United States / Marfa, TX

all or unphotographed
Presidio County Courthouse. A landmark of the Big Bend. Large dome is visible for miles. Constructed of native stone and brick made at Marfa. Stucco added later. Built 1886 in this county's third seat of justice. First county seat was Fort Leaton, on the Rio Grande; second, Fort Davis. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1964. #4117

?, Marfa, TX, United States

Fort D.A. Russell. Originally named Camp Marfa, this installation began as a supply post for U. S. Army border patrol stations in 1911. It was a cavalry camp during the years of the Mexican Revolution. Renamed for Civil War general David Allen Russell, it became a permanent Army post in 1929. Deactivated at the end of 1933, it was reopened in 1935 with artillery units. During World War II Fort Russell became an army training camp, and was home to a chemical warfare battalion as well as German prisoners of war. The fort was officially closed in October 1946. (1989) #1978

?, Marfa, TX, United States

James Buchanan Gillett. A very famous Texas Ranger. Born in Austin, son of Adjutant General of Texas. At 16 became cowboy on western frontier. At 19 joined Rangers; hunted down raiding Indians, rustlers, feuding settlers. After serving 1875-1881, became El Paso city marshal. Ranched 41 years in far West Texas (living in and near Marfa) and New Mexico. His book, "Six Years with the Texas Rangers", is read as an Old West classic. Recorded 1969. #2715

?, Marfa, TX, United States

Paisano Pass. Legend recounts that two Spaniards meeting here greeted each other "Mi Paisano" (My Countryman). First known to history when Juan Dominguez de Mendoza camped here on January 3, 1684. Well known after 1850 as a point on the Chihuahua Trail, an emigrant road to California. #3951

?, Marfa, TX, United States

Presidio - Oldest Town in America. At confluence of Concho and Rio Grande Rivers. A settlement for over 10,000 years. Site of first recorded wagon train crossing into Texas, December [year illegible], headed by Antonio de Espejo. Marker placed jointly by Texas Society, Children of the American Revolution, Texas Society, Daughters of the American Colonists. (1961) #8

US 67 E of Marfa, Marfa, TX, United States

El Paisano Hotel. Named for the nearby Paisano Mountain pass, this structure was completed in 1930. Gateway Hotel Company, owners of several area hotels, built it in anticipation of a local oil boom that never materialized. The architectural firm Trost and Trost of El Paso designed the building. Constructed around a central courtyard area, the structure reflects Spanish Baroque styling. It was considered to be the finest hotel between El Paso and San Antonio. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1979. #1422

?, Marfa, TX, United States

Marfa Lights. The Marfa Lights, mysterious and unexplained lights that have been reported in the area for over one hundred years, have been the subject of many theories. The first recorded sighting of the lights was by rancher Robert Ellison in 1883. Variously explained as campfires, phosphorescent minerals, swamp gas, static electricity, St. Elmo's fire, and "ghost lights", the lights reportedly change colors, move about, and change in intensity. Scholars have reported over seventy-five local folk tales dealing with the unexplained phenomenon. (1988) #3208

?, Marfa, TX, United States

Marfa Stockyards. Built in 1920 by the Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railway company, the Marfa stockyards provided a central shipping point for livestock raised in Presidio, Jeff Davis, and Brewster counties. As many as 70,000 head of cattle were shipped from these pens in a single year. The facilities were enlarged in 1929 to handle the great volume of business. By the 1930s sheep and goats were also being shipped from here. Although business declined after the introduction of trucking to the area, the stockyards are still used to weigh animals prior to shipment. (1988) #3209

?, Marfa, TX, United States

William Edward Russell. Kentucky native William Edward Russell (1839-1890) came to Texas in the 1850s and worked his way to the Big Bend region, where he traded along the Chihuahua Trail and had a store at the Horsehead Crossing of the Pecos River. Russell became a prominent landowner, rancher, merchant, farmer and silver miner in the Presidio County/Northern Mexico region. He acquired property along the Old River Road between Candelaria and Presidio and founded the settlement of Ruidoso, where he constructed irrigation ditches and set up a mill. He held several county political offices, including commissioner and sheriff. He and his wife, Marla Tomasita Rodriguez, had seven children, four of whom lived past young childhood. (2002) #12622

?, Marfa, TX, United States

Building 98, Fort D.A. Russell. Constructed in 1920, Building 98 housed the Officers Club and Bachelor Officers Quarters for Fort D.A. Russell. During the latter years of World War II, from 1943 to 1945, German prisoners of war from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps were housed at the fort, and evidence of their ornate artwork can be found on the building's interior walls. Murals depict views from a courtyard and include scenes typical of west Texas. Constructed of adobe and concrete, Building 98 features a pebbledash finish and an A-shaped footprint, with one courtyard completely enclosed and another enclosed on three sides. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2004 #13284

705 W Bonnie St, Marfa, TX, United States

Hunter Gymnasium. In 1940, Marfa received a Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant of more than $15,000 to help build a new gymnasium named to honor athletic director Boren Hunter. The modified rectangular plan building features plastered adobe infill walls, a rare earthen material in buildings of this type. Other elements include concrete for pilasters and a continuous perimeter footing, and steel for open web roof trusses. A projecting entry steps down to the athletic court. The facility has been used for numerous school and community activities, figuring prominently into the lives of generations of students and citizens. #16579

?, Marfa, TX, United States

Blackwell School. EDUCATION FOR LOCAL CHILDREN OF MEXICAN DESCENT DATES FROM 1889, WHEN THE FORMER METHODIST CHURCH BECAME A SCHOOLHOUSE. THE SCHOOL, NAMED FOR LONGTIME PRINCIPAL JESSE BLACKWELL, SERVED HUNDREDS OF HISPANIC CHILDREN UP TO NINTH GRADE. STUDENTS WERE TOLD TO SPEAK ONLY ENGLISH ON CAMPUS; SPANISH WORDS WRITTEN ON SLIPS OF PAPER WERE BURIED ON THE GROUNDS IN A MOCK FUNERAL CEREMONY. THE SCHOOL CLOSED IN 1965 WITH INTEGRATION OF MARFA SCHOOLS. THE BUILDING SAT VACANT UNTIL PRESERVATION EFFORTS BY THE BLACKWELL SCHOOL ALLIANCE, FORMED IN 2006. THE ONE-STORY SCHOOLHOUSE HAS A MODIFIED HIP ROOF, FRONT-GABLED ENTRY, AND PLASTERED 24-INCH THICK ADOBE WALLS ON A STONE FOUNDATION. #16572

501 South Abbot St., Marfa, TX, United States

Site of Alamito. Alamito Creek has been a passageway and the scene of human activity since prehistoric times. Spanish explorers began traveling through the region in 1535. Mexican families began to settle in the area about 1715 and established rancheros despite an Apache presence. Beginning in the 1850s, the infamous Chihuahua Trail, a route for heavy freight wagons from San Antonio to Chihuahua, Mexico, passed near Alamito. By 1870 Alamito was a community with several families farming and working on nearby ranches. John Davis, a pioneer from North Carolina, was a strong community leader. He married Francisca Herrera, the daughter of Carlos Herrera, one of the first Spanish settlers of Alamito, in 1875. They built a home with a chapel, one-room school, and a canal for crop irrigation. Davis was known for serving peach brandy to weary travelers who came through on the Chihuahua Trail. Francisca died in 1892 and was buried near the chapel in Alamito. The grief-stricken Davis went back to North Carolina and never returned to this area. The legendary railroad known as the "Road to Topolabampo" was the result of a longtime dream of A. E. Stilwell, railroad builder and urban promoter, for a rail line from Kansas City to Mexico's west coast. It passed through Alamito in 1930. The Railroad dug a deep well, constructed a tank to water the steam engines, built a section house for workers, and renamed the site Plata. At the end of the 20th century, only ruins of the Davis-Herrera home, school, cemetery and canal remain. Ruts of the Chihuahua Trail can still be seen in the bedrock north of Alamito. (2000) #7095

?, Marfa, TX, United States

Presidio County. Formed from Bexar County created January 3, 1850, organized March 13, 1875. So named for the early "Fortress garrisoned by soldiers." Erected for the protection of the Big Bend missions. County seat Fort Davis, 1875, Marfa, since 1885. (1936) #4116

?, Marfa, TX, United States

Humphris-Humphreys House. This was the home of rancher, merchant and community leader John Humphris and his wife Mary. Built in 1883 by local builder Saturnino Naborette, the house represents traditional building methods of early pioneer days in west Texas, with a central hallway with four rooms on either side. The house was purchased in 1915 by schoolteacher Sally Humphreys, wife of rancher Joe Humphreys, who ran a boardinghouse here until 1937. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1996 #2597

110 W. San Antonio St., Marfa, TX, United States

Site of Marfa Army Air Field. During World War II, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) established a significant number of training airfields across the state of Texas. The USAAF Western Flying Training Command selected Marfa as the site for an advanced multi-engine flying school in 1942. Due to an initial lack of supplies and properly trained personnel, the USAAF struggled at first to establish the command effectively and to provide adequate housing for those who served here. The airfield had four hangars, five runways and a unique angled parking apron. There were also several auxiliary fields in the area. Support personnel here included a Women's Army Corps unit established in 1943 and African American troops, assigned primarily to motor pool duties. Trainees included allied Chinese flying cadets, the first class arriving in September 1944. After Germany surrendered in May 1945, the USAAF considered deactivating Marfa Army Air Field and placed the installation on standby status. However, the need for additional transport aircraft in the Pacific campaign temporarily extended the mission of the airfield. In June 1945, the USAAF placed the airfield in the Troop Carrier Command as home of the 818th Army Air Forces Base. The USAAF formally deactivated the base in September 1945, and the gradual exodus of the military had a devastating impact on Marfa. The military sold off buildings, many later used for civilian purposes in Marfa, Alpine and other locales. Today, all that remains of the once impressive site are foundations, runways and the memories of those who proudly supported the airfield during the war. Texas in World War II - 2007 #13844

US 90, Marfa, TX, United States