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University of Texas Tower

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Identification

University of Texas Tower
MAI, University of Texas Administration Tower, UT Tower, Main Building
123142

Map

Structure in General

high-rise building
existing [completed]
steel
limestone
white
spanish colonial revival

Usages

university office
restaurant library

Facts

  • Before the observation deck was closed in the 1970s, it was visited by up to 70,000 people a year.
  • The tower shaft is 59 feet wide. The tower is 74 feet wide at its base.
  • Tallest building built during the 1930s in Austin.
  • The tower bares a striking resemblance to the Camden City Hall in Camden, New Jersey.
  • The tower has consistently been used by the The Weather Bureau as a "yardstick" for measuring cloud ceiling height in Austin.
  • The cornerstone of the original 1899 University of Texas Old Main can be found near the entrance of the UT Tower on the south facade. It is the oldest architectural artifact on the campus.
  • When the University of Texas wins certain games such as the football national title game, the UT Tower is lit in burnt orange colors from top to bottom. An 11-story "1" appears on all 4 facades.
  • Built as Austin's second-tallest building, the tower sparked controversy because it was the first building to rival the State Capitol's height. Its site is 6 feet higher (606 ft above sea level) than the capitol atop "College Hill".
  • The International Company, (which later became IBM), installed the clock mechanism. The clock was set and starting keeping time for the first time in 1936.
  • The four clock faces of the tower are 12 feet in diameter, (14 feet across rim to rim). The rim around the clock is clad in gold leaf.
  • The tower occupies the original site of the University of Texas Old Main which was razed to make way for the UT Tower.
  • The office of the president is on the 4th floor.
  • The tower has become a symbol of Austin since its construction, almost as much of a symbol as the State Capitol, and is the centerpiece of the University of Texas at Austin.
  • In August 1965 a fire started in the 20th floor bookstacks, believed to be started by sparks from a torch, causing some books to catch on fire. There was considerable damage to the Hoblitzelle Theater Arts Library which houses the P.T. Barnum and Harry Houdini collections.
  • In 1966, a student on the observation deck shot and killed 13 people, hitting 30 others. The deck was closed in the early 1970s because of two attempted suicides from the deck and its dark history. In 1999, the deck was reopened with guard rails in place and guided tours.
  • The UT Tower is also a 56-bell carillon, the largest and tallest carillon in Texas. The largest bell weighs in at 7,350 pounds.

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More Information

Location

2300 Inner Campus Drive
Corner of Inner Campus Drive and University Avenue
78705
Downtown
Austin
Texas
U.S.A.

Technical Data

328.00 ft
307.07 ft
307.07 ft
231.00 ft
59.00 ft
59.00 ft
29
1935
1937
$3,000,000

Involved Companies


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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • Clock(s) displayed on the outside
  • Floodlighting at night
  • Observation deck on roof
  • Observation floor is available
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