TAMUK Institute to Document Architectural History of South Texas

The Texas A&M University-Kingsville Board of Regents recently approved the establishment of something called the Institute of Architectural Engineering Heritage.

It will be part of the College of Engineering at TAMUK.

The idea is to try and preserve the heritage of South Texas by documenting the significant architecture in this region so that, if industry and changes in the community occur, we will still have an idea of what happened in the past.

The director of the institute said more than half of Texas is under-represented in the Library of Congress.

"Dallas is very well represented. San Antonio. Austin is very well represented. Houston," said Jim Glusing of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering. "But when we started looking at the number of counties and where they were, we found out when we first started our program only one neighboring county to Kleberg County even has anything in the national records at the Library of Congress, and that is Nueces County."

Glusing was referring to the Conrad Meuly House & Store of 210 Chaparral Street. He hopes the Institute will broaden that representation.

"This house is the Wells Home," Glusing said. "It was originally built by Jim Wells. It's the gentleman that Jim Wells County was named for."

One of the sites Glusing says is important to document is Ben Torres Printing, which has been in Kingsville since the 1940s. He said it is important to document not only their architecture, but also their equipment.

"That's an older model. It's one of the, not one of the first produced, but one of the earlier models. It's called a letter press," said Carlos Torres, owner of the Ben Torres Printing Company. "The Kluge Letter Press. It's been in the shop for at least 60 years and it's still working."

Architecture, engineering, industrial processes and landscape are all things the Institute will document. Glusing says it helps develop pride when people understand what their history is.


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