Heritage, Volume 12, Number 2, Spring 1994 Page: 20
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Foundation Presents 1994 Preservation Awards in San Angelo
THF President John Meadows recognizes J.P. Bryan,
right, with the Judge James E. Wheat Award.
Norman Dehmlow, right, receives the John Ben
Shepperd Jr. Award.
Ann Lawrence looks on as her husband Lee accepts
the Mary Moody Northen Award.
< X a it 's1 Aa
Jaq Jaquier, representing the Texas Archeological
Society, receives the Deolece Parmelee Award.
The Texas Historical Foundation recognized
four persons/organizations who
have made significant contributions to
Texas history and preservation at an awards
banquet in San Angelo on April 30.
* Judge James E. Wheat Award
J.P. Bryan, Houston, for his renovation
of the Gage Hotel in Marathon
In 1978, when they bought the rundown
Gage Hotel in Marathon, a small
Trans Pecos town of under 800, many friends
of J.P. and Mary Jon Bryan thought that
their plans for renovating it were "just for
fun". When, three years later, they re-opened
it as a 17-room hotel, the ugly linoleum and
painted wood were gone, and in their place
were elegant woods, saltillo tile, leather,
and antiques. It looked like the cow man's
hotel that Albert Gage must have envisioned
when he built the structure in 1927.
The popularity of the restored Gage
Hotel began to rejuvenate Marathon. Others
in town began to buy and restore
buildings and new businesses moved to
Marathon -- inspired by the vision of J.P.
Bryan. In 10 short years, the Gage Hotel
has become a destination that now draws
people from all across Texas, the U.S., and
even Europe. Presently, in addition to the
Gage, the Bryans now own seven historic
buildings in Marathon; they are in the
process of restoring the Willie Green House
and have plans for a combination meeting
and arts and crafts center.
In 1992, the Bryans masterminded a
separate but adjacent addition to the Gage
of 20 rooms, called Los Portales. Staying
there transports visitors in time to a hacienda
across the river in northern New
Mexico before the revolution. Between
the two hotels, a larger restaurant is planned
in the near future.
Although J.P. Bryan, a descendent of
Texas founder Moses Austin, has made
many other significant contributions in
the field of preservation as collector of
Texana, writer, originator of the TEXAS
HERITAGE magazine, and as past presi
dent of the Texas Historical Foundation
and the Texas State Historical Association,
it was his restoration efforts at the
Gage Hotel, which fostered a revitalization
of the town of Marathon, that won him the
1994 Judge James E. Wheat Award. The
award, named for the first president of the
Texas State Survey Committee and the
Texas Historical Foundation, recognizes a
business for outstanding contributions to
the preservation of Texas history.
* John Ben Shepperd Jr. Award
Norman J. Dehmlow, Marathon, for exemplary
craftsmanship on restorations of historic
buildings in West Texas
When J.P. and Mary Jon Bryan decided
to build Los Portales in Marathon, they
engaged the services of Randall Walton, an
architect from Albuquerque, New Mexico,
to design and construct an authentic adobewalled
facility across the street from the
original Gage Hotel. Walton employed
Norman J. Dehmlow to come to Marathon
to perform the extensive masonry work
required in this project, including the formidable
task of making and laying the
adobe brick. Dehmlow, a native of Illinois,
has spent the last 30 years in the construction
trade. In the course of the Marathon
project, which lasted more than a year, he
was engaged in the making and laying of
approximately 85,000 adobe bricks. They
were made on site, each weighing about 30
pounds, using the native material and sunbaked
in the authentic style of the Mexicans.
A great deal of experimenting was
required before the proper mix of local
materials was obtained to make the adobe.
Dehmlow then supervised and laid all of
the handmade bricks used in the construction
of the Los Portales quarters, containing
eight or nine thousand square feet of
room space. He also laid approximately
20,000 bricks for the patios and 2,000 square
feet of flagstone paving, some of which was
quarried from the site.
Additionally, he did masonry work on
the old Gage Hotel, including the con
20 HERITAGE * SPRING 1994
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 2, Spring 1994, periodical, Spring 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45413/m1/20/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.