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute.

Sen. Robert Martin introduced legislation to create the school after he visited the State Normal School at Natchitoches and the Louisiana Industrial Institute at Ruston and thought that his district needed one, too.

The 13th District included Lafayette, St. Martin, and Iberia parishes. At first, Jeanerette, New Iberia, Lafayette and Scott all offered bids for the new school.

Gov. Murphy Foster appointed a committee of Sen. Martin, Dr. James A. Lee of New Iberia, Gen. Albert Estopinal of St. Bernard, Professor Brown Ayres of New Orleans, Capt. John C. Buchanan of Lafayette, Amos L. Ponder of Sabine, Major J.G. Lee of Ouachita, Thomas Lewis of St. Landry, himself and the state superintendent of education, ex officio.

New Iberia offered 50 acres of wooded land near the center of town and promised a five-mill tax on city property to support the school. Scott offered 50 acres donated by Alcide Judice and $5,000 cash. Lafayette voted a 2-mill tax, offered 25 acres of land donated by Crow Girard and his mother, Maxime Girard, and put together $8,000 in cash donations from the local citizenry,

The Lafayette banks pledged to put up a $10,000 loan to be paid for by the 2-mill tax, giving immediate cash in hand to get the campus going.

"This situation was … one of the best examples of why Lafayette ultimately became the ‘center’ of the Attakapas country," Lafayette historian J. Philip Dismukes wrote, "for here in close competition with neighboring towns, Lafayette displayed enough confidence in itself to seek acceptance as the site of the new school and gamble a goodly sum of private funds in the process."

Photographers recorded the early history of SLII.

Today we present 21 images as part of our series of Vintage Galleries about the events and history that have helped to form South Louisiana. If you have information about them, or photographs to add to this gallery, send them to us so that they may become part of this permanent pictorial archive of Acadiana.

Photo courtesy Clerk of Court Louis Perret

Members of the SLII Bread Club posed for this photo in 1913. It’s not clear why the club was formed or what it did.

Photo Galleries: