Thursday, January 24, 2013

Alvino House at Castolon in Big Bend National Park

Click on the image to get a closer view!  Notice Santa Elena
Canyon in the upper left, and the Alvino House on the right!
Explore the little paths in the park, and you'll be richly rewarded.  Down this path in the Castolon Historic District in the southwest part of Big Bend National Park, is the Alvino House, the oldest intact adobe structure in the park.  Built in 1901 by Cipriano Hernandez, a Hispanic farmer, it represents the everyday life of many of the families who lived and farmed along the Rio Grande.

From the park's website:

"Other Big Bend residents of Mexican descent chose not to work for local ranchers. They established homesteads and survived by subsistence farming and raising sheep and goats. These settlers developed ingenious methods for farming in the desert. Armed with an intimate knowledge of which plants could succeed in the desert climate, those who homesteaded near the Rio Grande or desert springs would use these water sources to irrigate their crops. Others, located far from water, farmed seasonally by locating their farms near washes and diverting water from flash floods during the rainy season. Many supplemented their incomes by harvesting candelilla, a desert plant from which they would render a fine wax, by baling hay and selling it to the local military and mining camps, by cutting and hauling wood to nearby settlements, or by trapping and trading furs at local trading posts."


"The east end of the rambling adobe building now known as the “Alvino House” was the original Castolon store, where Hernandez vended his melons, pumpkins, squash, and beans"

In 1918, Alvino Ybarra moved into the house.  He earned his living by operating the engines that powered the cotton gin and water pump that brought water from the Rio Grande to irrigate the fields.  He was also a tenant farmer for the La Harmonia Company.  Alvino Ybarra continued living in the house until 1957, when he moved to Alpine.

No comments: