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Val Verde County Markers
Texas (Val Verde County), Comstock — 13410 — The Pecos River in Literature and Folklore
Noted for mineral-thick waters and sudden floods, the Pecos River snakes through Texas on its way to the Rio Grande. Historian J. Evetts Haley and folklorist J. Frank Dobie, who called it “a strange river,” and a “barricade,” are among many who have immortalized the Pecos in writing. Zane Grey wrote, "Rising clear and cold in the mountains of northern New Mexico, its pure waters cut through rough country that changed its flood to turbid red." Storytellers have likened . . . — Map (db m56006) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — Camp Hudson, C.S.A.
When U. S. Troops were surrendered at outbreak of Civil War, camp became Confederate frontier outpost 1861-1862 to guard military road, escort supply trains, curb hostile Indians. Manned by 2nd Texas Cavalry. Texas Confederate Troops used as supply base in route to and from New Mexico campaign to stop flow of gold to north and gain access to pacific. Routine camp life prompted camp newspaper written to amuse troops who fervently desired to fight for Dixie. Located center of county on South Bank Devil's River. — Map (db m52680) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — 13504 — Medal of Honor Fight, 1875
In the 1870s, the U.S. Army relied on Black Seminole (Seminole-Negro) Indian scouts in campaigns against raiding Native Americans along the Texas-Mexico border. In April 1875, Lt. John L. Bullis and three scouts -- Sergeant John Ward, Private Pompey Factor and Trumpeter Isaac Payne -- left Fort Clark to scout for raiders in this area. After four days, they found a fresh trail and on April 25, within a half-mile of this site, they engaged a party of about 30 Comanche Indians with dozens of . . . — Map (db m35448) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — Old Perry Building — Whitehead Memorial Museum
Erected 1871, before Del Rio was founded, by John Perry, as general store. Once the largest store between San Antonio and El Paso. Served also as courthouse, church, Masonic lodge, post office. Given in 1965 to city and county by descendants of Walter and Will Whitehead. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1966 Map (db m36411) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — 14013 — Operation Brass Knob
Laughlin Air Force Base pilots flew secret surveillance missions during the height of the Cold War. The Strategic Air Command formed the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing in 1956, utilizing high altitude Martin RB-57D and Lockheed U-2 aircraft for covert surveillance of the Soviet Union. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used U-2s, most staged from Laughlin AFB, to monitor activities in the Caribbean following the Cuban Revolution. Based on intelligence reports, President John Kennedy . . . — Map (db m36893) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — Pecos High Bridge
Southern Pacific Railroad was first to cross Pecos River ( 1891) with High Bridge. At that time, it was world’s longest (2,180 ft) and highest (321 ft. above water) railroad bridge. In June 1923, the Texas Highway Department constructed a bridge (50 ft. above water) to replace old canyon-bottom crossing. This bridge was washed away, 1954, and was replaced by two low-water interim bridges, the second of which washed out the day the present bridge was dedicated. This bridge, 1310 ft . . . — Map (db m35485) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — Pecos River High Bridge
High canyon walls dominate the last 60 miles of the Pecos River before it enters the Rio Grande. The Southern Pacific Railroad built the first high bridge across the Pecos in 1891. The first highway bridge to span the river was built one mile down river from here in 1923. Just 50 feet above water, the 1923 bridge was destroyed by floodwaters in 1954. Two temporary low water bridges built nearby in 1954 and 1955 also were destroyed by floodwaters. A new 1,310-feet long bridge was completed here . . . — Map (db m36940) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — 4376 — Roy Bean, C. S. A.
Born in Kentucky. A trader in Mexico, 1848. Mining in New Mexico when Civil War broke out. As spy and scout, joined Texans in the Command of Gen. John R. Baylor during the 1861-1862 Arizona-New Mexico Campaign. Organized irregular company called "Free Rovers". In a narrow canyon, took part in capture of 800 Federals by 250 Confederates. After 1862 was a Confederate freighter, hauling cotton to Matamoros from San Antonio and bringing into Texas wartime goods: guns, ammunition, medicines, cloth, . . . — Map (db m36963) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — 4639 — Seminole-Negro Scouts
Serving with the U. S. Army at Forts Duncan and Clark and Camp Del Rio (1870-1881), the Scouts were key figures in ridding Texas of hostile Indians. The 100 Scouts were mainly descendants of runaway slaves who had intermarried with the Florida Seminoles, later moved to Oklahoma Indian Territory. They were invaluable because of their uncanny trailing skill, bravery, and ability to survive on meager rations (including rattlesnakes) during months of tracking. During an 8-year span of . . . — Map (db m36407) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — 4742 — Site of Camp Del Rio
A United State Army post was established in this area on September 6, 1876. Originally known as Camp San Felipe, it was an outpost of Fort Clark (28 mi. E), one of a chain of military fortifications constructed to defend isolated settlements of the Southwest Texas frontier. General E.O.C. Ord, Commander of the Department of Texas, created the camp to protect the border area from raiding parties of Indians in Mexico who entered Texas to secure horses along the Pecos and Devils Rivers. In . . . — Map (db m71196) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — 13112 — The Carter Family In Del Rio
Known as country music's First Family, the Carter family first found national acclaim while on XERA radio. Owned by Dr. John R. Brinkley, the powerful radio station across the Rio Grande from Del Rio reached listeners around the country. A.P. Carter, his wife Sara, and his sister-in-law, Maybelle, first broadcast from the station during the 1938-39 season. For the next few years, they and others performed gospel and folk standards, early elements of country music. Often opening their . . . — Map (db m36894) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — 5300 — The Cassinelli Gin House
Italian Stonemason G.B. Cassinelli and his partner John Taini were recruited in their native county by an American contractor who wanted them to construct buildings in New York. Shortly after their arrival in the United States, the project failed and they went to work for the railroads. Later, they were hired by the Federal Government to construct several stone buildings at Fort Clark in Brackettville. When that project was completed, they came to Del Rio to work on the Val Verde County . . . — Map (db m36895) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — U.S. Army Camel Corps
U.S. Army Camel Corps The proposal to use camels for commerce and transportation in the arid southwest came about in the 1830s, but it was under U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis that the idea became a reality. The first shipment of camels arrived on the Texas Gulf Coast in 1856, and they were taken to Camp Verde (150 mi. NE of here) for training. Several expeditions made their way west through Del Rio, and this park was the site of one of their camps. Although the officers in charge wrote . . . — Map (db m36889) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Del Rio — Val Verde County Courthouse Square
Organized in 1885 from sections of Crockett, Kinney, and Pecos Counties, Val Verde County was named for a Civil War battle in New Mexico which involved Texas Confederate Forces. The growing railroad town of Del Rio was chosen as the seat of Government and Commissioners set up offices in a commercial building on Perry Street, now South Main. Soon after formation of the county, the Limestone Jail was built here on a corner of the public square. During construction of the courthouse, it provided . . . — Map (db m52678) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — Near Site, Southern Pacific Ceremony of Silver Spike
Marked completion of Southern Pacific Railway. Eastern part originated in Texas in 1850s; then was rechartered 1870 by Texas Legislature as Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Rwy., designed to join Houston and San Antonio to the Rio Grande. T. W. Pierce of Boston gained control in 1874. Meantime, C. P. Huntington of California was building the Southern Pacific eastward; he wanted a Texas line to join his tracks, and reached agreement with Pierce. On Jan. 12, 1883, the two railroads met near . . . — Map (db m36447) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — Eagle’s Nest
Humans are believed to have traveled through the remote and dramatic landscape near the confluence of the Pecos River and the Rio Grande for centuries. For years, the cliff across the river from this site was home to a pair of golden eagles, whose nest gave name to the canyon and crossing downstream from it, as well as the community that began on this side of the Rio Grande as a railroad camp. The crossing was used by Indian tribes, ranchers, soldiers and Texas Rangers. The town, later known as . . . — Map (db m5821) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — Fitzsimmons-Maher Prizefight
In 1896, Judge Roy Bean made national headlines with a unique boxing match held at this site. Robert James Fitzsimmons was to fight James J. Corbett, the heavyweight champion, but the Legislature had outlawed boxing in Texas. While promoters sought a new location for the match, Corbett retired, handing the title to Irishman Peter Maher, who soon agreed to fight Fitzsimmons. Bean arranged for spectators, the press and Texas Rangers to travel by train from El Paso to Langtry, where he held the . . . — Map (db m5802) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — 2749 — Jersey Lily Saloon (1882 - 1903)
"Law West of the Pecos" Courtroom. Named for Judge Bean's idol, actress Lillie Langtry. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1965. — Map (db m26541) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — Langtry
Langtry was created in 1882, when the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railroad, later known as Southern Pacific, signed a deed with the Torres family, who owned the land. The town, which provided water for locomotives, developed from a tent town to a bustling settlement after the rail line was completed. The town was most likely named for George Langtry, who led an area rail building crew. Lore, though, links the town's most famous inhabitant to its naming; Roy Bean, who owned a local . . . — Map (db m5791) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — Law West of the Pecos
Judge Roy Bean lived a life in which fiction became so intermingled with fact that he became a legend within his lifetime. Basis for his renown were the decisions which he reached in this building as the Law West of the Pecos. Court was held as frequently on the porch, spectators grouped about on horseback, as within the building. Nor was Bean above breaking off proceedings long enough to serve customers seeking services dispensed by the other businesses carried on in his courtroom-home. . . . — Map (db m5822) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — Railroad Bridges Over the Pecos
A major tributary of the Rio Grande, the Pecos River was long a barrier to transportation, particularly across the deep gorge that once marked its joining with the Rio Grande. Construction of the first railroad bridge over the Pecos took place in 1882 as part of the transcontinental route of the Southern Pacific Railroad across the lower portion of the United States. Access to the bridge, which was then deep in the canyon, was by means of a circuitous route and two tunnels. In 1890, Southern . . . — Map (db m36445) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — Robert Thomas Hill
Tennessee native Robert T. Hill (1858-1941) moved to Comanche, Texas at age 16 and developed an interest in Texas geology. Educated at Columbia University, he worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Texas and as State Geologist. Known as the Father of Texas geology, he identified many of the state's geological features and regions. In 1899, he and five others surveyed the Rio Grande. Beginning in Presidio, the team charted the river's path through steep canyons and perilous . . . — Map (db m5820) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — Site of Vinegarroon
Crossing the Pecos River Canyon was the last major obstacle the Southern Pacific Railroad faced in completing its southern transcontinental route linking New Orleans and San Francisco. As "Tunnel No. 2" was excavated on the west side of the canyon in 1882, a camp for the railroad workers was established near the site. Named Vinegarroon for a type of scorpion found in the area, the camp served as a temporary home for thousands of primarily Chinese laborers. Roy Bean had a saloon and served as . . . — Map (db m36442) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — The Torres Family
In the 1870-80s, brothers Cesario, Bernardo and Juan Torres were prominent west Texas citizens due to their irrigation work in the region. For work out west, Bernardo received land in Val Verde County at the Rio Grande - Pecos River confluence. His land was chosen as the route of the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio rail line. After Bernardo's death in 1882, Cesario acquired the land, established the 7D ranch and gave land for the railroad tracks and depot. His son, Jesus Pablo "J. P." . . . — Map (db m5801) HM
Texas (Val Verde County), Langtry — William H. Dodd
Born in 1868, England native William H. Dodd settled in Val Verde County by 1894, establishing a ranch and general merchandise store. He also served as postmaster, operating the post office from his store, which occupied this site for many years. Dodd and his wife, Lula, also owned a rooming and boarding house and were both active in the Langtry community. She organized town festivals, and between 1892 and 1933, he served in many official positions, including Justice of the Peace and County . . . — Map (db m5800) HM
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