A porch on the old Springer House yielded enough yellow trim for the frame wood on Neva’s dresser and Robert’s tall chest of drawers. The light green base and top trim was once part of the kitchen in the Springer House. The Springer Ranch, located north of the Canadian River in Hemphill County, was the oldest (1875) cattle ranch in the Texas Panhandle.
The blue panel boards were discovered under several layers of wall paper on the ceiling of an abandoned homestead on Willow Creek in Lipscomb County. Everyone of the longleaf pine boards spanned the full nineteen-foot length of the kitchen.
The green drawer panels on the dressers and the side frames on Robert’s wardrobe once boxed in the eaves on the Peg Robertson House located southwest of Canadian. I still haven’t determined how Peg wound up with only one leg, but I do know that’s how he got his name.
The orange tin for the roundtops and the inlay was cut from a 55-gallon antifreeze barrel. Door and drawer pulls on the dressers were bit rings and harness parts salvaged off various sets of old harness. Door handles on the wardrobe were once part of the fifth wheel on the undercarriage of an old wagon. The wagon was last used in the ’40’s and then parked for good near Dugout Creek in Lipscomb County.
Crates for seismograph explosives became the top panels on the bedside cabinets. The crates were found in the back of a barn and probably date from the early ’50’s.
Part of Esther’s house near Dripping Springs dates to the 1850’s. When the kitchen was remodeled recently, the old yellow pantry yielded some usable boards. The pantry structure was probably added in the ’40’s.
The rafters in Esther’s house are painted a bright blue. They are still in service holding up the roof, so some blue to complement the yellow had to be found somewhere. Help came from 525 miles to the northwest on the Peg Robertson place, just south of the Washita River. Salvage interior trim was the perfect shade of blue.
A small gas heater from the abandoned Hotel Higgins, in Higgins, Texas, provided the legs, door handle, door panel, and top lid. The drawer pulls are double-hung window latches, and the drawer liners are 1944 Sears and Roebuck linoleum.
Barn Dancer rises on steel-shod legs made from old buck rake tines that Aunt Mary and Uncle Elbridge used to bundle feed and hay. Inspired by the old wooden-frame round-top barns, the cabinet top is made from part of a 55-gallon antifreeze drum. The wood came from the Peg Robertson homestead south of the Washita River. The green was once exterior window trim and the blue was door trim and baseboard in one of the bedrooms.
The termites had just about gotten the best of the old granary on the Half Circle Ranch, but up under the short eves there were still some bright red boards–enough for a table-top frame. The beadboard panels were originally doors on a storage box in our old barn and the green accent boards once boxed in the eves on a homestead down the road from us. An old fifth wheel from a wagon undercarriage provided the perfect “half circle” of steel.
One-legged Peg Robertson must have liked bright colors. The hall right outside the green bedroom was trimmed in pink. Just the combination to match up with the once-green crustbuster wheel. The door bar is certified, unidentified junk–just can’t figure what it came from. The top of the cabinet was inspired by the rooflines of some of the Santa Fe depots.
The front facade of the Santa Fe railroad depots seemed to be the right backdrop for the broken coulter disk. An old bed frame pulled out of a draw gave up the door bars and the center finial. Most of the white wood came out of the living room of an old homestead southwest of Canadian, Texas. And the red wood was part of the siding the termites missed on the little barn on Lindy’s place. The door knob was found in Tucumcari, New Mexico.
Since 1910 the Moody Building in Canadian, Texas, has greeted travelers and local folks alike with its landmark presence and distinctive early Panhandle architecture. Along the roofline, the parapet wall shows off masonry “sunburst” patterns, each with an open arch that sets off a half circle of blue Panhandle sky.
The parapet rises, similar to the Santa Fe depot facades, served as design inspiration for the Moody Depot Cabinet. The red barn wood came from the granary barn on the Half Circle Ranch. Old corral wood from Sand Creek Ranch became the door frame. Tom Conatser’s house provided the weathered gray siding. And the turquoise wood was left over after the renovation of the Parker House in Lipscomb.
Pulled from an old trash burn pit, parts of a bed frame were reworked for door bars. The door knob came from Tucumcari, New Mexico.
Fellow recycler and friend Maurice Bernson came across some wonderful old plantation shutters years ago. He never got a chance to use them, so I inherited them. In an altered state the shutter frames became the case for the serving cabinet. The top frame was part of a door out of an old country school house, and the tin panel was cut from the header shroud on a junked Baldwin-Gleaner combine.
A bedroom door from Peg Robertson’s place provided parts for the cabinet door and drawer fronts; the pulls are brass windmill check end-collars; and the woven steel panel was salvaged from a security gate made by the Fort Worth Fence Company.
Not much of the wooden windmill tower that once stood south of Wolf Creek was worth saving, but parts of one tower leg yielded enough for short table legs. The red frame boards were about the only lumber on the Half Circle Ranch’s granary barn that escaped weathering and termites. And the turquoise panels came out of the pantry room door in the old Hostutler homestead. The Hostutlers lived in their barn during the year of ’08 while they built their house. They raised nine children in the little house by Willow Creek.
The Tower Chair was inspired by two plains icons: the windmill and the oil derrick. Plantation shutter frames were reworked into chair frames. Old corral board from Sand Creek Ranch became chair arms and the tower platform. The wind keeps removing scraps of tin off the north side of our old wooden barn, so one such loose flap was used on the back of the chair. Wagon undercarriage braces were put to use as back braces, and wagon spindle log screws share strength duty with the front mortice and tenons.
Peg Robertson parked his peddler’s wagon for the last time in the tree grove down below the house. I’m not sure what year that was, but there is not much of the wagon left now. Enough of the frame remains, though, to give some idea of the original shape and serve as a starting design for the Peddler’s Wagon Wardrobe.
Old school house doors, eight feet tall, gave up enough lumber for the wardrobe doors and front. Harness rein-rings for door pulls are set in the middle of planter plates out of a seed drill.
The blue tongue and groove boards were at one time on the kitchen ceiling in the old Hostutler homestead. Old growth, long leaf pine, every board spanned the full 19 feet of the ceiling, with several layers of wallpaper on the down side and a thick layer of fine dirt on top.
Most plains towns still have one standing on the other side of the tracks. It is seldom noticed, no longer in use, and too darn hard to tear down. The old wooden tin-sheathed grain elevators, now dwarfed by their concrete offspring, still stand as plains icons. The tall central shaft with its little gable roof and shorter flanking bins inspired the design for the South of the Tracks Dressing Cabinet.
The crackled white wood came from door panels and trim in an abandoned homestead between our place and Willow Creek. Another abandoned house, 50 miles southwest of us, provided enough blue trim for the door and drawer fronts. The wide white boards, hinges and small glass knobs were all salvaged from the Springer house, located north of the Canadian River. The Springer Ranch was the first cattle ranch established in the Texas Panhandle (1875). Cousin Ruth came up with the large glass pulls out in New Mexico. And the 1944 Sears and Roebuck linoleum drawer liners came off the floor of the old Appel homestead. (The date was established by all the newspapers and farm journal magazines used as padding under the linoleum.)
While they built their house, Mr. & Mrs. Hostutler lived in the barn. That was in 1907. They eventually raised nine kids in the little house by Willow Creek. The house will be burned soon, so the salvage work has more than the usual sense of urgency.
The blue-green side boards on the Moon Cabinet were originally on the kitchen ceiling. The door frame is made from what was left of the old pantry door. The cabinet feet were once spacer spindles on an old disc plow.
When the railroad came through the Panhandle about 1886 they fenced some of the right-of-way with “ribbon wire”. A strand of that wire, rescued from a trash pit near Little Robe Creek, tops out the Creek Moon Cabinet.
Old reel batts from a John Deere 55 combine were rescued from the trash pile, the John Deere yellow paint still shining through. Blue door trim from the Hill Homestead on Dugout Creek was just the thing to complement the yellow panels. Now that the roof is completely gone off of the old house, the remaining trim is fading fast.
They put up a new pipe corral on the Circle D Ranch. Some of the salvaged boards from the old wooden corral have become the case for the Faded Rose Harness rein-rings have been recycled as door and drawer pulls.
After the double shock of crawling out of bed in the middle of the night and walking out into the cold winter air, checking the pregnant heifers could almost be a spiritual experience. On the way to the corral, gawking at the sky full of stars made walking a hazard. We even got to watch the Northern Lights a couple of times (yes, even in Texas).
The corral light or a lantern in the sheds cast a soft yellow orange glow out over the sleeping and sighing heifers, vapor rising each time they exhaled. Most of the time, all the girls were okay, so it was back to the house and bed.
The Floor Lamp frame is made from corral wood from the Sand Creek Ranch. Tom Conatser’s old corral timbers helped make the lamp base. And security fencing made by the Fort Worth Fence Company became the center panel and the mica guard. The mica comes from North Carolina.
Nobody lives on the old Schafer place across the road anymore. Mrs. Schafer, her tennis shoes a-flapping, used to cut across the field when she would walk over to visit Grandma Bucher (my wife’s Grandmother). The Schafers must have driven a Chevy at some point because I found several leftover parts down in the junk pile. An old door handle became the door pull on the Prairie View Display Stand.
The case wood was once trim in the old homestead near Willow Creek. Door and side panel tin was cut from salvaged roof tin off the 85-year-old Akers barn. Folks were sure sorry for me that the tin had those “rust stripes” on them, but I assured them the stripes were just what I wanted.
It is possible to tell what the original shape of Peg Robertson’s peddler’s wagon probably looked like, but the old wagon is so far along on its journey back to the ground that there is not much worth salvaging. Workable wood had to come from Peg’s house rather than the wagon skeleton. One old porch column was found in the corner of the barn, so a section of that post and the capital and base became the starting point for the Peddler’s Wagon Tall Chest.
The side panels, “roof,” and face frame of the Tall Chest was once siding and trim on one of the porches of the Springer house located north of the Canadian River, east of Canadian, Texas. The Springer Ranch was the first cattle ranch in the Texas Panhandle (1875).
A wagon undercarriage that was weathering down on Dugout Creek provided the cabinet hardware. The handles and top bar came from the fifthwheel portion and the bottom drawer pulls are doubletree hooks. Top drawer pulls are stave locks from the bolsters.
Found in the tree grove near Camp Creek, a wheel from a child’s toy, maybe a tractor or a wagon, became the caps for the “wheel” base of the Tall Chest.
The remains of an old wagon undercarriage from the Hill place on Dugout Creek provided the door and drawer pulls and top bar for the Dugout Creek Chifforobe. When neighbor Lance Bussard brought the pile of wagon leavings by the shop, he declared that I was probably the only person around that could get excited about such a pile.
Salvaged interior trim from a small house in Higgins became the frame and accent wood for the chifforobe. Years ago, and at least one addition ago, the house had served as the “office” of a wagon court, a place where folks could park their wagons and camp overnight.
Pre-dating the case wood, the door frames are made from parts of two interior doors from the Peg Robertson homestead located south of the Washita in Hemphill County. Peg was a peddler of sorts and traveled the countryside in a small roundtop peddler’s wagon. From the stories I’ve heard, Peg was a regular in Old Mobeetie years ago.
The door and the side panel tin was cut from roof tin off the Raymond Akers barn south of Lipscomb. It was a hot day in July when we peeled the tin off. The buzzards we disturbed from the barn loft kept circling overhead, their huge shadows sweeping over us–not a comforting feeling.
Wood for the chifforobe roundtop came off the kitchen walls of the Springer House. The Springer Ranch was the first cattle ranch (1875) in the Texas Panhandle.
There were just too many hay bales stored in the loft of the old Akers barn, and the weight over the years had given the barn an amazing degree of northward lean or sag.
After all the old hay was pitched out the west end, and the buzzards vacated, we managed to salvage some of the bowed, but not broken 2x lumber. A lot of the lumber used to build the 85-year-old barn was salvaged from a previous structure, the age and type unknown, so it’s hard to tell just how old the yellow pine boards are.
The frames of the Hayloft Chairs are made from some of the old 2 x 4’s. The arms and backboards are cut from parts of old doors out of a country schoolhouse. A 55-gallon antifreeze drum was just the right shade of orange for the tin inlay.
Most plains towns still have one standing on the other side of the tracks. It is seldom noticed, no longer in use, and too darn hard to tear down. The old wooden tin-sheathed grain elevators, now dwarfed by their concrete offspring, still stand as plains icons. The tall central shaft with its little gable roof and shorter flanking bins inspired the design for the Across the Tracks Dressing Cabinet.
The cracked gray painted wood came from door panels and trim in an abandoned homestead between our place and Willow Creek. The old house also provided the 1944 Sears and Roebuck linoleum used for drawer liners. (The date was established by all the newspapers and farm magazines used as padding under the linoleum.
A termite-chewed granary barn ten miles west of us furnished the red boards for the doors and drawers. And the pulls were once buckles and trace keepers on various sets of old harness.
Mitered sections of chalkboard tray out of a country school make up the horseshoe-shaped shelves
The old columns supporting Grandma’s front porch have to be considered a West Texas icon. They only served to hold up the roof, hide the extra front door key, and hold the thermometer, but they also had an air of mystery and comfort about them.
Blue trim boards from Peg Robertson’s place southwest of Canadian were used for the doors and drawer fronts on the dressing cabinet. The cracked white face boards were once trim in the Hostutler house down on Willow Creek. The white side boards started out as eave boards on the old Springer House north of the Canadian River in Hemphill County.