Law West of the Pecos
Folklore legend Judge Roy Bean arrived in Texas during the Civil War, showing up in San Antonio after troubles booted him out of Chihuahua, Mexico, then California (both San Diego and San Gabriel), and finally Mesilla, New Mexico. Bean spent a number of years on South Flores Street in the Alamo City, earning the location the nickname “Beanville,” and avoiding both creditors and the law, and all the while annoying his business competitors. An escape across the Pecos River landed him at the heart of the railroad construction boom where tracks from the east were moving at a furious pace (courtesy of Chinese labor) to meet tracks arriving from the west. Ever the opportunist, Bean established his Jersey Lilly saloon, helping to stir an already roiling pot of lawlessness, before capturing the position of justice of the peace, permanently securing his place in Texas folklore. Today, the Jersey Lilly and the opera house Bean built in honor of his long-distance, unrequited (and one-sided) romance with English singer Lillian Langtry, combine to create the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center, a Texas Department of Transportation rest stop for travelers tackling the long stretch of Highway 90 between Del Rio and Sanderson.