Exhibit at UTMB spotlights state’s oldest medical building
The oldest surviving medical school building west of the Mississippi River is the focus of a special exhibition at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
The Moody Medical Library at UTMB is celebrating a very special anniversary of the building affectionately known as Old Red, which housed the original University of Texas medical department that eventually became UTMB. In fact, the building served as the only classroom and laboratory space for the university until 1922.
Old Red: 120 Years and Counting” chronicles the history of the 1891 Ashbel Smith Building, including its design, construction, years of service and survival.
Designed by Nicholas Clayton, Galveston’s most famous 19th-century architect, the original medical school building received its nickname Old Red from its construction of red Cedar-Bayou pressed brick. Its designation as the Ashbel Smith Building honors Dr. Ashbel Smith, a prominent Texas physician whose tireless efforts led eventually to the permanent placement of The University of Texas medical department in Galveston.
Old Red survived the 1900 Storm, a fire in the 1950s and near demolition in the 1960s. After a complete restoration in 1986, Old Red was reopened and once again used as laboratory, classroom and office space.
On Sept. 13, 2008, the building sustained damage from water forced onto the island by Hurricane Ike, and the building is being renovated.
“Old Red: 120 Years and Counting” will remain on display in the library until the end of September. It may be viewed during regular hours: 7 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday; and noon to 11 p.m., Sunday. The library is located on the UTMB campus at the corner of Ninth and Market streets in Galveston.
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