W.W. Townsend – A.H. Palmer Home
807 West Sul Ross Avenue
This old home is an excellent example of design and fine craftsmanship of the early 1900’s. Architecturally, it is a hybrid of Greek Revival and Victorian Styles. The main feature of the façade is a shed type porch with spindle railing, spandrels, and brackets. The hip roof, originally covered with cedar shingles, has two gable dormer windows on the front and one on each side of the house. The exterior walls of the two story structure are composed of cast concrete blocks joined by mortar. The outer surface of each block was molded to resemble quarry stone. The original interior of the house has remained basically unchanged. It features 10 foot high beaded ceilings, beautiful woodwork around doors and windows, and pine floors.
William Daugherty, well known pioneer architect and building contractor, not only designed and built this home, but he also designed and produced the building materials for it, as well.
The home was built in 1908 for Mr. and Mrs. William Wallace Townsend, parents of noted Brewster County lawman and legislator, E. E. Townsend. The elder Townsend was a veteran of the Confederate Army who came to Texas after the war. He farmed and ranched in Zavala County and retired in Alpine in his later years.
After Townsend’s death in 1915, his wife remained in the house until about 1920 when she sold the property to Allen H. Palmer (also known as A. H. Parmer) .
Palmer, too, was a Confederate Army veteran. His first wife and the mother of his children, Susan Lavenia James, was the younger sister of notorious outlaws Frank and Jesse James. Palmer himself rode with Quantrill’s Raiders. He came to Alpine about 1920 with his second wife, Kitty Ogden Palmer, and a younger brother Tom W. Palmer. The Palmers were well known respected citizens of Alpine. Allen’s daughters and Mrs. Frank James are said to have been frequent visitors to the Palmer home. Allen died in 1927 and was buried in Wichita Falls next to his first wife Susan. Tom died in 1933 and is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery. In 1943, Kitty and children of the Palmer estate sold the home to James L. Sublett, pioneer Castolon farmer.
Present owners of this historic home are the John Blackbird Family.