Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Talk about a tiny house.
When Everard Sharrock Jr. moved with his wife, Sarah, to far southwest Dallas in early 1847, he built a 210-square-foot cabin.
Their daughter Amy was born in the cabin that October.
The Sharrocks, part of Texas’ pioneering Peters Colony, established their homestead a year after the founding of Dallas County and two years after Texas became a state. At the time, it was a two-day trip to the town of Dallas, high on a limestone bluff. They built a barn and dug a root cellar and a well that provides fresh water to this day.
The Sharrock cabin was painstakingly restored in 2012. It was taken offsite, reassembled and placed back in its original location, near what is now Grady Niblo Road and Texas Highway Spur 408. The restoration of the Sharrock barn was completed in 2019. The buildings, two of the oldest in Dallas, recently won a preservation achievement award from Preservation Dallas.
Grady Niblo Sr. bought the property in 1934 and farmed it until the 1970s. After his son, a psychiatrist and public-health official who graduated from Sunset High School, died in 2005, the land and buildings were donated to the City of Dallas.
Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Besides the age of the structure, it’s rare for a pioneer cabin anywhere to remain on its original site, says archaeologist Missy Green, who worked on the Sharrock restoration.
The barn and the cabin were built of Eastern red cedar logs and white limestone, and there are no nails.
To reconstruct the barn, the City of Dallas built a temporary pavilion over the top of it for preservation. Underneath, a modern concrete foundation was laid for stability, but it isn’t visible.
Workers kept as many of the barn’s original logs as possible, but where they were too deteriorated, they removed the old logs and crafted replacements, using “historically informed methods” of construction, implementing some of the same tools that would’ve been used 170 years ago, historic preservationist Ron Seibler says.
The barn cost about $925,000 to restore and was funded from a 2017 bond.
The City of Dallas has plans to create a park around the Sharrock farmstead, which also includes a house built in 1927 and is envisioned as a visitor center for the planned park.
City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department project manager Raul De La Rosa noticed, on the 170th anniversary of the founding of Fort Worth, that the Sharrock buildings are older than that city.
“It’s one of the only places in Dallas where you can see something this old,” he says. “And it’s so unusual for it all to be in the original location.”