A Look Back
Oasis in a Red Brick Desert
By Cameron Barbier, B.B.A. ’15
For many years, a building at the corner of 5th Street and Speight Avenue was home to memories for generations of Baylor students. In a time when the perimeter of campus was vastly different than today’s boundaries between University Parks and 8th Street, a place near campus offered levity and respite from Baylor’s diligent studies and rigorous coursework.
Barnett’s Pharmacy opened in 1926 and eventually came to be known as Baylor Drug. The store became a favorite gathering place for students by embracing the Baylor spirit and traditions and displaying portraits of Homecoming nominees and courts. For a time, it was the only air-conditioned building near campus.
Rodger Edens, B.B.A. ’40, operated the store for more than three decades until selling the business in 1981. He was the unofficial president and vice president of the University of Texas Haters Club, which called his store home.
The store had a number of distinguishing features, including three massive Coca-Cola signs out front and prices that backed-up one of the store’s advertising slogans of “cheaper than anywhere in the United States.” That claim wasn’t a gimmick, either; Eden took note of the increasing costs of education in 1965 and made a point of cutting prices in an effort to help financially pressed students.
Students would make the short run from Carroll Library to Baylor Drug to have a study break at the soda fountain. They stepped across the sidewalk outside the front door engraved with the words “Beat Texas” into a casual and communal Baylor-oriented atmosphere.
This chapter of University history came to a close in February 1981 when Baylor Drug closed its doors after more than 50 years. The intersection was altered, eventually making way for what today is the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.
Years later, Baylor students still gather and bond over the same topics: sports, faith, romance, schoolwork, and their hopes and dreams for the future. Whether at the Bill Daniel Student Center or one of several coffee shops on and near campus, Baylor spirit is alive and well today. Buildings change and the campus grows, but memories of the Baylor of yesteryear will live for as long as the stars shall shine.