Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987 Page: 38
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projects that had some impact on the
economy of the community. A few structures
are famous, such as the Houston
Astrodome, the Galveston Seawall, and
the San Jacinto Monument. Many are
little known, but readers will recognize
some of their favorite, unrecognized
pieces of the state's built environment.
The bulk of the book is comprised of
103 site descriptions. Each site is described
in terms of its history and is illustrated
with vintage photographs or modem
images by the author. Baker also
includes directions for locating each site
and a list of publications for further
The histories make this an enormously
valuable book. Baker traces each building
from its creation to the present, emphasizing
its role in the community. The sites
are transformed from solid, static edifices
into short stories that tell a bit of Texana.
For example, the San Jacinto Monument,
built as a memorial to the men of the
Texas Revolution, was constructed as a
tribute to the spirit of Texas workers during
the Depression. The largest masonry
monument in the world, the contractor
had to use new and untried construction
methods. Many of the workers were unemployed
laborers, and to keep them in
good spirits while the massive foundation
was laid in a single pour the contractors
served free coffee and sandwiches. In 57
hours 150 men ate 3,800 sandwiches and
drank 5,700 cups of coffee.
Behind every site is a similar tale of
people and events. Not all represent such
grandiose moments in the state's history:
the Victoria "Dutch" Windmill and the
Canon Ranch Eclipse Windmill are important
for being the only survivors of a
common source of power in the nineteenth
century. Some projects were failures,
such as the Humphrey Direct Action
Pumping Plant, and others, like
the dam that broke in Austin, became
Baker includes in many descriptions
some technical details which are never
explained. The Aransas Pass Lighthouse
is described as having a "fourth-order
fixed Fresnel lens with a fixed lamp."
Lighthouse buffs will benefit from this
knowledge, but others will be left in the
dark. Such additional information would
make the book that much more interesting
and valuable, and certainly would
pose no barrier to the rest of the history.
Building the Lone Star is attractively designed
and Baker's writing style inviting.
Deceptively disguised as a coffee table
book, once opened it won't be closed
Richard Pearce-Moses is coordinator of the
Historic Photography Project for the Texas
Received and Noted
Facts as I Remember Them: The Autobiography
of Rufe LeFors. John Allen
Peterson, editor. Austin: University of
Texas Press, 1987. 170 pages, black-andwhite
Rufe LeFors was an early settler of the
Texas Panhandle, where he worked as
trail driver, pony express rider, rancher,
Texas Ranger, and horse trader. Those
who knew him considered LeFors an archetype
of the Texas frontier lawman,
with a reputation for "tough individualism,
tempered with fairness and
A PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT
Texas Historical Foundation
Essay by Stephen Harrigan
150 photographs, 40 in color
Texas Historical Foundation
Essay by William A. Owens
Picture research and captions
by Richard Pearce-Moses
These two magnificent volumes are a result
of a special sesquicentennial project sponsored
by the Texas Historical Foundation and
supported by a generous grant from Du Pont
and Conoco, its energy subsidiary. The Texas
Historical Foundation will donate part of the
proceeds from the sales of these books to the
restoration of the Texas Capitol.
Historic Texas and Contemporary Texas are
also available together in a beautiful cloth
slipcase edition for $65.00.
* TexasMonhlyPress *
Texas Monthly Press
Please add $2.00 shipping
P.O. Box 1569
Austin, Texas 78767
Texas residents add 5.125% tax
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987, periodical, Summer 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45437/m1/38/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.