Recommendations for Historic Resource Preservation
The historic resources of Padre Island are many and varied. They range from artifacts of the Indian, Spanish, and American periods to maps, documents, and photographs. When the Padre Island National Seashore visitor's center is constructed, museum displays based on such resources will deal with the totality of man's historical interaction with the island. The historic resource which here concerns us is the historic structure. By definition, an historic structure is a work of man, either prehistoric or historic, consciously created to serve some form of human activity. It is usually by nature or design immovable. Besides buildings of all kinds the term includes engineering works, such as dams, canals, bridges, stockades, forts, and associated earth-works serving a similar purpose, Indian mounds and ruins, historic roads, mill races and ponds.
Historic structures are found from one end of Padre to the other. Among them are the ruins of the packery on Packery Channel, the pilings of the Don Patricio Causeway, the site of Murdock's landing, and a host of structures associated with the Dunn Ranch. Other historic structures such as the site of Padre Balli's Buena Vista Ranch could possibly be located by archeological investigation. The centers of activity on Padre have been the two ends of the island. As a result the majority of the historic structures are located outside the boundaries of the National Seashore. National Park Service preservation of historic structures will be limited to preservation of those structures located within the seashore.
This historic resource study makes the following recommendation for historic structure preservation within the Padre Island National Seashore. It is recommended that the Dunn Ranch Novillo camp located at the north end of the seashore be preserved. Novillo is the best single remaining artifact of the primary historical land utilization activity on Padre, namely, cattle raising from 1805 to 1971. As detailed in the preceding narrative, Novillo documents and graphically illustrates a level of man's historical interaction with the island's environment. Novillo is a symbol of man's adaption of an agricultural economic form to Padre Island.
In terms of development and management, Novillo does not appear to present any major problems. The site is located at the north end or developed area of the seashore. In relation to land utilization, its classification, as Class VI land will not conflict with any other appropriate use land classification. Development of the site itself also presents no problems. A short road from the main road and parking lot will make the site accessible. A simple self-guiding trail will take the visitor to and through the site.
The immediate preservation problem at Novillo is to bring the resource to a condition where it can be managed according to NPS historic resource management standards. The level of treatment of each Novillo structure is dealt with in the List of Classified Structures. As a general statement of the level of treatment of the site as a whole it is recommended that Novillo be preserved in its present condition. Whatever structural changes have taken place between the time of its construction and the present are a part of the site's functional history. Some of the individual structures will require stabilization work and two of them may require partial roof restoration. Nevertheless, stabilization, not restoration and/or reconstruction, is the recommended level of treatment. Should any of the structures be in any immediate jeopardy, emergency stabilization should take place. Final stabilization will take place after the completion of the normal Historic Structure Report for the resource as a whole. It is further recommended that the site not be made the object of visitor use until stabilization has taken place.
The Novillo resource is the only one of the three Dunn Ranch sites within the seashore that merits preservation. The other two sites, Black Hill and Green Hill, should be removed. Their preservation is not compatible with other appropriate use land classifications, i.e., their preservation would prejudice the development of the island as seashore. A good photographic record should be obtained before they are removed, especially photographs of the unusual water tanks. In addition some materials from the sites, and especially the shingled roof at the "Dunn Ranch," should be salvaged for possible use in structure stabilization and partial roof restoration at Novillo.
Last Updated: 16-Mar-2007