The history of ACC Highland is coming to life. ACC installed a new wall mural honoring the historical significance of this land in Central Texas. 

Installation in the Highland paseo began Tuesday, March 1, and was completed Friday, March 4. The installation is 57 feet wide by 12 feet high.

The historical marker tells the story of the site and how it has been used over the years from its days as an orphanage and school to its transition as Austin’s first shopping mall, and now as home of ACC Highland and a mixed-use community.

Highland Property History

Each panel of the mural delves into elements of this rich history beginning with the development of the St. John Regular Missionary Baptist Association. This historically African American Baptist congregation purchased 306 acres of land to establish an orphan home and school in 1909. During its peak, the site served 15,000 people and hosted guest lecturers including Booker T. Washington. 

During the Great Depression, the school declined and eventually closed in 1942. In 1956, the main building was destroyed by a mysterious fire. The land was sold to developers and became the Highland Mall in 1971. 

By the early 2000s, Highland Mall began to steadily lose tenants, including all of its anchor department stores. In 2010,  ACC began to purchase portions of the property, and by 2012, it owned the entire site including the mall buildings and its surrounding parking lots. Today, the site is home to the college’s most advanced campus and a vibrant mixed-use community where people can live, work, and play.

The historical mural was designed and created in partnership with BGK Architects and Perkins + Will.

See photos from the history wall installation below.