FunStuff

The Texas Visitor Center at Langtry is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CT seven days a week. You have to go through it to get to the Jersey Lily Saloon, and Judge Roy Beans home. In addition to those attractions there is a nature trail through a cactus garden, and the visitor’s center has Video Theatre and Interpretive Displays. It is free to visit the Jersey Lily and the rest of the displays.

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This is the actual building in its original location where Judge Roy Bean dispensed his justice.

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Below is the “Opera House” which is where Judge Bean lived.

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We did the nature walk and enjoyed the plants on display.

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Leaving the visitor’s center we spotted this huge cactus.

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Small store where you can buy drinks and snacks is also the US Post Office.

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Leaving Langtry we passed a small non-denominational church.

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Rocksprings is the county seat of Edwards County, TX.    It is located on the Edwards Plateau in the Texas Hill Country.  Because of the springs the area was a campsite for sheep/cattle ranchers as early as 1882.  When the Edwards County courthouse at Leakey burned in 1888,  a new, more centrally located site was selected for the county seat.   This campsite was selected and  a town was platted .  A post office opened in 1891.  It was originally called Rock Springs.

First we went looking for two letterboxes in the Rocksprings Cemetery. “Edwards Plateau” and “Mohair Sam”.

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In town we went to the courthouse square were we found the old Edwards County jail.  This limestone jail, built in 1891, no longer houses inmates it is vacant.

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The Edwards County Courthouse was built in 1891 out of limestone in the Romanesque Revival Style.

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There was a really neat statue on the corner of the courthouse square of an Angora Goat.  These goats originally came from Turkey.  Their wool is now a major income source to this county.

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The bank across from the courthouse also salutes the Angora trade with mosaic portraits on their wall.

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We only found one old church.

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We were in Salado to do the Volksmarching event, so I took this opportunity to stop by the Sculpture Garden. The sculptures are not permanent. So there is always something new to be seen. These are some of the new ones.

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St. Mary’s Catholic Church – High Hill is another one of the “Painted Churches” in central Texas. Another church with elaborate painted ceilings & stained glass windows.

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My photographs don’t do justice to this beautiful church either. You should visit it yourself!

Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Praha is one of several “Painted Churches” in central Texas. These “Painted Churches” were built by early settlers from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia. They decorated their churches with elaborate painted ceilings & stained glass windows.

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My photographs don’t do justice to this beautiful church. You should visit it yourself!

McCamey is on U.S.  67 five miles east of the Pecos River in southwestern Upton County.  We stopped there to visit the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway Depot.  It is a one story wood frame combination passenger/freight depot relocated to the city park.

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Further up U.S. 67 is Rankin which is the county seat of Upton County.  Our first stop was at the Rankin Museum, but it didn’t open until 2 o’clock so we didn’t get to go in.   The museum is housed in the former “Yates Hotel”.  Ira Yates built the three-story, 46-room sandy brick hotel in 1927 at the height of the oil boom that exploded on the Pecos County ranch he owned. 

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We then went looking for the First Church in Upton County.  The “Rankin Union Church” was a non-denominational church.  The small rock church, finished in 1915, housed the local school for two years. It was county’s only church until the late 1920s. It was sold to the Methodists in 1939.

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We visited the county courthouse before moving on.  This is the second courthouse for the county.  The first one was in Upland.  The county seat moved here in 1925 and the modern brick building was completed in 1926.  It was extensively remodeled in 1958.

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Continuing up U.S. 67 you come to Big Lake.  It is the county seat of Reagan County.  Our first stop was at a vintage movie theater.  The Palace Theater opened sometime prior to 1932 and it is unknown when it closed.  It sits vacant, name gone from the marquee waiting to be rescued.

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A couple block away sits the Reagan County Courthouse.  This is the third courthouse for the county, but the first one in Big Lake.  The first two were in Stiles, TX.  This three-story Renaissance style building was erected in 1927 and is made of brick in a variegated pattern.

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We headed over to North Park where the Stiles Jail is on display.  When the county seat moved to Big Lake in 1927 and so did the 1903 wood jailhouse from Stiles.  Not sure when it was replaced and moved to the park.

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Also in the park is another Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Depot.  The wood combination passenger/freight depot dates from 1911.  It is now used as a meeting hall. 

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Further along U.S. 67 is Mertzon.  It is the county seat of Irion County. So we stopped to visit the courthouse.  A 1936 election changed the county seat from Sherwood to Mertzon. The 1937 Irion County Courthouse is a plain brick building without a hint of decoration.

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The former courthouse in Sherwood is still standing so we visited it also. The first permanent courthouse for Irion County is made of stone that was quarried nearby. It is now privately owned and is available to rent for special events and festivals.

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Our next stop was in San Angelo the county seat of Tom Green County.  We’ve visited here numerous times, but there is still some things I had missed taking pictures of.

On the courthouse lawn is a fountain.  In the middle of the fountain, a putto stands on an urn that has lion heads on either side rather than handles. The urn is the fountain bowl which is mounted on a pedestal base.

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Across the street is the public library.  But it wasn’t always a library.  It started out life as the  Hemphill-Wells Department Store.  What I like about the building is the cast concrete relief sculptures on the west wall, facing Irving Street. Figures in the work are a “salute the business, agriculture and professional faces of the San Angelo economy,” by artist Remo Scardigli.

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We must leave U.S. 67 to get to our next location of Paint Rock.  Paint Rock is the county seat for Concho County.  To get there we took the back roads (FM380
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First we visited the over 100 year old First United Methodist Church.  The church has come a long way since August 26, 1891, when the cornerstone was laid by Grand Master of Texas. The church added classrooms to the south side of the building during the late 1920s and in 1945 the Women’s Society members worked to add rich beauty to our church with beautiful stained-glass windows. In the late 1950s an Educational Building was added.

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We then visited the Concho County Courthouse.  It was built in 1886.  The architecture is “French Second Empire”.  The use of rusticated stone which came from a quarry only a few miles away is unusual in this style.

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And so our trip ends.  Next stop – home!

Fort Stockton is the county seat for Pecos County.  We spent the night here so we had time to look around.  There is metal artwork along I-10 headed into town.

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Fountains, artwork, and cabooses at the Santa Fe Depot.

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Santa Fe Railroad Depot – North of I-10.  Small rock building was erected in 1909.  It is now the Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.

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Paisano Pete sits just south of  I-10 on a triangular patch of land where US 90, US 385, and US 285 met.  Paisano Pete, was erected in 1980 and declared the largest roadrunner in the world, at 11 feet tall and 22 feet long. Since that time a larger replica of a roadrunner has been constructed of recycled materials in New Mexico.  He was named a True Texas Icon and a Town Mascot in the September 2011 issue of Texas Highway’s magazine.

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First National Bank Building – Built in 1912, this structure originally housed the First National Bank of Fort Stockton. Established two years earlier, the bank failed during the years of the great depression.  The structure exhibits Neo-Classical styling and features massive Doric columns that support an elaborate pediment.  It is now home to the Fort Stockton Police Department.

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Pecos County Courthouse – 1883 Classical Revival done in stone. According to The Courthouses of Texas: a Guide by Mavis P. Kelsey and Donald H. Dyal, this is the only courthouse that Pecos County has ever had. The guide states that the courthouse (built in 1883) once had a dome that was added during a remodeling in 1911-12. The dome is believed to have been removed sometime in the 1930s.

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Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church – This church was originally built in Pecos in 1896 then sold and moved to its present location in 1958.  The frame church reflects styling of the late Victorian period.

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Next to the little church is a home and a one room school.

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