Vanishing Texas Vernacular Architecture

Archive for February, 2011


Pyote Schoolhouse

Pyote, Texas (originally Pyote Tank) was established as a telegraph office by the Texas and Pacific Railway Co. in 1881.  It was said that the name came from the Chinese laborer’s mispronunciation of the word coyote.  When oil was discovered in the nearby Hendrick oilfield in 1926 the population soared to over 3,000 and established Pyote as an economic center.  In 1942 Pyote Air Force Station was built to train bomber crews for World War II.  After the War, the base became one of the places where military aircraft were mothballed and demolished.  Among the notable airplanes stored there was the Enola Gay before it was rescued by the Smithsonian Institution.

According to Donnita Barber (Director, Ward County Archives) the town of Pyote built this school (above) in 1928 to replace one that had burned down in 1919.  The Pyote was known for its tennis program, which produced 17 state championships and provided college scholarships for numerous students.

Read more about Pyote in The Handbook of Texas Online and at the Texas Escapes website.

Peyton Colony School

Peyton Colony Schoolhouse

Peyton Colony was established as a “freedman’s community” in the mid-1860s by Peyton Roberts an ex-slave.  Freed slaves came from throughout the South to form a unique community in Central Texas.   In the early-1870s, the first church was built there as well as a log cabin school.  The old schoolhouse (right) - building date unknown - was the first black school in Blanco County.  The community of Peyton Colony no longer exists, but the Mt. Horab Baptist Church stands a few hundred feet from the old schoolhouse and appears to be active.

The weathered wood siding, rusting metal roof, missing windows, and sagging floor are sad reminders that this building’s better days are behind it.  Inside are a few remnants of hand-built desks, and a scattering of more modern furnishings.  For more images of  the Peyton Colony School click here.

Peyton Colony, now Peyton, is located east of Blanco, Texas west of the junction of Ranch Road 165 and County Road 409.  More information may be found at the Handbook of Texas Online and Texas Escapes.

A Mystery Near Langtry

Guy's in Langtry

This is the building that started my quest to find Lost, Texas.  I was returning to Austin from  a photo shoot in Big Bend State Park on US Hwy. 90 when I passed the turn-off to Langtry.  There was a lag of about three seconds before my brain recognized the cool buildings and compelled me to slow down and turn around.  What I found was a group of three buildings in various states of disrepair.  All were were wood-framed, faced with either wood siding or stucco.  The roofing had, for the most part, disappeared leaving rafters and lathing, which created wonderful patterns of light on the interiors.  And each of the buildings had faded signs on them that hinted at their former lives.  Given their proximity to the tourist attraction of Langtry, I wondered if they had supported the tourist trade earlier in their lives.  The signs on the building certainly suggest so.

See more photos from Langtry here.  The buildings are located at the intersection of US Hwy. 90 and SI 25 about one-half mile west of the Pecos River bridge.


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