The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

about the era's buildings and the architects who designed them, and he has cata-
logued and described most of the important landmarks of the period.
But while Henry explores much new territory, he never quite delivers what the
book jacket promises: "a social history of Texas architecture." Although the book
makes occasional passing mentions of historical and social changes in the state
during the early twentieth century, most of the text amounts to little more than
a listing of styles and buildings. Henry's thesis is that Texas architecture repre-
sents "a large cross section of America in microcosm" (p. 1), a notion that is no
doubt correct in the broadest sense but does little to illuminate the forces and
ideas that combined to create the diverse architectural landscape of the era. Par-
ticularly relevant in this regard would be discussions of the effects of urbaniza-
tion on building, of the changing nature of the state's population, and of the
introduction of new construction methods, as well as of the radical transforma-
tion that took place within the architectural profession itself.
The book is richly illustrated with nearly four hundred black-and-white pho-
tographs, most of them taken by Henry himself. While the images are generally
of high quality, it is unfortunate that Henry did not make use of archival pho-
tographs in cases in which the buildings have been significantly altered; in a
number of instances it is difficult to visualize what the architects' intentions
were, and an early photograph, even a poor one, might have yielded a better
sense of the original design. The book might also have benefitted from the in-
clusion of some original drawings, which would not only have been interesting
visually, but would also have helped to document the profound changes taking
place within the profession.
Henry, I suspect, will agree with many of these criticisms. As he himself points
out in the introduction, this work is only a first attempt to come to terms with
the state's rich architectural legacy during those years. Hopefully the book will
inspire others to take a closer look at this lively and interesting period.
Dugout to Deco: Building in West Texas, 1880-z93o. By Elizabeth Skidmore Sasser.
(Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1993. Pp. xxi+188. Illustrations,
foreword, introduction to the author, preface, acknowledgments, endnotes,
bibliography, glossary, index. ISBN o-89672-324-0. $45.00.)
Elizabeth Skidmore Sasser describes Dugout to Deco as "a book in praise of West
Texas, its people, and the buildings in which they lived, played, worked and wor-
shipped" (p. xviii). This book beautifully depicts the architectural heritage of
West Texas, ranging from early dugout and box-and-strip houses to more sub-
stantial stone and wooden ranch houses and into the more urbane structures of
the twentieth century. Sasser does not focus exclusively on houses, however, dis-
cussing as well courthouses, jails, hotels, movie theaters, gas stations, churches,
schools, and colleges.
Sasser has logged thousands of miles from Fort Worth to El Paso and from
Dalhart to Del Rio, documenting the architecture of the region. In addition, she



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed July 4, 2015.