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Fire at University of Texas’ Little Campus Dormitory, 1962

Gordon Wilkison

Silent | 1962

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TAMI Tags
  •  Students outside of building. 
  •  Fireman attempt to put out the fire.  
  •  Students carry things out of the building. 
  •  Fireman attempt to put out the fire.  
 
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January 17, 1962 - Footage from an Austin based network news affiliate shows the blaze that destroyed The University of Texas' Little Campus Dormitory, later known s the Heman Sweatt Dormitory. Occupants evacuate with their valuables as firefighters grapple with the flames. Built in 1918 to house the School of Military Aeronautics, the building was renovated in 1925 for use as an all-male dormitory. Due to the extent of the fire damage, the university did not repair the dormitory.
Gordon Wilkison began work as a cameraman at the local Austin television station KTBC (now FOX 7) during 1952, its first year of operation.  At the time the station was owned by the Texas Broadcasting Company, which was owned by Senator Lyndon B. and Lady Bird Johnson. This relationship would continue to shape Wilkison's career well into the next decades - during the Johnson administration, Wilkison covered the president's visits to Texas, preparing material for national and international news correspondents. 
 
A particularly notable moment in his career occurred on August 1, 1966, when Wilkison and KTBC reporter Neal Spelce risked their lives to capture footage of the Tower shooting at the University of Texas. 
 
Wilkison was also the General Manager of Photo Processors at the LBJ Broadcasting Corporation, which he later took over and renamed Cenetex Film Labs. In addition to his camera work and film processing, his work at the station also included direction of a number of television film productions.
 
Outside of KTBC, Wilkison shot, edited, and processed Longhorn football game footage for the University of Texas, a partnership that lasted nearly 30 years.    
 
Recognizing the historical value of film and news footage, Wilkison kept the material, later contributing hundreds of reels to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image's collection.