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Extensive Facelift Returns Indian Lodge to Historic Splendor
FORT DAVIS, Texas — Everything new is “old” again at one of the state’s most beloved historic inns, Indian Lodge.
The Davis Mountains lodge, owned and operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, has undergone an extensive renovation that took five years and cost $4.35 million to complete. The two-phase project began in 2001 to restore Indian Lodge to its 1930s appearance and update its mechanical systems.
Original ceilings of pine beams, or vigas, and smaller latillas, have been restored, as have almost 200 pieces of original rustic wood furniture. To ensure modern-day comfort, the lodge’s heating and air-conditioning and plumbing systems have been upgraded in the first large-scale modernization to occur in almost 40 years.
State Rep. Pete Gallego of Alpine, who was instrumental in securing initial state funding for the project, will join local government officials and other invited guests Oct. 26 to tour the renovated facilities, said David Bischofhausen, who manages the Davis Mountains State Parks Complex that includes the state park, Indian Lodge and nearby Balmorhea State Park. Park staff, he added, will be conducting interpretive tours of the refurbished lodge and grounds, Davis Mountains State Park and Balmorhea.
“Overnight guests will be able to experience the historic lodge as it was intended to look when the federal Civilian Conservation Corps built the inn in its unique Southwestern Pueblo architectural style,” Bischofhausen said. “They also will enjoy updated room appointments, such as new bedspreads, lamps, rugs, curtains, lamps and vanities.”
The purpose of recently completed project was to restore much of the character and original features that had been de-emphasized or covered up in the “modernizing” of Indian Lodge in 1967 and replace outdated mechanical systems. In addition, the patio was restored to its original layout with stone-lined concrete terrace, reactivated pool and fountain, and improved drainage and landscaping.
Indian Lodge is considered the “crown jewel” of the CCC structures in Texas and is the only example of Southwestern Pueblo-style architecture in Texas, according to TPWD historians. The inn has 39 rooms: 15 original rooms built in the 1930s (the 100s wing) and 24 rooms (200 and 300 wings) added during the 1967 expansion, which also included the addition of a restaurant, swimming pool and meeting room.
Indian Lodge’s location in the Davis Mountains overlooking scenic Keesey Creek at 5,200 feet elevation, where air is typically drier and cooler, draws a steady stream of visitors, especially during Texas’ warm-weather months. The lodge, originally called Indian Village when completed in 1935, was built concurrently with the Scenic Loop Road and Davis Mountains State Park.
Indian Lodge hosted more than 55,000 visitors in FY2006, including almost 16,000 overnight guests and 38,000 who dined at the Black Bear Restaurant. Rooms rate range from $80 to $115 a night. Call (432) 426-3254 well ahead of time to make reservations.
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