Pecos County Historical Commission
Outline of Pecos County, Texas
   
 

Map of Fort Stockton

 

Markers in the Fort Stockton Area
Annie Riggs Hotel

Location: 301 South Main Street

Interesting Facts: Fort Stockton's first hotel of significance. Built 1900. Adobe, with "gingerbread" trim. Large verandas, dining room, parlors, guest rooms. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

Comanche Springs

Location: On Spring Drive at Rooney Park.

Interesting Facts: Used as a watering place and camping ground by Indians since Pre-Columbian times, the springs were possibly visited about 1536 by Spaniard Cabeza de Vaca on his wanderings through Texas. The expedition of Juan de Mendoza, with his party of Spaniards and Jumano Indians, camped near the waters in 1684. The six major, gushing springs and the beautiful river they formed resulted from water seeping up through geological faults to the earth's surface. The reservoir which supplied them was located in the formation known as "Trinity Sand." The springs, among the largest in all Texas, were one of the few good watering places in this arid region. They supplied Indians raiding into Mexico on the nearby Comanche war trail and also gold seekers traveling to California on the southern route, 1849 and later. Butterfield Overland Mail stage stopped here as well, and after 1859 the Springs provided water for Fort Stockton, which was founded both to protect the mail and stop the Comanche raids. The springs began to be tapped for irrigation as early as 1875, but today irrigation projects to the north and west have reduced the underground water supply so much that the springs no longer flow.

Courthouse, Jail and Zero Stone

Location: On James Street between Main and Nelson Streets.

Interesting Facts: Courthouse and jail. Built 1883 of native sandstone. Nearby Zero Stone place in 1859 as first reference point of local surveys. Recorded Texas Historical Landmark, 1966.

C. S. A.

Location: In front of the courthouse grounds at the corner of Nelson and James Streets.

Interesting Facts: After federal evacuation at start of Civil War, occupied by 2nd Regiment Texas Mounted Rifles. On far western frontier defense line. Supply post for troops going to and from Arizona-New Mexico campaign 1861-1862, designed to make confederacy an ocean to ocean nation. At times this area was the center of Comanche and Apache activities. California union troops dominated area 1862-65. Stopover on way west for many union sympathizers and people wanting to avoid conflict of war.

East Hill Cemetery

Location: From Fort Stockton, go south on Highway 285 to Parkview Street, turn left (east) on Parkview and go 1 mile to the cemetery at the end of the road on the south side.

First Telephone Exchange

Location: 610 Callaghan (corner of Callaghan & Butz Streets)

Interesting Facts: The Pecos County commissioners authorized E. W. Bennett (1858-1933) to establish Ft. Stockton's First Telephone service in May 1909. The switchboard, operated by Bennett's daughter, Zetta, was located in a room attached to this adobe house, where the Bennetts lived. The wires connected with Ft. Stockton's 200 phone subscribers with Ozona, where Bennett's sons, John and Will, ran the family's telephone exchange. Lines were later strung to other towns, completing this vital communication link. The Ft. Stockton Exchange became part of Southwestern Bell Telephone System in 1928.

Fort Cemetery

Location: At the corner of Walter and 8th Streets.

Interesting Facts: Burial ground for soldiers stationed at Fort Stockton and for civilians in the little town that grew up around the post. The fort was established 1859; temporarily closed 1861-1867. Troops here protected the San Antonio-San Diego mail line and quelled Indian raids into Mexico on the infamous Comanche Trail. This cemetery testifies to the hardships of frontier life: no headstone was erected for a person over 40. In 1888 (after the fort was permanently closed in 1886), remains of the 56 soldiers buried here were moved to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

Grey Mule Saloon

Location: 219 South Main Street at the corner of Main and Callaghan Streets.

Interesting Facts: Part of Old Fort Stockton; built in 1880's. Hangout for cowboys and hotel guests. Later a store and post office. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

Guard House

Location: Corner of East 3rd and Rooney Streets.

Interesting Facts: Founded in 1859, Fort Stockton was abandoned during the civil war and reestablished in 1867, when this guard house was built. Stone for the structure was quarried locally. The lumber was hauled from Indianola by Oxcart. The Guard House consisted of a room with arm and leg irons, a dungeon for solitary confinement, and quarters for guards. It was abandoned in 1886, Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

Historic District

Location:At the east edge of town.

Interesting Facts: LISTED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER

The city of Fort Stockton is located in central Pecos County in the western part of Texas. It is strategically located at Comanche Springs, the third largest springs in Texas and a major source of water in this arid country.

Although the first fort was established there in 1858, it was occupied only briefly. During the Civil War, the fort was occupied by Confederate forces and it was not until the re-occupation by Federal troops in 1868 that building was begun at the present site. The reactivating of the fort provided the impetus for the growth and development of the city itself. Final occupation, by the Army here lasted until 1886. After this time, the fort structures were moved into by the local population some were dismantled, and many disappeared. What remains today of the old fort are three officer's quarters, a stone guardhouse, and some stone foundations of what is presumed to have been barracks.

Other buildings associated with the Fort Stockton Historic District were either directly related to the fort or form a part of the early frontier spirit of the town and its history.

Its here defined, the Fort Stockton Historic District includes: That area within the City of Fort Stockton bounded by Water Street on the west, and running south along Water Street to Division Street. One block west on Division to Main Street and running two blocks south on Main Street to James Street. Then going east on James to Spring Drive and following Spring Drive north-northeast to Comanche Springs, around the east side of Comanche Springs west to the alley between St. Gall and Orient streets. Then north to Fifth Street; from Fifth Street the boundary runs east along Fifth to Water streets and north up Water Street to the Old Fort Cemetery and encompassing it. The irregular conformation of the district is dictated by the location of the cemetery relative to the other fort and town related structures. However, it is felt that the cemetery and the additional later structures within the district provide a continuous segment of the development of the history of the town.

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON FILE IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER

Historical Marker for Pecos County

Location: On US 385 at the eastern edge of Fort Stockton south of IH-10.

Interesting Facts: Formed from Presidio County, created May 3, 1871. Organized March 9, 1875. On March 9, 1875, the following county officers were elected: George M. Frazer, Chief Justice. Cesario Torre, Commissioner. Francis Rooney, Commissioner. Hipolito Carrasco, Commissioner. Fort Stockton, County Seat. Oil was discovered in the Yates field in 1926.

Historical Marker for the Town of Fort Stockton

Location: Near the intersection of Main and James Streets on the courthouse grounds.

Interesting Facts: Established on the Comanche Trail March 23, 1859, as a protection to the San Antonio-San Diego mail route. Named in honor of Commodore Robert Field Stockton, 1795-1866, who captured California for the United States. A stage stand on the San Diego Line, 1858-1861. Evacuated by federal troops during the civil war, reoccupied July, 1867. Permanently abandoned June 30, 1886.

Hovey School

Location: Near the intersection of 2nd Street and Spring Drive.

Interesting Facts: About 1910, a railroad stop named Hovey was established about 40 miles west of here on the Kansas City, Mexico, and Orient Railroad. By 1913, Hovey contained a depot, post office/general store, and several stock shipping. Hovey school was established in 1913. The first school building burned and in 1916 this schoolhouse was erected in Hovey. It served as a one-teacher seven-grade school for Anglo and Hispanic students of the rural ranch community of Hovey. After the school closed in 1938, the building served as a community center. It was moved here in 1987.

Koehler's Saloon and Store

Location: On Spring Drive across from Comanche Springs in Rooney Park.

Interesting Facts: Built in the 1870's of field stone. Herman Koehler in 1884 opened a saloon at one end, general store and bank at other. Later, a second story was added. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

Oil and Gas Industry in Pecos County

Location: 1000 Railroad Avenue, Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, interior

Interesting Facts: Located in the petroleum-rich Permian Basin, Pecos is one of the most prolific oil- and gas-producing counties in Texas. The petroleum business here began about 1900 with the drilling of the Turney well near an ancient "seep", a traditional local source of oil for lubricating and medicinal purposes. A short-lived boom in 1921 caused by the discovery of the "Miracle Well" heralded the arrival of the fabulous Yates oil field (1926), indicating the area's great potential oil wealth. Since that year over 710 million barrels of oil have been produced from the Yates, Fort Stockton and other county fields. The presence of natural gas, known for years, was slow to be exploited because gas was considered an undesirable by-product of the oil business. The first commercial use of gas here was inspired after it was found by workers drilling a water well, in 1925. The discovery, about 1948, of Santa Rosa field spurred exploration that brought in the Puckett field in 1952. Subsequent deep drilling tapped many extensive pools, including in 1963 the prolific Gomez Field, which had produced over 478 billion cubic feet of gas as of 1970. Today petroleum is the single most important economic asset of Pecos County.

Old First National Bank Building

Location: At the intersection of Second and Main Streets.

Interesting Facts: Built in 1912, this structure originally housed the First National Bank of Fort Stockton. Established two years earlier, the bank failed during the years of the great depression. In 1935 the building was purchased by the Pecos County State Bank. Chartered in 1928, the financial institution was located here until 1960. The structure exhibits Neo-Classical styling and features massive doric columns that support an elaborate pediment. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1983.

Oldest House in Fort Stockton

Location: At the corner of Sherer and Nelson Streets.

Interesting Facts: Oldest house. Only reminder of first Fort Stockton, founded 1859. Was part of old St. Gall townsite. Had thatched roof, adobe walls. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

Pecos County Camptosaur Tracks Historical Marker

Location: Inside the Fort Stockton City Warehouse, after being taken down due to vandalism. Original location was in an arroyo southwest of town.

Interesting Facts: In the arroyo southwest of this site are dinosaur tracks made 120 million years ago when area was part of sea that extended north from the Gulf of Mexico. These tracks, embedded in rocks of the Comanchean Cretaceous period, were left by a Camptosaurus dinosaur, ancestor to the better known duck-billed Trachodon. According to research, this plant-eating animal was about 20 feet long and ten feet tall. His hind legs were strong and longer than his arms which were used to grasp and tear food. His neck was short; head small; the tail long, perhaps equal in length to the body. Measurement of the exposed tracks (17 1/2 inches wide and 21 inches long) determine that this Camptosaur's stride was 5 ft. 10 inches from toe to heel; his pace, 11 ft. 8 in. The shallow sea in which this dinosaur (and other forms of animal and plant life) lived and died was gradually covered by deposits of mineral-laden earth. As this area rose and settled through hundreds of centuries, the buried organic matter was gradually converted through chemical changes to vast resources of petroleum, natural gas and sulphur. This Camptosaur's tracks remain to remind mankind of the prehistoric age in which the oil industry had its infant beginnings.

Pecos County Courthouse-1883

Location: No longer standing.

Interesting Facts: Building Completion Date: 1883

Pecos County Courthouse-1912

Interesting Facts: Building Completion Date: 1912
Central dome removed. originally built in 1883, partially demolished and remodeled in 1911-12
Historic Interior Images: Sheriff's Office 1920 ABT Pecos: A History of the Pioneer West (vol. 2), Superintendent's Office 1930 ABT Pecos: A History of the Pioneer West (vol. 1), County Judge's Office 1935 Pecos County History.

Pioneer Stagecoach Stand Operators Mr. and Mrs. Isaac J. Rude

Location: On the Service Road side of I-10, about 8 miles west of Fort Stockton.

Interesting Facts: On way to California from Tennessee in the 1850's Isaac J. and Sarah Isabella Rude settled in West Texas. In Davis Mountains, Rude built and operated a station for the Butterfield Overland Stage; here passengers had meals while mules were unharnessed and exchanged for a fresh team. Soon Butterfield--the pioneer passenger and mail service (1858-1861) from St. Louis to California--had Rude move here to Ft. Stockton and build another stand. In 1859, when a stop was added at Leon water hole, 5 miles west of Ft. Stockton, Rude built and ran the stand there. Food there was best on the route, said a journalist. Sarah Rude (1834-1916) carried a pistol under her apron, to protect her children. When Indians attacked the Davis Mountains stand, the men loaded guns and handed them to Mrs. Rude--a calm, sure marksman. Just over 5 ft. tall, she butchered and skinned beeves to feed her family, when her husband was away. After stages stopped operating in 1861, Isaac Rude, like others associated with the Overland Mail, joined the Confederate army. Later he became a prosperous businessman in McKinney. Born in 1829, he died in 1902.

Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church

Location: At the corner of East 2nd Street and Spring Drive.

Interesting Facts: Episcopal Church. Oldest Protestant church in Trans-Pecos Texas. Moved to site, 1958. Contains solid ebony cross. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery - St. Joseph's, St. Agnes

Location: At the intersection of Highways 285 and 385, go south on 385, following 385 as it splits with Highway 194. Follow to El Paso Street. Turn left (east) and go .5 miles to the cemetery on the south side of the road.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

Location: 403 S Main Street (Corner of James and Main Streets).

Interesting Facts: Efforts to establish a Catholic church in the area began shortly after the Civil War when Fort Stockton was reoccupied by United States troops. The first services were conducted in 1872 by Father Claude Jaillet and Father Adolfo Guichon. Construction of the present church building began three years later. Located on land donated by Peter Gallagher, it was built of adobe on a stone foundation. The structure was remodeled in the 1960s. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1966.

Telegraph Office & School

Location: 201 West Gallagher Street (Corner of Gallagher and Nelson Streets)

Interesting Facts: First school in area, 1883. Smaller structure served as first office for army telegraph line which arrived in 1876. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

Williams, O. W. Historical Marker

Location: 100 North Rooney Street

Interesting Facts: Kentucky native Oscar Waldo Williams (1853-1946) graduated from Harvard with a law degree in 1876 and moved to Texas in search of a drier climate. He worked as a land surveyor as the South Plains opened for settlement and in 1884 accepted a job as deputy surveyor for Pecos County. After serving as Pecos County judge (1886-1888, 1892-1900), Williams practiced law in Fort Stockton, building an office on this site about 1915. An expert in land law and water rights, his interests and investments shifted to oil and gas leases in the region. A keen observer of events and nature, Williams also authored numerous articles on the history, folklore and natural history of the Southwest. (2001)

Young's Store

Location: Near the intersection of Callaghan Street and Spring Drive.

Interesting Facts: F. W. Young Store and home. Built 1876 by this former post sutler at ford over Comanche Creek. Had wagon yard, corrals in rear. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.