Houston Building


1700 University Avenue
Map | ID#: 0018


Mar. 2, 1950:
Groundbreaking for Student Union Building

Renamed Music 2

Oct. 1987:
Renamed AB2

Jun. 2009:
Board of Regents approve renaming to MLHB



Margaret Lea Houston

Wirtz, Calhoun & Tungate



The Houston Building (more commonly, the Margaret Lea Houston Building, or MLHB) is a three-story building located at the southeast corner of Sam Houston Avenue and 17th Street.

This structure was built as the university's first Student Union Building (or SUB). The Austin College Building had first been used as a student social center - among other things - around 1919, but as the student population increased there was a push for a larger and seperate building. The 1950 Alcalde notes that as far back as 1947 both current and former students began collecting funds for such a structure [1].

When the union outgrew these premises, and the Lowman Student Center became the modern home for student activities, this building was renamed Music 2 complete with classrooms and performance areas for the Department of Music. Its counterpart, Music 1, makes up the southern half of the Evans Complex.

By the mid-1980s there was a push to have the names of buildings reflect the disciplines taught within them. As music classes were being taught in the newly-constructed Fine Arts Building, this building was given the temporary name Academic Building Two [2]; other buildings affected by this change were AB1 and AB3.

The June 2009 assembly of the Board of Regents approved the renaming of the building to honor Margaret Houston for her "contributions to our state and her family's legacy, and...as one of the most significant women in Texas history. [3]"

Incidentally, the 1988 edition of the Campus Master Plan called for the demolition of AB2. In its place was to be the eastern entry to an underground pedestrian walkway below Sam Houston Avenue; the western entrance was to be on the site of the demolished Jackson-Shaver dorm. According to the document, the planned execution of this was to be in 2007. Nineteen years after that document both buildings still stood on campus.


Houston Building

The ground-level seating area on the southern side of the building has been a welcome area for students for decades.


[1] Alcalde, 1950
[2] Building Names Becoming Generic, Houstonian, Oct. 22, 1987
[3] Regents Approve SHSU Program Changes, Promotions, Tenure, 2009

About the site

The Buildings of Sam Houston State University website documents the physical changes of the SHSU campus in Huntsville from its inception in 1879 through tomorrow. The alumnus-run site details changes to the academic, residential, and historical buildings and other prominent landmarks.