Magoffin Home State Historic Site, Restoration Award

1120 Magoffin Avenue
El Paso, TX

Historic Restoration Award

This award acknowledges a historic resource that has been properly restored to a specific time period. Projects must fully demonstrate adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Restoration. A special emphasis is placed on completed projects where owners, architects and contractors practice exceptional care in respecting the original fabric and setting of a historic structure.

The Magoffin Home State Historic Site is located in downtown El Paso, Texas. This striking and unique adobe home tells the stories of a multicultural family that influenced the development of the Southwest borderlands. Magoffin family members actively participated in American expansion, West Texas settlement, trade on the Santa Fe- Chihuahua Trail, Civil War turmoil and U.S.- Mexico relations. The Home is currently operated by the Texas Historical Commission and is El Paso’s only house museum.

The building was constructed by Joseph Magoffin. Mr. Magoffin was born in Mexico, educated in Kentucky and Missouri came to El Paso in 1856. After serving in the Civil War, he became an advocate for the development of El Paso and the region serving as county judge, mayor and in numerous other public offices. Joseph and Octavia Magoffin built their adobe home around 1875. The adobe construction reflects Spanish and Territorial architecture found in the Southwest borderlands and the influence of the Greek Revival style popular in other parts of the United States. The homestead, surrounded by orchards and gardens became a well known social center in the community. One of the oldest surviving adobes in the region, the Magoffin Home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

At the time the home was transferred to the Texas Historical Commission in 2007 it was apparent that roof leaks, cracking adobe walls, and outdated mechanical and electrical systems threatened the buildings long term preservation. Restoration of the adobe, plaster, roof and wood surfaces was an immediate priority. Poor site drainage was a threat to the adobe walls. In 2008, work began on assessing the conditions and planning for the preservation project.

The home was closed in January of 2011 so that the preservation project could proceed. Collections were packed, moved out of the home and placed in off-site, climate controlled storage. The work took sixteen months to complete and was done with the utmost care and with strict adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. A Grand Re-opening was held in May, 2012.

Extensive preservation work was completed including the installation of a new roof, adobe and plaster repairs, replacement of shutters and the application of a lime wash to the exterior walls. In addition, exterior wood surfaces were repaired and restored with an unusual variety of faux finishes that were original to the Home in the late 1800s. Portions of the site were re-graded to eliminate drainage problems and to protect the adobe walls. The mechanical and electrical systems were updated to provide an improved environment for the sites’ collections. Repairs and repainting have renewed the interior and restored walkways welcome visitors. Many local businesses and volunteers contributed their expertise to saving the home. There has been an outpouring of appreciation from the community and our efforts have motivated other property owners within the Magoffin Historic District to make improvements to their structures as well. The project has ensured the preservation of this El Paso treasure!