A friendly competition sprung up, and on July 4, 1883, Pecos became home to the World’s First Rodeo. Braggin’ rights were on the line to find out just who was the best cowhand in the West.
“The Jersey Lily” courthouse/saloon is where Judge Bean, known as “the Law West of the Pecos,” carried out his justice. Bean was looked upon as an unusual judge from the beginning. His judicial acts were somewhat odd and always final.
Historic Pecos Destinations
The Pecos Municipal Airport currently operates on what was the PAAF, a pilot school that averaged 360 flying days per year—more than any other location in the country. Today the airport houses a permanent PAAF memorial, open to visitors.
In 1881, this railway connected Ft. Worth and El Paso, helping the area prosper and bringing fame to the sweet Pecos Cantaloupe. Today it houses the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce, Visitor Center, and “Rodeo Hall of Fame” collection.
Alongside the West of the Pecos Museum you’ll find Centennial Park, offering a shady respite, plenty of benches, a fountain, and a first-rate view of Pecos history.
Wild West character and gunfighter Clay Allison considered himself more of a “shootist” than a gunman. A master with a six-shooter, he is credited with killing more than 20 men, and quoted as saying he “never killed a man who didn't need killing.”
Think back to the Old West’s cowboys and ranchers, and it's difficult to conjure a more iconic image than the chuckwagon. Come get a close up look at the Scarbrough/Linebery family’s chuckwagon, an authentic piece of Western lore.
Initially, Fort Davis served as a temporary refuge for thousands of emigrants, freighters, and travelers during the decade after the Civil War. It’s one of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars’ frontier military post in the Southwest.
Trace the history of the automobile as you stroll through this museum of well-preserved exhibits. Everyone will find something of interest and enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Recorded as the oldest house in Pecos, Mesquite House was built by Peter Goodloe and was originally located at Second and Willow Streets in Pecos. In 1975 the house was moved to its present location in Centennial Park.
Built from nearby-quarried sandstone, the famous three-story Orient Hotel/No. 11 Saloon was touted the “best hotel between Ft. Worth and El Paso.” In classic Old West fashion, a man was shot in the saloon, and the bullet holes remain to this day!
Pecos’ first Catholic chapel was donated by local families in 1889 and gained a missionary priest in 1890. Thirty-four years later, the Catholic faith made a permanent home in the stony Santa Rosa de Lima Church, named for the Peruvian Saint Rose.
Nicknamed for the many rattlesnake dens uncovered during construction, Pyote Air Force Base was a WWII training airbase. Within months of opening it became the largest bomber installation in the U.S. Stop by to learn more, but watch for rattlers!
Fifty miles northeast of Pecos is Wink, TX, home of Roy Orbison. The tiny town (pop. 940) is in “the middle of nowhere, 500 miles from everywhere,” as Wink’s most beloved son once said. Come see photos, posters, guitar picks, and other memorabilia.
After a beautiful, Texas-sized, million-dollar renovation, the Texas Rodeo Hall or Fame is now housed in the historic T&P Train Depot. Come retrace history with the famed cowboys and cowgirls who made the thrilling sport of rodeo a beloved American pastime and helped put Pecos on the map!
The Pecos area is home to numerous state historical markers, so carve out a day to jump in the car and reflect on the history of the area and the perseverance of its pioneers. Click and search Reeves County.
Located in the restored 19th century Orient Hotel, complete with the old saloon, the West of the Pecos Museum houses original memorabilia and artifacts from an era long ago. Explore over 50 rooms of exhibits, artifacts, history, and West Texas lore.
On July 4, 1883, Pecos was home to the World’s First Rodeo. This tradition continues each summer at the Buck Jackson Arena, where it has been held every year since 1936. Today it is one of the PRCA’s top 40 prize-money rodeos.