1915 J.B. Irving Mansion

J.B. Irving was a Banker and Cattleman who lived in and spent most of his career in Alpine, Texas, as owner of the iconic Iron Mountain Ranch. Period newspapers from all over West Texas are packed with news of his livestock purchases and sales, and his financial/Real Estate transactions. In the mid-teens (1915 or so) his influence in the El Paso financial scene was huge. His land purchases and sales were massive. 

Around 1911 is when Irving refocused his business and cattle interests from Alpine to El Paso, although he maintained his ownership of the Iron Mountain Ranch as well as an Alpine residence. In early 1915 he purchased 9 lots on the northeast corner of Oxford and Marr, and had his El Paso Mansion erected - a $17,000 Mansion-sized Prairie Box styled home that stands today in beautiful condition.

We are unable (presently) to find documentation identifying the architect. This period in El Paso history saw a large amount of our most iconic architects and firms active - Trost & Trost, Gibson & Robertson, John J. Stewart (as an associate with Trost), Edward Kneezell, Ernest Krause, S.E. Patton, Guy Lewis Fraser, H.M. Beutell, Hugh Braunton (as Braunton & Liebert), Bradford Hardie Jr. -- they were all building in the Sun City at the time, and all of them could have designed this home with one hand tied behind their back. Nevertheless, the style of the home speaks. It is a rather playful version of Foursquare that would seem to disqualify the more conservatively minded architects. The three designers that are left are Krause, Patton and the firm of Gibson & Robertson. We can probably cross Krause's name out, because we're unclear whether he was designing at the time - although he was very active politically in town, especially involved in the Trost & Trost County Courthouse dispute taking place in 1915. 

Of the two architects left - Patton and Gibson/Robertson - throw a pair of dice or pick straws, it could have been either. I personally lean towards S.E. Patton as the designer, simply because he did design in this style a few times whereas I can find no Foursquare Prairie Boxes from Gibson & Robertson.

Irving remained in the home until he passed away on April 25, 1925, when it was purchased by Mrs. Georgia Belle Houghton of Amarillo. In 1929 she sold it to Benjamin Earl Stevens for $15,000 - a good deal less than its erection cost 14 years earlier - and the Stevens family remained there until the passing of the very same Benjamin Earl Stevens on the 18th of July, 1974.
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Text and research provided to Sketchclub.net by Mark Stone, citing period newspaper clippings accessed at newspapers.com

Google Earth Street View accessed 04/24/2021

Google Earth Street View accessed 04/24/2021

Google Earth Street View accessed 04/24/2021