When William Henry Gaston rode into Dallas in 1868, he carried $20,000 in gold pieces in his saddlebags. He launched a business career in real estate investments, then got into banking and insurance, propelling him into various leadership roles in every phase of civic and economic life.
Gaston’s first residence was at Ross Avenue and Pearl, where the A.H. Belo Mansion now stands. In the 1870s, Gaston built a lavish home on Swiss Avenue surrounded by a 40-acre estate extending from Worth to Bryan.
The mansion was demolished in 1927 to make room for expansion of the Dallas Theological Seminary. Founded in 1924, the Seminary met in a South Dallas building. As enrollment increased to 25 students in 1926, the school moved to its present location at the corner of Swiss and St. Joseph.
Over the years, the Dallas Theological Seminary has made a positive mark on the City. The school, which includes seven buildings on its main campus, currently boasts an enrollment of 1,600 students. The old YMCA Hotel, located on Haskell between Live Oak and Swiss, now serves as a school dormitory.
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