The double pen, dogtrot log home Lucy Bugg and Claiborne Kyle built on a bluff, overlooking the Blanco River in Hays County, still stands where it was constructed in 1850. The one-story 80X20 foot, log house was built of cedar logs, hand dressed by adze, square notched at the corners and secured by wooden pegs. There are two rooms on each side of the dogtrot, each divided by a large, double-sided stone fireplace. It may be the only remaining example of a double pen, linear dogtrot log home on it original location in Texas, probably the South.
“It (Kyle log house) continues an architectural style begun in Massachusetts and Virginia, brought through Kentucky and Tennessee to Texas during the westward movement of the 19th century,” stated Eric S. McCready in a letter to Curtis Tunnell, acting director, National Register Program of the Texas Historical Foundation. Claiborne and Lucy lived there with eight of their own children and one adopted son after their move from Tennessee.
The historic log home was restored in 1982 using the same rock grouting and caliche technique. The tin roof was replaced with cedar shingles as the original. It was Hays County’s first parkland and is open to the public on designated days. Admission to the log house is always free.
Claiborne Kyle log house is open from spring until fall beginning with Blooms over the Blanco open house celebration which signals each year the open house season and held on the first Sunday after Easter each year from 2 to 5 pm. Homemade cookies and lemonade are served and visitors are often treated to a musical interlude from a WWI portable, Chaplin’s organ.
The log house is open the first Sunday of each month after Blooms over the Blanco from 2 to 5 pm. Commission members are on hand to answer any questions and lead informal tours.
Open house season closes with the Claiborne Kyle Fried Chicken Dinner festivities held the fourth Saturday in September from 11 am to 2 pm. Fresh chicken is cooked on the spot and sold with beans, potato salad, pickles, rolls, dessert and drink for a nominal contribution. It is a great time to meet and greet politicians who are running for office for a one on one conversation.
The log house is also open for special tours for schools or individuals simply by calling 512-826-8436. Area third graders visit the log house each spring and learn of life in early Hays County from commission members.
To reach the log house, take the Kyle Exit from IH 35 and travel west through town on Center Street. Turn left onto Old Stagecoach Road (County Road 136) and drive south to 2400 Old Stagecoach Road. Enter the gate and continue down the gravel road. There is plenty of parking beside the house.
Claiborne Kyle Log House Commission members are appointed by Hays County Commissioners to oversee the log house trust for its care and act as docents for visitors. Members currently include:
Cale Baese, Chairman
Anyone interested in making a contribution can make checks payable to the County of Hays, marked for Claiborne Kyle House Log House Trust Fund.