Why Is Texas Called The 40 Acres?

By Antonia Čirjak on May 26 2020 in Society

The state of Texas itself is not called the 40 acres, however the University of Texas in Austin is often nicknamed that.Image credit: Inspired By Maps / Shutterstock.com
  • People started using an acre as a measurement unit in the Middle Ages, and it was defined as the amount of land that could be ploughed in a single day by one man and an ox.
  • The Forty Acres Fest is a festival that is held at the University of Texas campus each year in spring.
  • The scholarships that are given out by the University of Texas are called the Forty Acres Scholarships.

The state of Texas itself is not called the 40 acres, however, the University of Texas in Austin is often nicknamed that. What is the reason for this nickname? Read on and find out. This nickname was used for the University of Texas because that was the size of the original area that the state set aside for the campus.

Together with the College Hill that was placed in the center, those 40 acres formed a square. Today the square still exists, and it is surrounded by 21st Street, Guadalupe Street, Speedway, and 25th Street. The Tower sits at the top of College Hill.

The Importance Of the 40 Acres

This square, which is 40 acres in size, is a quarter of a mile long on each side. If you were to walk the perimeter of the original location of the campus, you would walk exactly a mile. This nickname is an important part of the identity and culture of this campus. There is a festival being held at the campus each spring called the Forty Acres Fest. This festival features a large number of student organizations. There are multiple ways you can have fun there while enjoying music, games, and various foods.

The most prestigious scholarships of the University of Texas are called the Forty Acres Scholarships, and they are sponsored by the various other schools and colleges in Texas, as well as the alumni association of the university itself. Another way that shows how important this nickname is for the identity of the University of Texas is the fact that the bus that was circling the campus used to be called “the 40”. 

The University Of Texas Today

Today, things are a bit different. The main campus of the University of Texas comprises 431 acres, and its perimeter is over 4 miles long. This is just the main campus, however. The university has other campuses used for various research, and these are often bigger than the main campus. The J.J. Pickle Research Campus in North Austin comprises 475 acres, while several others are close in size.

The facilities of this university go far beyond Austin as well. There are plenty of other places that are tremendously big, which can be considered to be an important part of the University of Texas. The university has grown immensely throughout the years; however, the 40 Acres nickname still holds strong. It gives off a sense of pride to the students, making them feel like they belong to something much more than just a regular university.

The 40 acres have increased to thousands of acres, but one thing increases with them as well, and that is the pride of the students and employees of this university. They are involved in one of the most legendary facilities in the United States, that continues to operate stronger than ever. However, it managed to stay true to its roots and not forget them, proudly displaying the name it was known for many years ago. That is something everyone should admire.

More in Society