History of the Lindsey Hill Site
Lindsey Hill has a proud history that authentically expresses the San Marcos DNA: courageous, forward-looking, open to change. From its original construction after the Civil War, the Lindsey Hill property began serving San Marcos as its first learning institution. Development soon surrounded this community jewel, driving the growth necessary to make San Marcos a viable place to lay down roots.
The Coronal Institute
In 1868, when Colonel Orlando Hollingsworth, a visionary 32-year old former Confederate officer, built and founded the Coronal Institute at the top of this magnificent site, he understood that he was building more than just a school. Hollingsworth was building a community institution that served as both symbol and calling card for this young, ambitious city. It put San Marcos on the map as a bold, forward thinking community that—through education—intended to play a leadership role in the growth and development of this frontier state.
It took a few years for Colonel Hollingsworth’s plan to gain traction, but in the hands of Reverend R.H. Belvin (and later, in the hands of the Methodist Church, to whom Belvin later sold the school), Hollingsworth’s vision was fully realized. Students from all parts of Texas and beyond came to San Marcos to acquire the knowledge and skills they needed to build this young, confident, dynamic state. The Coronal Institute was widely known and admired, as was San Marcos.
After many years of successful operation, faced with an aging physical plant and the challenges of a country at war, the Coronal Institute ceased operation in 1917. The site and buildings, however, were quickly redeployed as military barracks and training grounds for America’s effort in World War I.
Role of Coronal
From the earliest days of its founding, the Coronal Institute served the city as nexus and focal point for community life. It is not by accident that the city’s much-admired historic neighborhoods grew up around the Coronal School campus. The city’s leading citizens felt the gravitational pull of the city’s most distinguished cultural and social gathering point, and wanted to be as close as possible to the center of action.
San Marcos High School
Following its use as a military training compound during World War I, the Coronal Institute was repurposed and used as apartments. In the late 1920’s, the property was purchased by the city’s growing school district. By 1949, out of capacity in its existing facilities, the San Marcos School District razed the remaining Coronal Institute structures and built a modern, state-of-the art high school at the site. Once again, the site resumed its role as a busy hub for community life.
For over 65 years, the Lamar School campus was used by the San Marcos Independent School District for a variety of educational and back-office needs.
In 1955, while other school districts struggled with how to handle school integration, the San Marcos School Board acted swiftly and with conviction “to do what’s right.” In a proud and decisive moment for the community--and guided by Tex Hughson and other of the city’s leading citizens--San Marcos became one of the first cities in Texas to integrate its schools. That moment of leadership reflected key elements of the City’s DNA: vision, a willingness to embrace change, and a fierce commitment to building for the future.