Heritage, Volume 12, Number 4, Fall 1994 Page: 14
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The Ancient Art of Adobe
By Gene Krane
Photographs By James H. Evans
More than 85,000 adobe bricks, made by hand and sun-dried in the
authentic style of the Mexicans, were required during the construction
of the Los Portales addition to the Gage Hotel in Marathon.
Overseeing the massive project was master mason Norman J. Dehmlow.
* Norman J. Dehmlow, Mason
* Winner of the John Ben Shepperd Jr. Craftsmanship Award recognizing
exemplary craftsmanship for historical restoration projects
n the tradition of many fine
craftsmen, NormanJ. Dehmlow learned
the fine art of the masonry and carpentry
trades from a neighbor who was in the
contracting business near his family
home in rural Algonquin, Illinois.
That was almost 30 years ago, and
this April in San Angelo, Dehmlow, a
master mason was honored for the outstanding
masonry work that he performed
and supervised during the construction
of the Los Portales addition
to the Gage Hotel in the tiny town of
Marathon, located in the Big Bend area of
Texas. For his attention to detail and contribution
to West Texas architecture,
Dehmlow was named the winner of the
John Ben Shepperd Jr. Craftsmanship
Award by the Texas Historical Foundation.
When Randall Walton, the architect
from Albuquerque who was hired by J.P.
Bryan to design the plans for the Los Portales
addition to the Gage Hotel, began the
construction project, he asked Dehmlow
to join him as the mason for the project. He
realized that the job, which in the end
would use more than 85,000 adobe bricks
and take approximately two years to complete,
would require the skills of a master
craftsman. Dehmlow and Walton had
worked together on several New Mexico
construction projects, and they joined forces
again on the Gage Hotel addition, a project
that would add significantly to the historical
and architectural integrity of Brewster
Working with a crew of experienced
and novice workers, Dehmlow was
14 HERITAGE * FALL 1994
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 4, Fall 1994, periodical, Autumn 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45414/m1/14/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.