Heritage, Volume 11, Number 2, Spring 1993 Page: 25
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A street scene in early day Buffalo Gap, when streets were unpaved and there were no sidewalks. Buffalo Gap Historic Village, with 19 original restored buildings
obtained from Taylor and adjoining counties, is located 14 miles south of Abilene.
Texas is displayed around the room in the
area that once was the runaround for nonviolent
prisoners. The hangsman's noose is
gone from its place at the head of the stairs
since no authentic data could be found
detailing a hanging in the jail.
On the outside wall of the courthouse is
a marker designating the building as one
entered in The National Register of Historic
The one-room log cabin, known as the
Knight-Sayles cabin, because of its two
owners, is the oldest existing building of
any kind in Taylor County. J.M.C. Knight
built the cabin in 1875 or 1876, in the Lake
Abilene area where he had filed on land.
After his death the land was sold to Henry
Sayles Sr. In 1917, Sayles moved the cabin
to another part of his ranch to make way for
the building of Lake Abilene. The original
roof and logs required little repair, but Dr.
Rode has repaired windows and the door.
The chimney, of necessity, was taken off
for the moves and has not been replaced.
Inside the cabin are replicas of furniture
used by the Knight family. Cooking pots on
hooks are in the fireplace and a wooden
bowl, used for making bread, is on the
The white church was moved only a few
blocks from where it was built in 1902 to the
village grounds. Mary Lee Cagle, a Nazarene
minister, was its first pastor and founder.
Bricks from the flue and chunks of beaver
board ceiling were strewn over the inside
of the church in moving and from
torrential rains. When the debris was cleared
away, workers found that the domed ceiling
also was covered with beaded lx4s such as
were on the wall. All worn and missing
boards were replaced with similar materials
where needed, and the building was painted
inside and out. Pews, pulpit, the prayer
bench, offering plate stand, and the Bible
displayed at the front are all original pieces.
Activity around the museum complex is
increased by many weddings in the old
restored sanctuary and the wedding receptions
held in the old school house.
The Marshal's house, built in 1881, offered
the greatest challenge in repairing.
The roof of the kitchen lay on the ground,
and the remaining portion leaned precariously.
It is a box house built of 1x12 boxing
planks and stripped with lx4s.
In what remained of the ceiling, workers
removed six inches of powdered dust
accumulated since the house was built.
Dr. Rode sought friends of Belle Hill,
daughter of the Marshal, and the last resident
of the house. He found four ladies who
had known Belle, and who had often vis
ited her at the house. They told Dr. Rode
what the wallpaper was like and where
each piece of furniture was located in the
house. Dr. and Mrs. Rode and searched
wallpaper shops until paper almost identical
to the original was found. After refinishing
and repairs were made, the furniture
was brought from storage, and each piece
was placed as the Hill family had arranged
it. All furniture was purchased by Marshal
Hill in the early 1880s.
Today Buffalo Gap Historic Village has
19 buildings and one outdoor exhibit. Other
than those named, there are two post offices,
a doctor's office, a barber shop, bank, filling
station, trading post, and store. The outdoor
exhibit is a 30,000-pound, life-size buffalo,
typical of the bison herds that poured
through Buffalo Gap's mountain pass in
the 1860s and 1870s.
During the village's busy season, from
March 15 through November 15, thousands
of tourists visit. Buffalo Gap Historic
Village is open throughout the winter on
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It is located
on Highway 89,14 miles south of Abilene.
Juanita Zachry is a freelance writer from
Abilene. She is employed as researcher/writer
for Buffalo Gap Historic Village.
HERITAGE * SPRING 1993 25
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 11, Number 2, Spring 1993, periodical, Spring 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46808/m1/25/: accessed November 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.