The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995 Page: 153
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has made good use of the impressive collection of buildings at the Ranching
Heritage Center at Texas Tech. Sasser has also mined numerous memoirs, bi-
ographies, and local histories to provide context for the buildings-how they
were used in everyday life.
The result is a gorgeous book, a real pleasure to look at. The 171 photographs
in color and black-and-white, taken by the author and her husband, Thomas
Sasser, capture the many variants of West Texas light and the form and detail of
its built environment. Among the finest are the photographs of a half-dugout
originally on the Matador Ranch and those of the Eddleman-McFarland House,
a late-Victorian extravaganza by Fort Worth architect Howard Messer.
It must be said that the time frame of the book, i880 to 1930, seems a little
forced. Sasser chose these dates to emphasize the dramatic changes which took
place in those five decades. She treats us, however, to a number of quite splen-
did buildings built both earlier and later: the Gothic Revival Berry House in
Stephenville, the Territorial Style Magoffin House in El Paso, and several Art De-
co buildings from the 1930s.
By the same token, one is forced to wonder where West Texas ends and South
Texas begins. Do buildings in Laredo and Del Rio belong in a book which is
based on the Staked Plains? To be sure, El Paso is as west as Texas can get, but its
strong Hispanic heritage links it more closely to South Texas. Yet Sasser does not
discuss El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley until chapter six, after she has carried
the main stream of the story up to 1920.
Notably missing from Dugout to Deco are floor plans and interior views. Sasser
explains in the preface that the book is not "a conventional history of architec-
ture stressing . .. plans and cross sections," and that "interiors have been left un-
explored. Spaces for living and the furniture cherished within them are too
important to be squeezed into a few paragraphs" (p. xviii). Unfortunately, interi-
ors are also too important to be ignored in a serious book on architecture. Floor
plans and interior views can provide critical evidence as to how people arranged
their lives. Half of architecture, after all, consists of the spaces inside.
Obviously, Dugout to Deco is not the last word on the architecture of West
Texas, nor was it meant to be. But it does contain much that is valuable, and the
exquisite photographs alone should stimulate more research into the subject.
Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts KENNETH HAFERTEPE
Decorating Texas: Decorative Pazntzng in the Lone Star State from the 185os to the
1950s. By Buie Harwood. (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press,
1993. Pp. xi+1 17. Acknowledgments, preface, appendices, bibliography. IS-
BN 0-87565-113-5. $60.00, cloth. ISBN 0-87565-114-3. $29.95, paper.)
In this profusely illustrated and highly informative work, Buie Harwood has
documented an aspect of Texas life that the state's residents often take for grant-
ed. This initial scholarly effort to survey Texas decorative painting brings togeth-
er a staggering amount of detail concerning the painted images that adorn the
walls of dozens of the state's residences, churches, and public buildings.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995, periodical, 1995; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/m1/181/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.