• Visiting The Ghost Town That Was Terlingua

    ghosttowntexas.com

    ghosttowntexas.com

    Looking For A Texas Adventure?

    From time to time here on Texansunited.com, we bring you a Texas site that we think is worth the time and effort to visit. This week United took a look at Texas’ most visited ghost town: Terlingua, located in southwest Texas near Big Bend National Park.

    Terlingua was able to spring up as a thriving mining settlement of about 2,000 in the later 1800s for two reasons: (1) the discovery of the cinnabar from which mercury can be extracted and (2) the removal of the Indian threat from that area.

    Terlingua was a sprawling camp of temporary sheds and shelters composed of various kinds of material, such as tin, canvas, old sacks, sticks, and adobe bricks. The only permanent buildings were the commissary and smelter. There were from 200-300 laborers of Mexicans. They seemed to be temporary, for very few of them had families.”  

    TERLINGUAhttp://www.legendsofamerica.com/tx-terlingua.html

     “The Chisos Mining Company also owned and operated the entire town of Terlingua. It ran the large general store, provided a company doctor, operated the post office, the Chisos Hotel, a commissary, erratic telephone service, a dependable water service, and a school. Later, it would also operate a gasoline station, a theater and a confectionary shop…

    “…As production increased, Perry turned to more industrialized methods, including the installation of a 20-ton Scott Furnace in 1908. Exploration continued, and in 1914 the company discovered one of the richest veins of cinnabar ore in the Terlingua district. This discovery coincided with the outbreak of World War I, and with the increased military demands for the product, the company entered its most successful period. The following year, a bigger and even more modern furnace was installed. Prior to the use of mechanized vehicles in the early 1930s, mule-drawn wagon trains delivered the quicksilver to the railroad at Alpine, Texas. Within one ten-day period in September, 1916 two carloads of quicksilver from the Chisos Mine were shipped from Alpine, valued at more than $50,000…

    “The following year, a bigger and even more modern furnace was installed. Prior to the use of mechanized vehicles in the early 1930s, mule-drawn wagon trains delivered the quicksilver to the railroad at Alpine, Texas. Within one ten-day period in September, 1916 two carloads of quicksilver from the Chisos Mine were shipped from Alpine, valued at more than $50,000…

    “…Though secrecy surrounded the operation, it was estimated that by 1934 the company had sold over $12 million in mercury and one employee claimed the company averaged daily profits of $2,000 during the early war years. But, like other mines, it wouldn’t last forever. After 1936 production declined, and on October 1, 1942, the company filed for bankruptcy. It was sold on March 15, 1943 to the Texas Railway Equipment Company for $81,000. It was then operated as the Esperado Mine through the end of World War II in 1945. Afterwards, the surface installations were sold for salvage…”

    Today, Terlingua is famous for its annual chili cook-off. The old general store is a gift shop, and visitors visit the old cantina to schedule their rafting trips. The ghost town also offers a popular dinner theater along with hiking and other outdoor activities.

    About Fredda Jones

    Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
    This entry was posted in Down The Road, Just Texas! Presenting Bloggers From Texansunited.com and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

    3 Responses to Visiting The Ghost Town That Was Terlingua

    1. missyjones says:

      When Darrell Jones and I married in 1959, he was already living at McCamey, Texas, 50 miles right south of Odessa. this was the “oil patch”, and we married Christmas, 1959. In the spring of 1960, we decided to make a trip to “the Big Bend”. I got information and called for hotel information, etc. the lady at the Lodge took down our names. At that time, in the spring of the year, it was already 120 degrees in McCamey. I asked her about air conditioned rooms. She said you won’t need AC here. Now, I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday, and Darrell and I laughed and laughed. We did get to the office and cabins up in the basin at the Big Bend Park, and we looked in the closet and there was 3 or 4 wool blankets on the shelf. Hey, that night, as soon as the sun went down, it started getting cold, and we slept under the blankets every night we were there. We fell in love with the “Bend” and made many trips, maybe two trips a year until probably 1995. Back to Terlingua, we would take our travel trailer when we went out there, and you couldn’t pull a big trailer up into the basin where the cabins were at, so we would set up our trailer at Terlingua, at the west of the park or maybe Rio Grande Campground, at the east end of the park. That way, we could travel all over all day and have a place to sleep at night. Terlingua had a pretty little park, right on the edge of Terlingua creek. this is the prettiest place in the United States, and we always treasured our trips and the wonderful people that we met. I could write a short novel about this. Missy Jones

    2. missyjones says:

      Fredda, more on Terlingua. Every time we parked here, we would get in the pickup and drive around the country, coming back to our trailer and the camp for the night. There is an old cemetery there, dating back to the days of the mining company. We always went there, sometimes taking flowers to put on some of the graves. And we could see that several people were buried there in later years. Most of the graves were edged with adobe bricks, and lots of them had old wooden crosses on the grave, it had been carved with the persons name in earlier times. We loved going there. Missy Jones

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