Salado College Park is the location of the ruins and grounds of Salado College. Plaques throughout the park tell the story of the College built here in 1859 by visionaries who established a facility for students from elementary grades through two years of college based on the then unheard of belief that both men and women deserve equal access to higher education in a nondenominational setting.
Salado College and Salado were founded at the same time in October of 1859. Elijah Sterling Clack Robertson donated one hundred acres: ten for the school and ninety to raise money for the school building.
Salado College tuition was $2.00 to $5.00 a month. The school taught elementary grades through college level courses. Even though it was called a college, it provided education for people of all ages. This was before the age of public education and school like Salado College educated Texans. In 1865, the enrollment was 307. This was one of the highest enrollments that Salado College would see.
In 1890, Dr. Samuel J. Jones organized Thomas Arnold High School. In 1901, Thomas Arnold High School burned. It was rebuilt that year but was burned again. Arson was and still is suspected by many townspeople, but nothing was ever proven. It was open for 28 years and was closed in 1918. The building was then used as a public school from 1919 to 1924.
The building burned a third time in 1924.
It now exists in a state of stabilized ruin. This means that the ruins of Salado College have been stabilized and restored up to a certain point. This was mainly done for safety concerns. There is no current plan to restore the ruins any further.