Special piece of UTA history returns to campus

Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017 • Media Contact : Teresa Woodard Schnyder

A cornerstone dating back to 1906, when UTA was known as Carlisle Military Academy, has been returned to campus.

The renovation of a historic Tarrant County home led to the discovery of a special slice of The University of Texas at Arlington’s past.

Several broken pieces of a marble stone were discovered in a north Fort Worth home currently undergoing repairs.

When the stones are pieced together, they are imprinted with the words “Carlisle Military Academy” and the year 1906. Carlisle Military Academy was one of the early names of the institution that would eventually become UTA.

The marble is thought to be the original cornerstone of a new cadet barracks built at Carlisle Military Academy in 1906.

Nick Kithas, who owns the home on Samuels Avenue, made the discovery. He and Betty Shankle, UTA and labor collections archivist, connected after an online search revealed the tie to the university.

“Finding the cornerstone is momentous because there are few records from the early years of our campus,” Shankle said. “Preserving records from that era was not a priority.”

Kithas donated the cornerstone to UTA’s Special Collections.

How and when it ended up at his Fort Worth home will likely remain a mystery.

“Nick Kithas is the kind of donor archivists love to hear from,” Shankle said. “Historic artifacts are often forever lost. He saved and helped preserve a significant piece of UTA history and, for that, we are extremely grateful.”

Together, the cornerstone’s six pieces measure about 16 inches tall, 17 inches wide, and three inches deep. The library had an acrylic case built to house the stone and protect it from any further damage.

The cornerstone is on display in Special Collections on the sixth floor of UTA’s Central Library through October 29. After that date, it will be available to view upon request in Special Collections, which is home to tens of thousands of pieces of historical materials such as maps, periodicals, manuscripts and newspapers related to Texas, Mexico and the greater southwest.