Leaving Van Horn, we drove along the wide open spaces of I20 to Pecos (pronounced Peycuss) a small, dusty West Texas town amid working oil and natural gas fields.
Once set up at the RV park we visited the West of Pecos Museum, it was originally the Orient Hotel and once “the finest from Fort Worth to El Paso”. The building is constructed of Pecos Valley Red Sandstone the saloon opened in 1896 and the hotel in 1907.
There is a replica of the old saloon, along with brass plates on the floor showing where William Earheart and John Denson were shot and killed by Barney Riggs. One of the brass plates is to the right of this photograph.
Since 1907 hotel prices have increased somewhat and I don’t know what sort of wine you’d get these days for 25 cents a gallon!
The museum also has exhibits of towns that no either no longer exist or have just a few people living in them. One of which, Toyah, we passed on I20, once home to 5,000 people with 2 schools, several churches, 2 banks, over 17 saloons, 2 livery stables, an ice house and goodness knows what else, it’s now home to only 115 people. A quilt in the museum depicts what is left of the town.
Outside the museum is a replica of the house of Judge Roy Bean, famously known as the Law West of the Pecos.
Around the corner is the grave of Clay Allison, who according to legend, was a Confederate Spy and when captured escaped by slipping his unusually small hands through the manacles. He was known as the “Gentleman” gunfighter because it was said he never killed a man that didn’t need killing!
Cantaloupes grown in Pecos are famous for their flavour, I believe the soil in the area makes them particularly sweet. Unfortunately we didn’t get to try them as the season doesn’t start until the summer.
Pecos is also the home of the world’s first rodeo and a rodeo is held every year, usually during June.