Big Bend Conservancy
2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!
Project Title: Dorgan and Sublet House HABS Project, Big Bend National Park Researcher(s): Joseph Bilello, Elizabeth Louden, and Ben Shacklette Funding Source and Amount: Big Bend National Park Foundation $10,000 Project Dates: October 1, 1999 - continuing Project Description: The Dorgan House is situated on a high terrace above the Rio Grande flood plain four miles west of Castolon on the Santa Elena Canyon Road. Exact dates of construction are unknown but it was built to resident Albert Dorgan’s specifications between 1920 and 1930. The Dorgan House is a one-story adobe construction that was plastered on both the interior and exterior walls with lime-based stucco. Floor and foundations are concrete. Jambs and lintels of the fenestration are of hand-hewn logs, with mortised joints being saw-cut. The living room is the most conspicuous in plan. In the center of the room is a huge fireplace constructed with sections of petrified wood logs with their long axes placed vertically and laid in cement mortar. This was the strongest feature in the house and supported the center of the roof. Four cottonwood logs were placed with one end supported on the fireplace and the other end supported at each corner of the large room where additional adobe reinforced the corners. Secondary, smaller poles extended from walls to the main beams. The entire roof system is missing from this ruin. There were four rooms: a kitchen (ca. 100 square feet), bath (ca. 50 square feet), bedroom (ca 130 square feet), and central living room (ca 900 square feet), plus a porch at the southeast side. Erosion and wall collapse have left only the northwest elevation of the living room relatively intact. The exterior walls of the kitchen and bath on the northeast side stand to approximately one third their original heights. The exterior walls of the bedroom on the southeast side stand less than one quarter of their original heights.The Sublett Stone Farm House is located on a low terrace slightly above the Rio Grande flood plain about 100 feet north of Park Route 16. The building is of random rubble stone masonry with mud mortar. Masonry is of angular blocks of local stone laid with a series of leveling courses about every two feet. The building has two rooms of equal size (ca 250 square feet each), separated by “dog trot” breezeway. The two walls defining the breezeway are adobe on the lower half and stone above. Fenestration consists of simple door and window openings with dimensional lumber sills. Headers and jambs are missing from all openings. Wall height is uniformly about eight feet. The building has no roof.
All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.