FIRST RURAL SCHOOL WEST OF PECOS RIVER Highway 118 North , between Alpine and Fort Davis , 1967
“ Built 1881 of adobe brick , by settlers P . H . Pruett , Cal Nations , James Dawson , Joe Dorsey . At the same time Pruett built home a half-mile west . A Texas Rangers ’ camp in area gave protection from Indians . Mrs . Pruett once made a midnight ride to alert rangers to approach of Apaches .
Pruett sold home , 1883 , to Fort Davis Commandant B . H . Grierson , and founded “ Lone Cottonwood ” Ranch 4 miles north . School was closed after he moved . In 1912 Pruett sold “ Cottonwood ” to H . L . Kokernot ; now several Kokernot ranches use it as headquarters .”
Very few details can be found about the first school built in Far West Texas . It was made to accommodate the children of ranching families ; it was situated roughly 12 miles south of what would become the town of Fort Davis . The Pruetts only lived at this homestead for a few years before moving to the north and establishing the Lone Cottonwood Ranch . The remains of the adobe schoolhouse , or what ’ s visible of them , are on private land and are not accessible .
28 Cenizo Fall 2021
BLACK GAP WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA BLACK GAP HEADQUARTERS , Brewster County FM 2627 , 1963
“ Black Gap , a natural cleft in the basalt ridge northeast of the Sierra del Carmen , frames the headquarters site of the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area .
“ Established in 1948 , the “ Gap ” contains approximately 100,000 acres representative of the rugged Big Bend country — the typical mountainous southwest .
“ Owned by the people of Texas and operated by the game and fish commission , the area is the scene of research and developmental work dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wildlife species indigenous to the region .
“ Mule deer , javelina , pronghorned antelope and scaled quail are among the principal game species managed . Work is in process to restore the bighorn sheep which , by the 1960s , were all but eliminated from Texas .
“ Scientific land use practices designed to increase the yield of natural foods for wildlife , have been instituted by the commission . Water retention and utilization is accomplished by the construction of water impoundments , diversion dams and ‘ push ups ’ seeded with native vegetation .
“ Research findings through demonstrations and educational extension programs conducted on this federal-state cooperative project , are available to surrounding landowners and others who are interested . Game surpluses produced on the black gap are harvested periodically by hunters under a controlled public hunt program .”
Harboring more than 300 species of birds and 50 species of mammals , Black Gap is the largest wildlife management area in Texas . It ’ s also the second oldest . In 1948 the initial parcels were purchased from the Combs Cattle Company for the purpose of wildlife research and education by the Texas Game , Fish and Oyster Commission .
In spite of its proximity to Big Bend National Park , Black Gap enjoys much lower visitation . Most visitors for ‘ non-consumptive ’ use ( hiking , canoeing and exploring ) will have the roads and trails to themselves . Permits for these activities cost a mere $ 12 for several months .
The Stillwell store and Hallie Stillwell Hall of Fame Museum on FM 2627 draw visitors to interpret the rich history of ranching and settler life , and hunters and fishers enjoy a variety of game and fish in this rich island of biodiversity .