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El Paso Military Institute Dormitory
El Paso, Texas


Description: El Paso Military Institute Dormitory
Other Names: Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy Dormitory, (1914-1917); Fort Bliss Airdrome (headquarters and pilots’ quarters, 1919-1921)
Address: east side of El Paso (originally outside the city limits), El Paso County, Texas
Type: educational; dormitory
Original Client: El Paso Military Institute
Date: 1909
Condition: demolished

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Contractors: J. C. Huff
Dimensions and Orientation: two stories with elevated basement, 36 feet wide and about 100 feet long
Budget/Cost: $20,000

Foundation: probably concrete
Wall Materials: plastered
Roofing Materials: shingle
Other Materials Used:
Remodeling and Additions:

Location of Drawings: none known to exist
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: Ponsford 231a, 231b, view of front elevation; Ponsford 232, close-up of front elevation; Ponsford 515, the same; Aultman A3436

Bibliography: (1) Wallace H. Brucker, The University of Texas at El Paso: A Brief History, Chapter VI in: Harriot Howze Jones, editor, El Paso, a Centennial Portrait, El Paso: El Paso County Historical Society), 1972, pages 110-115, description of the early use of the property by the School of Mines, page 114 (bottom), exterior photograph
(2) Nancy Hamilton, UTEP: a Pictorial History of the University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso: Texas Western Press, the University of Texas at El Paso; Norfolk: The Donning Company, 1988), pages 20-21, exterior photographs.
(3) Three Story Building at the Military Institute, El Paso Herald, July 28, 1909, page 11 (gives dimensions and budget, reports that plans have been completed and that the bids have been opened, and includes a description of the planned building)
(4) Dormitory for Institute, El Paso Herald, August 25, 1909, page 15 (reports that ground has been broken, gives the amount of the total cost, gives names of architects and contractor, and includes a description of the planned building)
(5) Stacy C. Hinkle, Wings over the Border; the Army Air Service Armed Patrol of the United States Mexico Border 1919-1921 Southwestern Studies, monograph No. 26 (El Paso: Texas Western Press, the University of Texas at El Paso, 1970): page 12, description of reuse of the Dormitory Building; facing page 12, aerial view of Fort Bliss, with the Dormitory Building in the center of the photograph; and facing page 13, exterior photograph
(6) Leon C. Metz, Fort Bliss – An Illustrated History (El Paso: Mangan Books, undated), illustration of Institute buildings with cadets

Remarks: The Dormitory Building bears a resemblance to a type of military barracks building dating back to the early nineteenth century. Drawings made in 1808 by John Whistler (grandfather of the famous artist James Abbot McNeill Whistler) of barracks buildings for officers and soldiers at Fort Dearborn, on a site now part of present day Chicago, show buildings with general proportions and hipped roofs which resemble those of Trost’s Dormitory; moreover, the soldiers’ barracks has paired windows which also resemble those in Trost’s Dormitory. While John Whistler’s drawing is in an archive in Washington and is unlikely to have been seen by Trost, he may very well have seen a published illustration of the drawing during his years in Chicago (about 1886-1896). For published illustrations of John Whistler’s drawing, see: (1) Milo Milton Quaife, Chicago and the Old Northwest, 1673-1835; a Study of the Northwestern Frontier, together with a History of Fort Dearborn (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1913), facing page 164. (2) Willard B. Robinson, American Forts; Architectural Form and Function (Urbana, Illinois: published for the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Forth Worth, by the University of Illinois Press, 1977), figure 77 on page 139].

Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990