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Uniquely West Texas: A look inside the Bruno Steel House of Ransom Canyon

RANSOM CANYON, Texas - Overlooking the community of Ransom Canyon, the Bruno Steel House is both a familiar sight, but still what many nearby residents describe a mystery.

James Hill, Ransom Canyon chief of police, shared he still finds himself pausing to take a glance at the distinct structure.

“I drive by and see it everyday, it’s beautiful,” Hill said. “Drive around, it’s very eclectic to say the least.”

Standing on four legs, three levels high and made up of 2,200 “space” of feet and 110 tons of steel, the legendary Bruno Steel House was left trusted in the careful hands of Henry Martinez.

“I treat it with gratitude. I’m not afraid of it. I just do it to continue his legacy,” Martinez said, determined to keep the late builder’s memory alive by preserving his creation as best he can.

Robert Bruno was a professor of architecture at Texas Tech. In 1974, he began working on the steel house, continuously making modifications to it and incorporating unique curves and colorful stained glass windows. In 2008, he died of cancer.

Martinez worked closely with Bruno up until his death. More than just a boss, Martinez looked to Bruno as a dear friend and a leader. He described Bruno as someone who truly valued education and was a very hard worker.

“He was a very kind man, very generous,” Martinez said. “As a friend of his, I learned a lot in my life from what he taught me.”

Although the house is empty, Martinez keeps busy with requests from visitors, tourists and groups of students interested in taking a look inside.  The house itself has also managed to capture the attention of world-renowned magazines like Vogue and Twill.

The house, though grandiose, is as modest in its structure as it is alluring. With every curve in the staircase and walls to the shimmering glass windows, Bruno’s legacy lives on its meticulous design.

“This house… It was perseverance.”


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