History of Loftin Hall

Loftin Hall and Dormitories, postcard image, c1935

Loftin Hall was constructed in 1935 by the firm of H.H. Moeller of San Antonio through funding provided by the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (later renamed the Public Works Administration), one of the many agencies created under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Program. Situated between the new men’s dormitory, Edwin Seale Hall, on its east side, and the new women’s dormitory, Robert B. Cousins Hall, on its west side, Loftin Hall served as the campus dining hall. The building was named for the university’s third president, James Otis Loftin. Designed in the Mission Revival style by architect John M. Marriott, the building boasted hand-painted beams and Mexican tile floors; a beautiful addition to the university campus, it quickly became a popular gathering place for students. With their plush couches, comfortable chairs, and decorative wooden tables, the east and west wings functioned as student lounges. Beyond this was the Students lined up in the main lobby before meals; when the internal doors were opened, students entered the main dining hall, flanked by two large fireplaces on either end. Kitchens and food preparation areas extended through the south portion of the building.

In addition to serving as the campus dining hall, Loftin Hall hosted a variety of student social functions. Many of the fraternities held their meetings in the building. Most notably, campus dances were held in Loftin. With the tables moved away, the building’s tile floors and high ceilings provided the ideal setting for live bands during the 1930s and ‘40s. In the mid ‘40s prior to the construction of the new Memorial Student Union building in 1950, one of Loftin’s wings served as the venue for the “Little Union Building”—an open space with a Wurlitzer jukebox where students could gather and dance. When new dining facilities were constructed in the late 1960s, Loftin Hall was closed. In 1976, the building was restored and repurposed as the new location of the John E. Conner Museum—a purpose it still serves today.

Students Waiting in Cafeteria Line in Loftin Hall, 1944 Loftin Hall Exterior View, 1938 Loftin Student Lounge, 1937
Click here for more Loftin Hall photos. All photos from the El Rancho (yearbooks) except where indicated otherwise.

This page was last updated on: October 26, 2016