Thursday, September 13, 2012

Discovery of 100 Year Old Doors--Jeff Davis County Library Terrace Project!

A worthy Texas heritage and preservation project can use your help! 

The Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library have been working to create a pleasant, welcoming outdoor 24/7 space to sit and relax (and use wi-fi!) outside the library while preserving the historical character of the 1906 building.  A project for community members and visitors alike, there will be attractive permanent outdoor heritage displays about the Fort Davis area.  (Our Texas Mountain Trail organization was proud -- along with the Texas Historical Commission--to play a role in providing some funds for this project!)

When the project is completed, there will be a new GREAT public space for everyone to enjoy and appreciate the historic downtown area of Fort terrific is that!?!?

In 1908, Whitaker Keesey and his brother Otis sold their business
to a group of stockholders at which time it became known
as the “Union Trading Company.” It had merchandise
that included ammunition, guns, windmills, coffins, lumber,
and hardware. The Union complex contained a general
store, stable, post office, gentleman’s club with bar,
machine shop and feed store, and had the first electric
company and telephone exchange in this area,
becoming the largest mercantile in the Trans-­‐Pecos and Big Bend.

During excavation of the loading dock in preparation for new concrete work, two items of interest were discovered. A window well grate, similar to the ones on the west side of the building was discovered, still intact. The more significant item is a pair of hand crafted metal doors covering what used to be a coal chute.

The Terrace Committee sent us the following update:

As the Jeff Davis County Library resides in an historic building, it is important for these items to be preserved and displayed.  After lengthy discussions between Judge George Grubb, Library Director Toi Fisher, contractor Jeff Collins, and Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library president Cyndee Barnes, exploring the options on how to preserve the historic doors and window well grate, it was agreed the best solution was the following:  The metal doors and grate will be removed and replaced back in their original spots on top of the new concrete finish. The doors will be sealed around the perimeter and between the two doors to protect the chute under them from weather. A sealant will be used under the per imeter, and the doors will be straightened as much as possible and welded together from underneath. The grate will be concreted back in place flush with the new surface.  While this work will add to the cost and timing of the project, it will protect and display a piece of our library's history. 

This project is being managed by the Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library, a non-profit organization, in cooperation with the county. It is being funded solely through donations and grants. No tax dollars are being spent on this project. The Friends is grateful to all those who have contributed to this project. Please follow our progress at

Yes, the friends are inviting folks to help with the project....this worthy effort relies on donations from visitors and regional residents.  The Terrace Committee sent us this information:

Jeff Davis County has committed support, however, no county funds are being used for this project. We are close to our funding goal and the work has begun, however, we need your help to complete the project. Please join the Friends by making a tax-­‐deductible donation at one of the following levels:

Classics: $10,000
Westerns: $5,000
History: $1,000
Science: $500

Poetry: $250
Romance: $100
Drama: $50

All donations are appreciated & acknowledged. For more information visit:

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