Bartonsite Home

Joseph Barton moved to the High Plains with his family in 1891 and established the TL Ranch. They lived in a box and strip house until 1897 when they moved to a more substantial box and strip dwelling. By 1907 land values had skyrocketed and Barton was now on the verge of becoming a wealthy man. He then had an idea to attract settlers, sell land and develop a town. The only requirement that he needed was a railroad passing through the town. In order to create his vision of "Bartonsite", the name he wanted for his town, he began building this multistory Victorian home. The railroad never came, the town folded and the house was left alone on the plains. A member of the Barton family occupied the house until 1971 when the last occupant died and willed the house to the National Ranching Heritage Center.

The Barton House, built in 1909 in Hale County, is a wonderful example of Victorian architecture. The complex details, porch columns, captain's walk railings, color and asymmetrical composition are all perfect details of Victorian style.

During the same year that the house was built, the ranching industry experienced a drastic transition. Many plains ranchers, who survived drought, blizzards and the panic of 1893, moved to areas with less severe climates that had not yet been overgrazed such as the Edwards Plateau and the Trans-Pecos Regions. By 1920, the Plains was primarily farmland. The Bartons, like other ranchers, had to modify their operations in order to survive-cutting down herd size, improving quality and planting crops. The Barton family, while enduring many hardships, exemplify proof that those that came to the Plains and worked hard benefited from the land's wealth.

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