In the January 2016 issue, Gene Fowler writes about historic adobe structures in West and South Texas, from the magical Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park to exquisite Quinta Mazatlan, a World Birding Center site in the Rio Grande Valley.
Here are a few more of Gene’s favorite adobes.
Big Bend National Park. The Castolon Historic District in the Big Bend contains the park’s oldest adobe, the Alvino House, built in 1901. The structure was stabilized and restored by master adobe masons from Santa Elena, Chihuahua, Mexico, in the 1980s or 1990s.
Borger. The Hutchinson County Public Library was built by the WPA in 1936 in a Pueblo Revival architectural style.
Del Rio. The Paula Losoya House, at Hudson and Nicholson Streets, is the oldest house in Del Rio. It was built in the 1870s for James H. Taylor, a co-founder of the city, and his wife Paula Losoya.
Fort Stockton. The Grey Mule Saloon was built in the 1880s and once housed a bookstore. Today, it welcomes refined imbibers as the tasting room of the Ste. Genevieve Winery. East of town on I-10, the Winfield Airport (a.k.a. Win Field) has an abandoned adobe hangar.
Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site. Silverio Escontrias built a four-room adobe house at the site around 1900, which today houses the park’s interpretive center. The ruins of an 1858 stone and adobe Butterfield Stage station can also be seen at the park.
Morton. C. C. Slaughter imported Mexican artisans to build his adobe ranch headquarters in 1915. The public may visit the two long adobe barracks and two other adobe structures. For information, call 806/891-1717.
Ruidosa. We’re all for the restoration of historic structures, but sometimes a ruin or a stabilized ruin, like the Sacred Heart Church in this tiny village on the Rio Grande, can be distinctly compelling.
San Antonio. Built between 1840 and 1860, the Yturri-Edmunds Historic Site is said to be one of the few remaining adobe block houses in the city, constructed with adobe bricks mixed with goat hair. The site is currently closed for restoration. The north wall of the Spanish Governors Palace, on Military Plaza, is adobe, and a portion of the wall is unplastered and covered with plexiglass so that visitors may see the adobe.
San Elizario Historic District. In addition to the San Elizario presidio chapel and the Los Portales Museum and Information Center, the district’s many historic adobes include the Old El Paso County Jail Museum, housed in the only jail that Billy the Kid ever broke into (to break out a friend).
Sierra Blanca. The 1922 Hudspeth County Courthouse is the only adobe courthouse still in use in the state. The courthouse walls are 18 inches thick.
Socorro. Casa Ortiz is said to have been built in the late 1700s by Father Ramon Ortiz. The hacienda was reportedly owned in the 1840s by comanchero and cart freighter Jose Ortiz. Until recently, it housed The Bookery (I bought a book on Apache medicine men there in the 1990s), and today the structure awaits its next incarnation.
Tascosa. Along with the local Boot Hill cemetery, Old Tascosa’s one-room adobe Oldham County schoolhouse, built in the 1880s, is today on the campus of Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. Call 800/687-3722.
Toyahvale. Calera Chapel was restored by area residents in 2003.
Vernon. Doan’s Store, built sometime between 1879 and 1881 to serve cowboys going up the Great Western Trail, is located northeast of Vernon off of US 283, at the junction of FM 2916 and FM 294. From US 283, take FM 924 east. An annual May picnic has been held at the site since 1884, said to be the oldest continuously held event in the state.
Ysleta. Ysleta Mission, built in 1851, replaced earlier mission structures that had been built in 1682 and 1744 and washed away by floods.