Jowell Family Fort
National Ranching Heritage Center
East of Indiana on Fourth Street
P. O. Box 43200
Lubbock, TX 79409-3200
Phone: (806) 742-0498
Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5
p.m. and Sunday, l to 5 p.m.
The National Ranching Heritage Center is
closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
There is no admission charge, and the facility is accessible to persons
with special needs.
In the mid-1850s, a wave of settlers moved into present-day
Palo Pinto County, Spanish for "painted wood". Many of the
front-line settlers were attracted to the area because of its open land
and good grazing vegetation; James Jowell was one of these settlers.
He established the Joly Ranch and began driving cattle to Kansas in
1870. On a drive in 1872, legend has it that his cabin was burned to
the ground. Upon returning home, he became determined to build a house
that would protect his family while he was away.
Jowell had a stonemason construct three buildings: a two
story house, a cooler for food preservation and a kitchen. The National
Ranching Heritage Center restored the house and the cooler, but the
kitchen building was not moved. Streams located around the house often
dried up in the summer months, so the family made use of a well and
stored water in cisterns. The house is constructed of locally quarried
limestone, juniper and imported sandstone. The buildings were made by
hand. Although limestone is readily available in the area where the
house was built, sandstone was brought to the site because it is easier
to cut and build with.
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