Rooted in excellence

Private military academy among University’s early incarnations

During its 115-year history, UT Arlington has undergone seven name changes. The first came in 1902 when James M. Carlisle assumed ownership of Arlington College and changed the name to Carlisle Military Academy. He purchased three city blocks to expand the school, which he moved to Arlington from Hillsboro.

Carlisle was a highly regarded Texas educator. The flag at the state Capitol was lowered to half-staff upon his death. He was also a staunch disciplinarian. In an early school catalog, Carlisle warned students about the dangers of using tobacco and eating rich foods. He wanted them to have no more than 50 cents a week for spending money, and each boy had to write home every Sunday afternoon.

Carlisle Military Academy

UT Arlington was known as Carlisle Military Academy from 1902-1913. Under the direction of James M. Carlisle, the school accepted boys and girls ages 10 to 18.

The school opened with 48 students, and enrollment grew to approximately 150 in 1904-05. Cadets lived two to a room. Each had to buy a $17.50 dress uniform and a $15 fatigue uniform, plus a teaspoon, drinking cup and other articles. Room, board and tuition cost $300 per year. Unlike its predecessor, Arlington College, which had no indoor plumbing, Carlisle Military Academy had hot and cold running water.

The institution reflected Carlisle’s educational philosophy, which emphasized balancing intellectual work with military training to produce well-rounded, disciplined students. The school accepted pupils ages 10 to 18 and placed them into classes roughly the equivalent of today’s fifth through 10th grades. Although it officially enrolled only boys, the academy produced at least eight female graduates during its 11-year existence.

Early on, the Carlisle family was primarily responsible for running the school and teaching many of its classes. Carlisle served as superintendent, his wife as principal, and his daughter taught English and history. The institution fielded basketball, baseball, football and track teams, but Carlisle was careful not to let athletics flourish at the expense of academics.

Financial woes forced Carlisle Military Academy to close in 1913. Later that year, the Arlington Citizens Board leased the property to educator H.K. Taylor, who changed the name to Arlington Training School.

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