Coryell County, Texas Home Preservation
On our drive into the Texas Hill Country between Gatesville and Temple, we spotted a breathtaking steep-pitched timber frame barn and dogtrot log home sited, north of the road. In the dead of winter the hundred-year-old live oaks hid the entry to the barn, but the crepe myrtle in front of the Texas farmhouse couldn’t conceal the signature ‘dog run,’ an open breezeway between the two dovetailed-cornered cribs of the old house.
“What is that?” we asked, identifying the structure as great examples of Texas’ mid-nineteenth century log cabin construction, but not realizing it was the ancestral home of our client’s mother, the house we’d come to see. “That’s my Mama’s house, where she was born,” our client said.
The name “dogtrot” comes from family dogs finding comfort in summer heat in the shade and breezes created by the covered passageway between the two cribs of the home. Texas settlers enjoyed a similar respite in the long days of August because of this ingenuous pioneer climate control. It’s widely believed that the passageways were closed in winter to keep out the chilling winds and provide an extra room for large Texas families.
The Tennessee doctor, who migrated to Texas in the mid-1800s, built the cabin off Highway 36 for himself, his brother, his brother’s wife, and 15 children. The property and its farmhouse and barn were then sold to the current owners. A century-and-a-half later, descendants of this family restored the Coryell County dog-trot house to preserve its history in order to feel the presence of their stalwart Texas ancestors. We appreciate such heritage sites our clients choose to rehabilitate before these personal, and in some cases national treasures, are lost forever. Historical preservation provides the best way for the public to experience the shared history of our country. It’s a gift they leave for future generations of Texans. Construction: Heritage Construction in Waco. Post-construction photography by Jed Owen.