There’s a new game in town. Well, it’s soon to be in town, in Terlingua. Mavericks’ Ice House is nearly finished, but still has a way to go before its grand opening, according to owner Chuck Tise.
“Everything down here takes longer,” Tise observed, something he was well aware of before starting the project in January this year.
Tise fell in love with Terlingua after hearing Jerry Jeff Walker’s Viva Terlingua album in 1974. He longed to live there, but settled on frequent visits during the 40 years he lived in Wimberley and raised a family.
He eventually bought land in Terlingua, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that he jumped on the dream to live there full time.
When the house next to Big Bend River Tours on FM 170 came up for sale, Tise jumped again. He thought he would turn it into an Air BnB, but he was quickly inspired by a dream to do something much more involved. When all is said and done, Mavericks’ will be a family run bar, laundromat, dance hall, and playground, and will include a food truck.
“I have visions of laundry days where three or four families get together and turn a chore into something fun,” Tise said.
He and his crew of nephew and great nephew have been refurbishing the 30-year-old house for months.
“We’re all just hot and tired,” Tise chuckled, noting that they worked through the hottest days of summer.
It didn’t help that the entire structure had to be leveled and put on flexible jacks, since it rests on bentonite clay that is subject to the vagaries of weather. Updating the electrical and plumbing was no small task either. Creating an open space on the inside was an engineering feat requiring an exposed 12-inch by four-inch steel I-beam spanning 32 feet of ceiling. Adding ramps, porches, all-around windows, and a bar area are all on the done list.
Tise refuses to skimp on details. He’s cobbling together a desert-hearty, industrial-inspired vision using cast off roofing from old Terlingua houses, reclaimed wood from a chicken coop out of Gonzales, and one-of-a-kind art from local artists.
Tise designed the place with old icehouses in mind. They were places families would gather to cool off under fans circulating over blocks of ice. Modern touches, like indoor air conditioning and an outdoor misting system for the patios, will keep this icehouse in the current century.
People can gather to play horseshoes, washers, and cornhole outside, along with pool, darts, and shuffleboard inside. For kids, a fenced-in playground will be visible from an outdoor patio where parents can relax and keep a watchful eye.
Tise is open to ideas that evolve naturally on how to best utilize the space. That may include an after school music program for Terlingua school kids, something a couple of friends had suggested.
“The main thing is to make it a fun place,” said Tice.