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.












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.
















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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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




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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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After walking around downtown we explored some sites further out by car.

In 2013 El Paso’s City Hall was demolished, making way for this new ballpark.  The tower on the ballpark holds a clock.

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Scottish Rite Temple – Gustavus A. Trost designed the three-story building which was completed in 1916. 


The sphinxes that guard the entrance to the temple were cast in Perth Amboy, NJ, by the Federal-Seaboard Terra Cotta Company (which ceased to operate in 1968) and shipped to El Paso by truck.  Each sphinx is 10 feet long and weighs 4,000 pounds. The official dedication took place at the Scottish Rite Reunion on October 20, 1966.


Across the street from the temple is a park with a statue of a cavalryman.  (On front of base) is this inscription:


The Aztec Pavilion is a permanent installation commissioned by the City of El Paso, Texas with the assistance of a federal Renewable Energy Demonstration grant. The sculpture is composed entirely of CorTen steel and features ceiling rings intricately cut to form a copy of the Aztec Calendar.  9 solar panels collect energy to power AC outlets & lighting, returning unused power to the city grid.  Educational signage near the structure provides an introduction to solar technology and a detailed description of how the pavilion works.

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Old Bnai Zion Synagogue – Late Gothic Revival style temple built in 1912. It serve the Jewish community until it was sold in 1916 to provide funds for a new larger synagogue.  Today the little temple is part of El Paso Community College’s Rio Grande Campus. 


Saint Patrick Cathedral – Located downtown, the Cathedral is a work of art and it is one of El Paso’s historical landmarks. It is the seat of the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso.


First Baptist Church – Adobe Church built in 1906, was home to First Baptist Church for twenty years.  It is now called Magoffin Hall and it is an event venue for meetings, weddings, quinceaneras, and more. It is owned and operated by Catholic Daughters of America.


Annunciation House is a flatiron building in the “Y” where Olive Ave and E. San Antonio Ave come together.  It is listed as a contributing building in the National Register of Historical Places (NRHP) application for the Magoffin Historic District.

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Another NRHP is the house at 912 Magoffin Avenue.       It is a Queen Anne Style built in 1902. Red brick walls, elaborate architectural details, high pitched roof with a wraparound porch make it a distinctive design.  The lot is surrounded by a decorative chest-high wrought iron fence.


Morrison House is another Victorian house.  It is a two story, red brick house with prominent front gable wing and side gable wings. Queen Anne features include octagonal roof topped by a steep pitched octagonal turret, finial embellishments in roof crowns, and a shingle band at top of the porch.


Our last stop in El Paso was to see the Monastery of Perpetual Adoration.  It is a designated Landmark building and its golden dome and arched Gothic dormers are visible from blocks away. Built in 1938 it is home to the Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.


We are now headed back East.



We got up early and started a walking tour of El Paso. This is a fascinating city.

Built in 1914 by Henry Charles Trost as the Alhambra Theater, the Moorish style movie theater was later renamed the Palace Theater.


St. Charles Hotel – The combination of materials, stone blocks, brick, cast iron, tile and tin is typical of the elaborate Queen Anne Victorian Style.


State National Bank – Second Renaissance style building made of granite and glazed terra cotta designed by Henry C. Trost. Begun March 1921, opened to the public 1-30-1922.


Caples Building – Richard Caples, mayor of El Paso from 1889 to 1893, commissioned Henry C. Trost to design what would become El Paso’s first reinforced concrete building. Most of the principal facades were covered with brick, and the concrete shows only in the sparse use of ornamentation. The top two stories have terracotta detailing and arched windows.


Popular Department Store – The Popular Department Store is another design by architect Henry C. Trost in the Chicago Commercial Style using all white terra cotta. Built in 1917 The Popular opened as a modern department store with a six-story building on Mesa and San Antonio Streets. The Popular, “La Popular,” served the El Paso, southern New Mexico and Chihuahua region for 93 years. In 1995, the devalued peso and Mexico’s recession along with the newly enacted North American Free Trade Agreement posed an economic strain to the region. All Popular stores were closed on November 6, 1995.


The El Paso County Courthouse is a modern style steel & concrete building completed in 1991. It has an Alamo shaped red granite entrance on the north side which extends upward to the height of the fifth floor. The remainder of the building is sheathed in sky-blue reflective glass.


The United States Courthouse is a Neo-Classical Revival composition with Art Deco influences built in 1936.


O.T. Bassett Tower – Completed in 1930, the fifteen-story, setback skyscraper rises over a larger one-story base. Henry C. Trost was commissioned to design the building. The entrance is an elaborate display of Art Deco design elements including a frieze of plant designs in square plaques just above the ground story. Ten eagle sentries guard the 15th floor.


The mustachioed face over the main entrance is reputed to be that of Henry C. Trost himself.



Abdou Building – Constructed in 1910 for the Rio Grande Valley Bank. The bank closed on 04/15/1920. The building was renamed after being purchased by prominent businessman Sam Abdou in 1925.


Main Post Office – Constructed in 1917, and in continuous operation since then, the two-story building is considered one of the most noteworthy eclectic Roman styles in far West Texas.


Hotel Cortez – Renaissance Style building designed by Trost & Trost. At the time it opened this was the largest hotel between Dallas and Los Angeles. The entrance on Mesa Street has a five-story cast relief portal and ornamented windows on the 6th & 7th floors.

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San Jacinto Plaza was once the site of the corrals for Ponce de León’s ranch. A public square was donated to the town and in 1903 the City Council named it San Jacinto Plaza, in honor of the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, Texas. The City contracted with J. Fisher Satterwaite to create beauty out of this desert patch. He surrounded the park with a fence, created a walled pond, erected a gazebo and planted 75 Chinese Elm trees. He also introduced three alligators into the pond. The reptiles thrived. The plaza has been remodeled several times. In 1967, the pond was removed and the alligators placed into the City Zoo. Fiberglass alligators are reminders of the real alligators that once lived in a pond here.

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Roberts-Banner Building – Five story U-shaped concrete building of Romanesque style designed by Henry C. Trost for M.D. Roberts and W.M. Banner, prominent New Mexico stockmen. Each floor’s frieze shows ornate details of European and Mesoamerican-influenced designs — heraldic, floral and speech-scroll motifs, more specifically.


Plaza Hotel – In the fall of 1929, Conrad Hilton began the construction of this high-rise Art-Deco hotel. Nineteen days later the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Despite this, the hotel opened on November 30, 1930. The hotel was sold in 1963 and renamed the Plaza Hotel.


Fray Garcia Monument – In the center of the plaza is a 14-foot bronze sculpture of Fray García de San Francisco by John Houser. Fray Garcia was the priest who founded the area’s first mission.


Plaza Theater – The Plaza Theatre opened September 12, 1930 for movies and stage shows. The theatre’s Atmospheric style beauty is equally matched by its glorious Spanish Colonial decor.


El Paso is the county seat of El Paso County, TX.  This was our destination for the night and we had time for some fun before checking into the hotel for the night.

We visited the Tigua Indian Cultural Center.  This is a museum with artifacts and history of the Tigua.  After visiting here we looked for a letterbox “Mission Trail Series: Tigua Indian Cultural Center“.

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Our next stop was at Barnett Harley-Davidson.  They used to be the World’s largest dealership, but Scottsdale, AZ has recently took over that title.  Got a souvenir t-shirt while we were there.

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We visited Concordia Cemetery next.  The cemetery was established in 1883 by J. B. and Benancia Leahy. When first established, the cemetery was more than two miles outside the city limits. Now, it is surrounded in all directions.

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Both John Wesley Hardin and the sheriff that shot him in the back are buried not far from each other in this cemetery.  We didn’t visit the sheriff’s grave.


We looked for two letterboxes here:  “Wild West Outlaws:  John Wesley Hardin”  and “Calavera Del Sol“.  Both were gone.

We headed over to find an old movie theater.


We then did the scenic drive to the overlook.

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We checked in to the Camino Real Hotel for the night.  Originally called the Hotel Paso del Norte, it opened November 1912.  This is a 25-foot stained glass dome which came from Tiffany’s in New York City.  It is made up of 17 pieces and is suspended by wires due to the tremendous weight which would otherwise collapse it from the center.

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