Headquarters for the El Paso County Historical Society
The Burges House in the Sunset Heights Historic District was built for Richard Fenner Burges by contractor J. E. Morgan. Alterations and additions were made in 1927 under the direction of architect Otto H. Thorman. Facing west, the two-story house carries the Adams Architectural style from the Georgian Revival manner popular in El Paso from 1881 to 1940. The Burges House is an El Paso Historic Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places, and was designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1993.
Alterations and additions by Thorman in 1927 included the removal of dormers from the roof, an added
portico with fluted columns of the Doric order and upstairs sleeping porch with entrance vestibule below,
and a new screened porch on back. Plans were drawn at this time for a 26” x 21” library room which was
added on the back of the house and an open porch on the south side of the house.
The Burges house is available for small group (less than 25) meetings. Call 533-3603 or e-mail:
This Live Oak tree was planted by Richard Burges in 1915 and is most probably the first (and oldest) Live Oak
in El Paso. Thanks to Bernie Sargent for this information from a Feb. 18 El Paso Times article.
"When I am forever from this life
Erect no marble shaft for me
But plant, somewhere upon a dusty road
An acorn in my memory.
And plant it deeply that the seed may spring
Into an oak some distant day
A tall and stately tree to spread kind shade
For travelers that come that way
And hold its boughswide-spread
To welcome there small feathered creatures
On the wing
That they may find sanctuary and the world
May share the loveliness they sing.
Then I shall rest in peace, content to know
I have a monument where oak trees grow". - Richard Fenner Burges
RICHARD FENNER BURGES(January 7, 1873 - January 13, 1945)
Richard F. Burges was born at Seguin, Texas to Bettie (Rust) and William H. Burges,Sr After his
education in the public schools, Richard attended Texas A&M for one year. In 1892 he followed his older
brother William, and his uncle, Dr.W.M. Yandell to El Paso where he studied law in Williams’ office, then
was admitted to the bar in 1894.
From the time he came to El Paso, Burges played a prominent part in the development of El Paso and
the Southwest. As city attorney from 1905 to 1907 he led the fight against organized gambling and wrote
the city charter that was still in effect at the time of his death.
initiation and development of the Elephant Butte Dam project and was elected president of the National
Irrigation Congress in 1915.
In June 1917 Burges organized Company B, Texas National Guard which was incorporated into the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division as Company A, 141st Infantry. He commanded his battalion in the battle of the Argonne and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for distinguished service. Serving under Burges was Sam Dreben, the “Fighting Jew”, called by Gen. Pershing the ‘bravest man in the AEF”. Burges was promoted to Major just before returning home at the end of the war.
In 1898, Richard F. Burges married Ethel Petrie Shelton, an estimable young lady of a prominent family.
Ethel died in April, 1912 when the Burges house was in its’ early stages of construction. To Richard and
Ethel Burges was born a daughter, Jane.
Upon Richards’ death in 1945, Jane inherited the estate, and, on Janes’ death in 1986, she bequeathed
the Burges home to The El Paso County Historical Society.