Storyteller Series: Ghost Town Adventures!

What is it about ghost towns that captures our interest and curiosity?  Maybe there were famous people who once lived there, or perhaps there was a significant historical event that took place within its busy streets.

Maybe, but the thing that draws me in are thoughts about the people who once called the town home. Not necessarily those who may have been famous, but all of the others. The store clerk, postmaster, bartender, sheriff, dance hall girl, cowboys and ranchers. Some raised families, others lived lives outside of the traditions of the day—some even outside of the law. They all had dreams and things they wanted to do in life.

When I walk through an old, abandoned town and explore the dilapidated buildings, I can’t help but think of the eyes that once peered through the now broken windows. I wonder about all of the people who once passed through those doors and walked where my feet now stand. Who were they? Who did they love? What did they dream about? How did they live, and how did they die? Why did their town whither away to nothing?

In the end, such places remind me of the impermanence of everything. Where we live, the businesses we frequent, cars we drive, and the people we love—all of it will be gone someday. It’s a sobering feeling, yet it comes with a sense of intense gratitude for the present moment. All of my experiences, every place I visit, and person I meet, will someday be history. Knowing that helps me stay in the moment, and savor every minute.

Below are three videos I made at the end of 2020 when I visited three separate ghost towns in Texas and New Mexico. I think you’ll enjoy them. Each video also contains original music created by yours truly.

All of the videos, and many others, are on my Youtube channel. I’ll include here the descriptions I put on Youtube for each video. Enjoy!

Glenrio

I love ghost towns, and someone recently let me know about Glenrio which is only about 30 minutes from where I am. Naturally, I hand to go an check it out.

And I made a video so you could go with me!

All music by me except the intro piece.

Hope you enjoy the trip!

There’s lots more info online, but here are a few cool facts:

Founded in 1901, Glenrio sits right on the border of Texas and New Mexico. It was a poppin’ place back in the heyday of Route 66. 

Originally a railroad town, the village was renamed from Rock Island to Glenrio by the Rock Island and Pacific Railroad in 1908 and began receiving motorists on the dusty Ozark Train in 1917. Its original structures were adobe buildings.

The Ozark Trail was formed into U.S. Route 66 on November 11, 1926.

The location of Glenrio on Texas and New Mexico’s border led to some interesting business practices. At one point, all fuel was dispensed in Texas due to New Mexico’s higher gasoline taxes. The 1930s State Line Bar and motel were built in New Mexico because Deaf Smith County, Texas, was dry at the time. The railroad station was in Texas. The local post office, built circa-1935, was in New Mexico.

Portions of The Grapes of Wrath (1940) were filmed in Glenrio.

 

Endee & Bard

Join me on another ghost town adventure! Two ghost towns actually, Endee and Bard, both in New Mexico.

All the music was made by me 🎶😉

Here are a few fun facts:

Endee

Endee was is five miles away from the last town I visited (Glenrio) and was founded in 1885. It got its name from the brand of the ND Ranch.

Endee retained vestiges of the frontier era well into the early 20th century. The Santa Fe New Mexican on May 2, 1906, reported that with the arrest of John Fife and Tom Darlington in Endee by mounted police, a major cattle-rustling had been “broken up.” The Evening Observer on June 30, 1909, reported, “The anti-saloon campaign at Endee, N.M. came to a close last night when a band of masked men, mounted and armed, rode their horses through the doors of a saloon and shot up the place until the mirrors and glassware were completely destroyed.”

Bard

First settled in 1906, and by the time 1908 rolled around they had enough people to get their own post office. Like Endee, Bard was also said to have been a wild town during the cowboy days, where drunkenness and shootouts were commonplace.

In the 1940s it was a trading center for local ranchers, consisting of a store, a gas station, and several houses. 

It’s thought the name of the town came from the Bar-D Ranch that was operating in the area at the time.

 

Tascosa & Perico

Another adventure and another video!

Old Tascosa, Perico, and a few random places here and there. 

Want to come along?

All music, with the exception of the opening piece, was made by me. 🙂 

Old Tascosa 

Named for nearby Atascosa Creek, Tascosa ( sometimes called Old Tascosa) was established  in 1876 by ex-soldier and blacksmith Henry Kimball. It was rooted in a local crossing of the Canadian River which cowboys passed on their way to the railhead and cattle markets in Dodge City. Tascosa is the former capital of ten counties in the Texas panhandle.

The town, located in Oldham County, emerged briefly in the 1880s as an economic rival of Dodge City, Kansas. The coming of the Fort Worth and Denver Railway was expected to revitalize Tascosa. However, there were two miles of deep sand between the railroad track and the town. Though the editor of The Tascosa Pioneer believed the citizens could overcome all odds against them, this physical limitation proved insurmountable.

In 1893, the bridge was washed out and the flood damaged homes and businesses. That is when people began to move away. Two of the last residents were ex-gambler Mickey McCormick and a former dance hall girl and card dealer Frenchy McCormick. Mickey died in 1912, and Frenchy in 1941. Both are buried next to each other outside town.

In 1939, Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch opened after Julian Bivins, son of Lee Bivins, donated the town site, the renovated old courthouse, and the surrounding 120 acres.The courthouse, now a museum, and the 1889 schoolhouse are the only buildings from the old town to survive into the 21st century.

One more interesting note: Tascosa was the sight of The Big Fight, also known as the Big Fight at Jenkins Saloon. The gunfight is little-known today, but at the time it was more famous than the gunfight at the O.K Corral, having similar causes and involving more fatalities than the shootout in Tombstone, Arizona. Five of those killed were buried in the town’s cemetery.

The old cemetery, Boot Hill, remains and you’ll see it in the video. 

Perico

Perico, once known as Farwell, is a ghost town on U.S. Route 87 in Dallam County, Texas. Originally a shipping point for the XIT Ranch, the town’s name was first known as Farwell for the Ranch’s nearest camp. In 1905 the railroad changed their designation to Perico. Perico’s growth came about through the promotions of W. P. Soash – a town builder who had limited success attracting settlers – and even less success keeping “his” towns alive. 

A boxcar depot, a water tower and the residences of railroad workers comprised the town.

The Perico post office was granted in late1907.

Perico’s first school was a simple a two-room affair, replaced in 1924 by a larger school with an auditorium, teacherage, and gym. The ruins of that building you’ll see in the last part of the video.

Perico was thriving before the onset of The Great Depression with the T. W. Timmerman store and the Blotz-Henneman Grain Company elevator being two of the most notewothly. In 1947 the population had decreased to 30 persons.

The decline increased when the new highway bypassed the business district and the post office closed by 1970.

As late as 1980, the town had a business, a grain elevator, and two known residents.

When I was there in December, 2020, all that remained was the old gym, and across the highway was the old grain elevator.