Adamson University A Historic Site

Date Posted: June 2, 2008 at 01:56 AM

by Raul Agner


The National Historical Institute formally declared the whole of Adamson University a Historic Site last February 8, 2007 during the weeklong celebration of the School's Diamond Jubilee. Mr. Ludovico Badoy, Executive Director of the National Historical Institute, and Fr. Gregorio L. Bañaga, Jr., C.M., President of Adamson University, led the ceremonial unveiling of the official marker at the portico of St. Vincent building along San Marcelino St., Ermita, Manila. Special guests, alumni, school administrators, faculty, employees, and students attended the affair.

Adamson University started as the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry (ASIC) on June 20, 1932 in Sta. Cruz, Manila, becoming a university only on February 5, 1941.


A Greek national, George Lucas Adamson, put up the School to teach Filipinos the uses of industrial chemistry in making household products like soap, vinegar, salt, etc. He also wanted to help the country tap its vast raw materials. His cousins, the brothers Alexander Athos Adamson and George Athos Adamson, came over later to help him run the School. In 1933, ASIC moved to Gen. Solano St., San Miguel, Manila. On October 1, 1939, the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry and Engineering (ASICE) moved to a bigger place in Intramuros. On January 3, 1942, the Japanese forces commandeered it for being an alien enemy property.


Unfazed by the war-time total destruction of their university, the Adamsons reopened it on June 20, 1946 at the St. Vincent building along San Marcelino Street. This three-story neoclassical structure was owned by the Congregation of the Mission or the Vincentians. To the right of the SV is the Estero de Balete where ten Vincentian priests and brothers, a seminarian, and an acolyte were bayoneted, machine-gunned, and dumped into the muddy waters by the Japanese during the war.


The meeting of the Adamsons and the Vincentians would lead to negotiations in early 1963 that ended in the eventual turnover of the University to the latter in 1964. In 1968, Adamson University acquired the Meralco building whose wide backyard used to be the depot of the tranvia, Manila's prewar street railway system operated by Meralco that serviced major thoroughfares like Avenida and Escolta. In 1974, the School also acquired a lot owned by Tabacalera where the Engineering building now stands and in 1977, the whole St. Theresa's College-Manila campus became part of the University.


Being declared a historic site means Adamson University is now in the same league as its historic neighbors: the Hospicio de San Jose, Sta. Isabel College, the Philippine Normal University, the Casino Español, the Luneta, and the National Museum, Department of Tourism and Manila City Hall buildings.

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