LITTLE FLAT ROCK
Lajitas, Spanish for “little flat rocks”, refers to the Boquillas flagstone found throughout this Texas Mountain Trail community, a tiny desert settlement overlooking the Rio Grande at the San Carlos ford of the historic Comanche Trail. Serving as passage (and point of conflict) for Native Americans over several centuries, this river crossing remained free of Anglo-Americans until the mid-1800s. The discovery of quicksilver near the neighboring community of Terlingua in the 1890s increased interest in the location, along with ranching and other mining activities thriving in northern Mexico. Cross-river commerce increased as well and by 1900 Lajitas received port-of-entry designation, a boom to local businessmen including H. W. McGuirk. McGuirk established a store that doubled as a saloon, farmed, and assisted in the operations at the nearby Terlingua Mining Company. McGuirk also helped build the Lajitas Church, a tiny adobe building that continues to hold services, particularly weddings for guests of the local resort.
McGuirk sold his holdings to Thomas V. Skaggs in 1939, another entrepreneur, who created the Lajitas Wax Company, a successful enterprise that produced wax from the local candelilla plant. The Lajitas property continued to change hands, including a stint under the ownership of Rex Ivey, Jr. who provided the community its first electric lights, powered by a generator. By 1977, Houston businessman Walter M. Mischer purchased the reins, creating a western-style tourist destination. Subsequent owners continued to develop the idea and today the community is a high-flying resort called the Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa, where travelers enjoy horseback riding, swimming, massage, and, of course, golf. Lajitas is also home to the Barnock Warnock Center, eastern gateway and interpretive center for the 350,000-acre Big Bend Ranch State Park.