SAN MARCOS, Texas -- A century-old fish hatchery building in San Marcos was heavily damaged by a fire Sunday night.
San Marcos Fire Department was dispatched shortly before 10 p.m. to the Old Fish Hatchery Community Building in San Marcos at San Marcos Plaza Park.
Firefighters said the fire damaged the back stairs and porch of the building. The building suffered major damage to the exterior, and smoke and water damage inside.
The Old Fish Hatchery Community Building is part of the park system and is popular for public and private events and meetings. The building will be out of service until repairs can be made.
The building originally served as the headquarters for the first fish hatchery in the U.S. located south and west of the Mississippi River. The fish culture station, owned by the federal government, opened in 1896 on 25 acres near the head of the San Marcos River at the foot of Chautauqua Hill.
At the suggestion of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the property was deeded to Texas State University (then Southwest Texas State University) in 1965 where it became the administration building for the Aquatic Biological Center.
In 1981 the university’s Board of Regents approved plans to build a new aquatic biology center at the university and donated the building to the City of San Marcos. It was moved to its present location in November 1981.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.