Tax Credit Program Highlight: St. Edward's Main Building

Austin, Travis County

1887 and 1903


Individually listed in National Register of Historic Places

Historic Use

Administration, Classrooms

Current Use

Administration, Classrooms

Date Certified

January 18, 2018 and August 13, 2019


Certified for state credits only.

Project Contact

St. Edward’s University, Architexas


St. Edward's University was founded in 1877 by Edward Sorin, a Roman Catholic priest who also founded the University of Notre Dame. The school was established on farmland atop a promontory to the south of Austin. As the institution grew in the early 1880s, its leaders decided to commission an administration building on that hilltop, and hired prolific architect Nicholas J. Clayton of Galveston, who was notable for designing many of Texas’ 19th-century churches. Clayton produced a large Gothic Revival stone edifice, four stories high with tall Gothic windows; this first Main Building was begun in 1887 and completed in 1888. On April 9, 1903, the building was destroyed in a fire; the university then commissioned Clayton to create a replacement for the structure in essentially the same design, upgraded to include improved fireproofing features. More than a century later, the building continues to house the administrative offices of St. Edward's.

Rehabilitation Project

This multi-phase project took advantage of the eligibility of non-profit institutions to participate in the state tax credit program, receiving credits for two separate projects in subsequent years. In the larger first project, the university’s flagship building received a full list of general repairs and improvements, including a new metal roof that faithfully recreates the original roof, carefully reconstructed windows, meticulously cleaned and repaired limestone exterior, restored doors and stained glass, and a completely modernized interior climate control system. The second phase was more limited, focusing on rehabilitating an interior space on the first floor for use as a new admissions office. This space had been in use as classrooms and offices, and retained few historic finishes; all new flooring, ceilings, and wall partitions create a new and inviting space to welcome potential students.

Photo Gallery

Click on any image to view the photo gallery.

  • The Main Building is the frontispiece of St. Edward's University, and after rehabilitation this historic building shows a fresh face.