- Magoffin Home
State Historic Site
- Magoffin Home State Historic site tells the story of frontier trade
by wagon train, American expansion, Historic ties with Mexico and the advance
of refinement on the Southwestern Frontier. Through the Magoffin Family
and Home, visitors can glimpse 19th Century adventures and conflicts: Travel
on the Santa Fe Trail, hardship of the Mexican War turmoil of the Civil
War, impact of Railroads and settlement of the West.
- James Wiley Magoffin
- Born in Kentucky, James Wiley Magoffin ventured to Mexico in the early 1820s seeking adventure and opportunity. There he married the socially prominent Maria Gertrudis Valdez de Veramendi in 1834. His business sense and respect for Mexican culture won him standing as a trusted trader and merchant on the Santa Fe and Chihuahua Trails. Magoffin's influence extended into politics as he arranged the peaceful surrender of the New Mexico Territory to American forces during the Mexican War.
- After the war, James Magoffin settled opposite El Paso del Norte. There,
he established a trading post that catered to speculators and settlers
as they rushed to the California gold fields. The community surrounding
the trading post, named Magoffinsville, flourished and was the forerunner
of present-day El Paso.
- Joseph Magoffin
- Born in Chihuahua, Mexico and educated in private schools in Kentucky and Missouri, Joseph Magoffin joined his father, James, in Magoffinsville in 1856. Joseph married Octavia MacGreal of Victoria, Texas in 1864 while serving in the Confederate Army.
- Following the Civil War, the couple settled in El Paso. While Octavia's life centered on their children, James and Josephine, Joseph's attention turned to the construction of their residence and the growing community. One of the incorporators of El Paso in 1873, his active civic and political life included four terms as mayor, and the establishment of city utilities, the first hospital and the first public schools. His business interests were equally extensive and ranged from banking and real estate to transportation.
- The Magoffin Home
- In 1873, Joseph recovered his father's property, which federal officials
seized after the Civil War, and began construction
of the family's home. What began as a small, three-room house grew to twenty
rooms between 1875 and 1901. The house is a prime example of Territorial style
architecture.This style took the native material of the Southwest, abobe and
embellished it with Victorian touches, inside and out. Built in phases, the
single story structure has three wings arranged around an open patio. The exterior
was plastered and scored to give the appearance of large stone blocks.
- Historical photographs of the home's interiors taken between 1887 and 1910 reveal typical late-Victorian decorations, furnishings and arrangements. Carpets, wall paper and painted or papered ceilings reflected the home of a locally prominent family of the time.
- In the late 1920's the home's interiors were remodeled and modernized in the Mission Revival style. Gas heat was installed and the utilities were updated. It was home to four generations of Magoffins, spanning 110 years. Many of the original 1880s Eastlake style furnishings remain in the home today.
- The last Residents:
- Among the later residents of the Magoffin home were Joseph and Octavia's
daughter, Josephine, and her husband, army officer William Jefferson Glasgow,
whom she had married in 1896. Although the couple and their five children
moved often during Glasgow's military career, they did return to El Paso
and settled in the Magoffin house in 1927. After their deaths in the 1960s
and the home's purchase by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the City
of El Paso, daughter Octavia Glasgow continued to live in the house until
she died in 1986.