1914 Lawrence Lawson Residence

During the shocked aftermath of the rash of historic building demolitions in downtown El Paso in and around 2013 (at least 8 structures, most of them destroyed with no purpose), Laura Mercedes was opening her new business in the Henry C. Trost designed Lawson Residence at 1712 N. Mesa just up the hill. Still located there, it is called the Gentlemen's Republic Barbersalon. Shortly after she opened, she describes an encounter:

"So 2 wks ago, a woman was taking pictures outside of the building and I wanted to know why she was taking pictures ( I practically accosted her j/k). Well it turns out that she is the Great Niece-Margaret Smith--of the famed architect Henry Trost, who built the bldg. 100 years ago this year. She was sad to hear that a few Trost buildings were being torn down in EP and she was taking updated pictures to preserve what was left.

I invited her inside and she practically fainted when she saw how beautiful the building was on the inside and what I had done to preserve the look. Since I had been a historical remodeler previous to starting GR, the work on this building was a no-brainer. She took lots of pictures and we took a few ourselves.

This building inspires all of us here at Gentlemen's Republic, and the awesome vibe that it gives off makes it not only a joy, but a privilege to work in such a gorgeous establishment and a part of EP History. We hope you enjoy the two pictures sent to us and welcome your comments-. Later on we hope to put together more history and pictures as a small gallery inside to preserve the history of the Lawson Home built by Henry Trost."

Of course, the Margaret Smith referenced here is our own, a Board Member at the Trost Society. And yes, Ms. Mercedes added a page of historical images of the Lawson at their website here: https://gentsrepublic.com/history/. And, importantly, the disease of demolition that started to plaque downtown has been replaced with a riot of restorations!

The Lawrence Lawson residence was built in 1913-1914, a single story family dwelling designed in a Beau Arts eclectic mix by El Paso maestro Henry C. Trost. The front of the building is strangely similar to the Arch of Constantine in Rome, so similar that we have included an attached image. The home was a pioneer on North Mesa, as evidenced by the pair of 1914 images included below - note the lack of neighbors. Today, however, it is hidden in a forest of buildings in one of the busiest areas of El Paso.

Lawrence Lawson, the original homeowner, was the supervisor in charge of the construction of the Elephant Butte Dam and a commissioner of the US section of the International Boundary and Water Commission.

With so much architectural history in our city, it saddens us to see much of it ignored and destroyed - but when these old works of art are cared for and restored, as is the case with the Lawson, we have hope. We appreciate the current owner and their care.

El Paso Public Library via the UNT Digital Archives.

El Paso Public Library's Ponsford Collection, via the UNT Digital Archives

Google Earth Street View, 2019

Google Earth Street View, 2019

Google Earth Street View, 2019

Wikipedia Commons