Pecos Trail Region

In 1926 an oil gusher blew in on Ira and Ann Yates’ remote Pecos County ranch. Oilfield workers flooded into a new town born overnight and named Iraan, a blend of the landowners’ first names. By 1930 Iraan had 60 businesses and a population of 1,600. During the oil boom a young cartoonist and freelance writer named V.T. Hamlin worked in the Yates Field. His creative mind conjured up images of the dinosaurs that once roamed the rugged Trans-Pecos region. By 1932 Hamlin’s West Texas inspiration led to the first drawings of Alley Oop, one of America’s longest-running cartoon strips. To honor Hamlin the city of Iraan created Alley Oop Fantasy Land near the banks of the Pecos River. The park boasts several large reproductions of the strip’s characters, including the cigar-toting Alley Oop and his pet dinosaur Dinny. Also on site is the Iraan Museum, where artifacts and historic photos chronicle the town’s birth and development. Archeological displays feature early Native American woven sandals, arrowpoints and clay pipes, and a paleontology collection features fossilized ammonites, bird tracks and nautiloids.