Dorgan House Exhibit

An adobe wall and a petrified wood chimney rest up on a mesa above the surrounding desert.
Chimney and remaining wall of Dorgan House


Quick Facts
0.5 mile along the Dorgan Sublett Trail
The Historic Rancho Estelle area consists of the former homes of farmer James Sublett and architect Alvert Dorgan
U.S. National Register of Historic Places

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Scenic View/Photo Spot

In the 1930s, architect Albert Dorgan and his wife Avis Ann bought land near Sublett’s farm. The Dorgan’s first lived in a two-room stone house. Later they built an impressive adobe home on top of the mesa. Roof width in the Castolon area was limited by the length of vigas (wood ceiling beams), which were typically from the small local mesquite or cottonwood trees. Dorgan used his expertise as an architect to design this atypical house. The petrified wood fireplace in the center of the house was more than just decoration; it provided a place for the vigas to meet in the center of the room, making his house twice as wide and deep as other Castolon homes.

Dorgan owned pumps and irrigation equipment, which he leased to James Sublett for several years. Dorgan also sold vegetables and employed several area families, including the Garcia family of La Coyota, to crate and ship vegetables.

The Dorgan’s left their Big Bend property in 1938 due to business and health issues. The Dorgan and Sublett business partnership also dissolved. In 1941, Dorgan leased the property to A.F. Robinson who intended to open the “Mexitex Resort”, evidently hoping to benefit from the national park which was being established in the area at that time. The resort failed, and Dorgan sold his holdings for inclusion in Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend National Park

Last updated: March 22, 2022