The school we now know as the University of North Texas was founded in 1890 as the Texas Normal College and Teachers Training Institute, a private, nonsectarian, coeducational teachers college. (A “normal school” is an antiquated name for a school that trains teachers.) The first class had 80 students, including 28 members of the Creek (Muscogee) Nation in present-day Oklahoma. Classes were held in rented rooms above B. J. Wilson Hardware Store on the northwest corner (Oak and Elm) of the Denton Square (the current location of Ethan Allen). Among the courses of study open to students in 1890 were teacher training, science, business, classical, elocution and literature, conservatory music, fine arts, and surveying. A full year’s tuition was $48.00.
The College became a state institution in 1899 under the new name North Texas State Normal College. In 1949, when the curriculum was expanded, North Texas officially moved away from solely being defined as a teacher’s college with the new name North Texas State College.