Winnetou Concept Adobe in Blanco Canyon
The Design & Construction
When Dr. Wilbur I. Robinson realized his conception of building a traditional adobe home, he turned to Olive Holden for the design. The structure was built, in adobe fashion, with materials available right on the site—the digging of the basement produced the needed soil/sand, and there was surely ample prairie grass available all around the building location.
The original home featured an enclosed courtyard (a fundamental component of many adobe structures), a combination living and kitchen area, and a single bedroom. The photograph at left illustrates Dr. Robinson enjoying some time by the traditional-style fireplace (with an interesting tree mural painted on the wall). Dr. Robinson lived in the home until his death, at which time it transferred to his colleague and friend, Professor William Ducker, Head of Petroleum Engineering at Texas Tech University.
The home was in the care of Mr. Ducker when Dr. McClain first noticed the property and approached him about its status. As a respite from the busy start of her career at nearby Texas Tech University, Dr. Mcclain regularly spent afternoons tending the native fauna surrounding the Adobe. She and Mr. Ducker built a deep bond, and, recognizing Dr. McClain's burgeoning love and respect for adobe architecture (and the home in particular), he agreed to sell the property to her. Thus began her own adventure with the amazing property and its authentic dwelling.
A Living Structure
Over time, Dr. McClain further enhanced the Adobe with added living space. Always true to the history of the building, the new additions embraced adobe building principles, design and aesthetic.
Also true to its heritage, the structure is resistant to the temperature fluctuations of West Texas weather, and is easily cooled in the summer and heated in the winter. For one example, a simple dousing of the structure's walls with water on a hot Lubbock afternoon is sufficient to bring about a significant temperature drop which lasts for hours.
The charming windows and doors of the main building are the originals from the 1937 construction. The main door opening into the courtyard is beautifully constructed of wood, glass and wrought iron. The original clear-glass door knob has toned to a beautiful amethyst from decades of exposure to the searing West Texas sun. While enchanting details such a this are found throughout the Adobe, its construction and embracing of adobe's benefits are the real treasures. As mentioned on the main Adobe page, adobe architecture has been Earth-friendly from its inception centuries ago.
Night Spectacle at the Adobe
Dr. Robinson and his friend, Mr. Ducker, in the company of two other colleagues, were witness to the famed "Lubbock Lights" phenomenon that occurred in the summer of 1951.
Well documented at the time, including an article in Life Magazine (with a later condensation in Reader's Digest), the gentlemen watched the fascinating event from the courtyard of the Adobe. While debate raged as to the true nature of the event, it surely added to the mystique of an evening at the Adobe.
The Winnetou Adobe Concept
In addition to becoming the owner and custodian of the historic adobe in Lubbock, Dr. McClain constructed a proof-of-concept adobe building in Blanco Canyon, near the historic West Texas town of Crosbyton. Blanco Canyon was owned at the time by dear friend Georgia Mae Erickson, and was part of the her remarkable family's original settlement. (Georgia Mae was the granddaughter of Hank Smith (nee Heinrich Schmitt), the early German pioneer who settled in West Texas.)
The structure is named "Winnetou" (after the famed Karl May character), and two photos are included in this gallery. (See also the painting of Winnetou, and adjacent Owl Draw in Blanco Cayon, on the Kathy Hinson gallery page.)