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Saturday, May 17, 2008

It has been quite a while since I have posted anything on the blog, and it is good to be back! I have been traveling a lot for work, most recently to the town of Pecos, TX. Pecos is in far west Texas, and has quite a history, mostly unknown by those of us in eastern Texas. I had been there several times before, but never with an eye for the sights and scenes of the place. I visited the Chamber of Commerce, and one of the first things I was asked was "Are you thinking of moving to our wonderful town?" I had to admit that I had not thought of it, but was just here on business for the day.

After I had done the business part of the trip, I went to a gas station and purchased a Fuji single-use camera. Since I had flown into Midland as my "base of operations" I was not able to bring my usual camera equipment. I had confidence that I could get some pretty good photos after my trip to New Orleans, so I headed back to the town square and began my informal tour.

I took this photo of a Union Pacific caboose mainly for my grandkids (hope you like it, boys!) but it shows how much the railroad has been a part of this little town. The train station (to the right behind the caboose) is being renovated into a Rodeo Museum but is not yet completed. I learned from the C of C that Pecos is known for having the world's first rodeo, something they're very proud of! I took the photo from a small park where the wagon and windmill are displayed, just in front of a replica of Judge Roy Bean's courthouse and billiard parlor. You probably remember that he was known as the "Law West of the Pecos." The original building is in Langtry, TX, east of Big Bend near the Rio Grande. I'd sure like to see the original one day.

Next on the "tour of Pecos" I visited the West of the Pecos Museum. For only $4 I was deputized, given a star and information to start the museum tour. This museum has the most fascinating collection of old Texas memorabilia, mostly having to do with rodeos and trains, but also how the people lived in the early days as well. Each room (the museum was originally the Orient Hotel) was a glimpse into some aspect of pioneer life in Pecos and the old West. There was the bridal suite, that had a sitting room with a piano and a large four-poster bed in the bedroom. There was the doctor's office, with original instruments and operating table.

There was a kitchen with original stove, table, cupboard, and lots of old coffee cans and biscuit boxes. (See the Museum's Gallery Page) There was a very large collection of Winchester rifles and other firearms from the 1800's through 1900's, many were specifically manufactured for heroes of the day. There was even one for the Boy Scouts! In the gun display was probably the most interesting item I saw. It seems that the famous Lillie Langtry, the English actress known as "the Jersey Lily," had starred in a play in the hotel. The play was "The Degenerates," a comedy by Mr Sydney Grundy. On the back of one of the playbills, Ms. Langtry had written, "I like this place & willingly would waste my time in it." I guess I'll never know whether she was being funny or mean by saying that, but I thought it was worth remembering and passing along.

In the back courtyard, I noticed this unique spiral fire escape. I don't remember ever seeing a spiral fire escape before, so I asked the curator if she knew of any others. She said that as far as she knew this one is the only one. It seems that in the 60's they did a renovation of the museum in order to get it looking more like it looked in the 1800's. Fire code regulations required a fire escape easily accessible by anyone the upper two floors. A local metalworker designed the staircase, and it serves the purpose to this day. It also makes tending to the air conditioners on the roof very easy.

Well, I could go on and on about Clay Allison, the Gentleman Gunfighter, or Pecos Bill, or Col. George R. Reeves, but I 'll save that for another time. Hope you found this post interesting, I sure enjoyed taking the photos. I hope that the next time I am there the cantaloupes will be in season!

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