Pecos Trail Region


Once established, Langtry, a railroad grading camp linking the Southern Pacific with the Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railway in 1882, quickly evolved into a rowdy, over-sized tent city crowded with Chinese work crews and entrepreneurial rogues like Roy Bean, enduring character of Texas folklore. Bean operated a tent-saloon on squatted land in the heart of the camp, located along the limestone bluffs above Eagle Nest, a crossing along the Rio Grande. By 1884 Langtry had a post office and two saloons, one ran by Bean and the other by his competitor and Pecos County commissioner Cezario Torres (and owner of the land Bean squatted on). Langtry’s lively atmosphere would have been relatively short-lived despite a railroad depot and refueling station had Bean not stuck around, serving as justice of the peace and creating a permanent home for his saloon, a wooden structure he called the Jersey Lilly, named in honor of the English songbird Lillie Langtry. Although Bean insisted he alone named the community to commemorate his (unrequited) love for the singer, it was actually named after George Langtry, railroad engineer and foreman of the crews who built the railroad. Today, Langtry’s main attraction consists of the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center, a reprisal of the 1880s “Law West of the Pecos” where, Bean, an independent-minded frontiersman might have enjoyed making up a few of the laws as he saw fit.