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Constructed in 1968, John A. Guinn Hall is a 24-story residence hall that stands adjacent to Nelda C. Stark Hall at Texas Woman's University. Guinn Hall was the tallest residence hall in the nation until 1969, standing at 271 feet. It is currently the tallest building in Denton, TX.


  • Guinn Hall under construction in 1968 (middle structure). Courtesy of TWU Libraries.
  • Ground view of Guinn Hall (left) and Stark Hall (right). Courtesy of Michael Barera.
  • Size comparison of Guinn Hall (right) compared to Stark Hall (left), 1978. Courtesy of University of North Texas Libraries and Denton Public Library.
  • The 24-story dormitory, Guinn Hall. Courtesy of Texas Woman's University Housing & Dining.

Construction began on John A. Guinn Hall in 1968 at TWU, just one year after the opening of Nelda C. Stark Hall. Dedicated by Governor Preston Smith, Guinn Hall officially opened in the fall of 1969. Following its completion, the tower was the tallest dormitory in the nation at 271 feet. Like Stark Hall, Guinn Hall was designed by Page Southerland Page. The residence hall is named after the president of Texas Woman’s University, Dr. John Alonzo Guinn.

Dr. John A. Guinn served as the 6th president of Texas Woman’s University from 1950 until his death in 1976. During his tenure, Guinn oversaw a period of immense physical and academic expansion at TWU. After the successful construction of Stark Hall, the Board of Regents approved the construction of another high rise dormitory. The board made the decision to name the residence hall after John A. Guinn for his support and leadership during the University’s expansion. Prior to the construction of the 24-story building, a modern three story dormitory located along Bell Avenue had already been named after Guinn in 1965. Following the tower’s completion, the previous John A. Guinn Hall changed its name to Reagan-Houston Hall before it was eventually demolished in 2006. 

Guinn Hall’s construction was a continued effort by TWU to accommodate the growing number of women seeking housing and an education. The building originally housed students of all classifications, including a small number of graduate students. In 1967, enrollment was projected to increase by nearly 100% within 12 years at TWU and across the state. However, as the number of commuters and non-traditional students increased in the 1970s, the need for more living space declined. For a short period of time in the 1980s, Guinn Hall was used primarily for conference space. Enrollment for on campus students has since increased, and John A. Guinn Hall now serves as one of the most popular living spaces on campus, housing around 700 undergraduate students.


Thompson, Joyce. Marking a Trail : A History of the Texas Woman's University. Denton, Tex.: Texas Woman's University Press, 1982.

Dickerson, Diana. "New Dorm to Be Named After Dr. John A. Guinn." The Lasso (Denton) November 15, 1964

Frank, Janie Leigh. "TWU Converts Dorms for Conferences." Denton Record Chronicle (Denton) May 11, 1980.

Texas Woman’s University. The Daedalian. Denton, TX: 1969.

Texas Woman’s University. The Daedalian. Denton, TX: 1970.

Photos:

"Guinn Hall", Texas Woman's University. https://twu.edu/housing/housing/guinn-hall/. 

"John A. Guinn Hall dormitory under construction", photograph, Texas Woman's University Libraries, Digital Archives: Woman's Collection.

Guinn Hall (left) and Stark Hall in 2015", photograph, Michael Barera, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinn_Hall.

"Stark and Guinn Hall at TWU", photograph, 1978-04, (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth25392/: accessed May 1, 2019),University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.