Dallas, Texas--The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Baylor University share a rich history. More than a century and a half ago the two began as one college for men and women in Independence, Texas. In 1866, the school split into separate colleges for female and male students, and twenty years later the colleges moved to new campuses in Belton and Waco. Last week the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board voted to transfer ownership of Old Baylor Park, the original site of the schools in Independence, to UMHB and Baylor.
The property was first transferred to the BGCT by Baylor in 1965. Since then both UMHB and Baylor have held programs for students on the grounds and have expressed interested in improving the property by restoring some of the original structure and upgrading existing walking paths and restrooms. Both universities propose using the park to teach students history and the role of Texas Baptists in shaping the culture of the state.
UMHB and Baylor requested the property to maintain and improve the Academy Hill site in Independence. The transfer does not include property or buildings on the nearby site of historic Independence Baptist Church or the Texas Baptist Historical Center/Museum. The terms of the transfer state that if either university wanted to sell the property, the BGCT holds the right of first refusal and could purchase the property for one dollar.