Bookcover: Built in Texas

Built in Texas

vol. 42: Publications of the Texas Folklore Society

Contributors: Line drawings by Reese Kennedy

August, 2000




276 photos. Index.


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About Abernethy's Built in Texas

Built in Texas is now available as a free e-book at the UNT Digital Library and The Portal to Texas History.

A book of folk building in Texas, ranges across the state in word and photograph to explore the building by settlers who tarried on the timbered lands of East Texas and built with the readily available pine logs in the traditions of their fathers. Those in the Western Cross Timbers used oak; European migrants into Central Texas stacked rocks into houses in the fashions learned in the Old Country. West Texans of the Pecos, who had neither rocks nor logs to build with, mixed mud and grass, made adobe brick, and built in traditions borrowed from the Mexican-Indian population already settled there. These were the folk, building out of the environment, wasting nothing, building forms to suit their needs. Germans, Poles, Norse, and Alsatians coming straight from the Old World with their countries’ ways of building in mind had to adapt to the new materials and learn from the older Anglo settlers the methods of putting the materials together.

“In folk building, a man takes whatever materials he has at hand—logs, rocks, sometimes the very earth itself—and he builds with those materials whatever it takes to survive. The methods he uses to shape his log or thatch his roof are those he learned from his forefathers or from the people he has lived among. The forms that he shapes, whether they are barns or fences or stock tanks, are those that satisfy not only the immediate needs for which they are built, but also satisfy what the eye has been conditioned by his culture to see as beautiful.” —Francis Edward Abernethy

Built in Texas is divided into Methods and Materials; Style and Form; Barns and Outbuildings; Gates and Fences; Holding Water; Restoration and Preservation.

Edited and photographed by Francis Edward Abernethy.

About the Editor

FRANCIS EDWARD ABERNETHY was Regents Professor Emeritus of English at Stephen F. Austin State University, the executive secretary and editor of the Texas Folklore Society, the curator of exhibits for the East Texas Historical Association, and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters. In addition to editing twenty-one Texas Folklore Society publications, he wrote Singin’ Texas, Legends of Texas’ Heroic Age, and all three volumes of the Texas Folklore Society history, published by the University of North Texas Press.

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