The house is located on land that was once part of a western frontier cavalry fort, Fort Davis (circa 1854- 1861 and 1867-1881). After the fort was abandoned, the government put the land up for public sale. The land on which this house rests, designated the Abandoned Military Reservation, was sold in 1911 as Lots 5, 6 & 7, 14, 15 & 16 of block one totaling 56 1/2 acres. The government did not inventory structures on that land so it is not clear if any structures were on the land at that time. From 1921 thru 1950 the land with the house was intact. Local citizens confirm the property was used as an orchard and vegetable farm to supply the area. By 1977 the land area was reduced to 14.95 acres and by 1997 to the current 1.10 acres.
The house is constructed of adobe, which was the building material of choice in the desert area from the 19th century to the mid 20th century (warm in the winter-cool in the summer). As was typical with adobe structures, the original structure appears to have grown from 3 adobe rooms to 6 rooms by 1977. After 1977, a pantry was added off the kitchen, the south porch was extended out and enclosed to form a sun room with adjacent bath and laundry room, and a stone and window porch along the north side of the house. The exact sequence of the additions will be more evident upon further study during restoration.
The house adobe walls are a solid 18″ thick and intact. Rooms 2-4 have the original floors and room 2-5 original wood tongue & groove 9foot ceilings. Room 6 has an adobe addition and a 2nd bath was added but removed along with the floor for renovation. Room 7 was a porch extended out to make a sun room. Room 8 was restored to form a bath and laundry room. Room 9 is the only stud wall addition and was used as a kitchen pantry. The original wood shingle roof was replaced with metal in 2007. New natural gas and town water and sewer lines were connected in 2008. New underground electrical service was added in 2018 and the electrical service within the house upgraded. The existing water well was re-drilled to a depth of 120 ft in 2020. This increased water production from 2 to 30 gallons/minute. A 3 bedroom capacity septic system was added in 2021 to alleviate the elevation challenges of the existing lines and provide more options for additional waste lines. If solar panels were added, the house could operate totally off of the grid.
The lot is landscaped with mature native vegetation …3 very large pinyon pines at the entrance, an alligator juniper in front of the shop, a one seeded cedar, a cenizo bush, an acanthus and a desert willow all next to the carport. NE of the front of the house is a young velvet ash tree. In back by the well, a hackberry and pecan tree and native yucca and prickly pear decorate the water tank and well along with native grasses and a variety of desert native annual flowers in the summer.
The house is located in the town of Fort Davis near the end of a private, no exit street. The house is within walking distance (1-2 blocks) of the post office, grocery store, the elementary school, main street businesses and Fort Davis National Historic Site. The Fort maintains hiking trails that connect to trails in the Davis Mountain State Park so you can walk out the front door and hike for hours in the Davis Mountains. Other nearby natural sites are the McDonald Observatory, the Nature Conservancy’s Davis Mountain Preserve, and the Chihuahuan Desert Research Center. The unincorporated town of Fort Davis is in Jeff Davis County at an elevation of 5000 feet at the foot of the Davis Mountains. Along with the beautiful open desert and mountain terrain, there are clear skies, clean air and a peaceful, quiet, atmosphere which invites you to enjoy the beauty of the nature surrounding you.
Updated on February 14, 2023 at 9:43 pm