Thursday, January 8, 2015

Continuing West

January 3, 2015

Today we awoke to blue skies and sunshine the temperature is 42 degrees and after a quick breakfast we were on our way just before 10:00am the goal is Fort Stockton.

Today's scenery out the window is quite different.

We made a stop in Langtry to visit the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center.  Who could resist? Certainly not us.  A part of history we have heard about in more westerns over the years then we can count. Now we have the opportunity to see the real thing. So we made a left turn off the highway and made our way to the visitor center. On first sight not exactly what we were hoping for.

Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center
We are here so we go in and then we see through the windows out back.

The Jersey Lily Saloon
1882-1908 "Law West of the Pecos" courtroom named
for Judge Roy Bean's idol Lily Langtry.

The Jersey Lily, still stands as it did when Roy Bean presided here.

When looking at the picture of the Jersey Lily Saloon. The Billiard Hall is on the right. 
The sign reads:  In this Billiard Hall Judge Roy Bean
and his visitors played for fun and profit.
The Judge died in this room on March 16, 1903.
He was buried in Del Rio.
Roy Bean's Billiard Table Legs.

We just had to take a "selfie" in front of the Jersey Lily.

Roy Bean's Opera House Town Hall and Seat of Justice.
Information taken from signs and brochures:  This was not an Opera House it was his home. He had lived in the original Jersey Lily but when it burned down in 1896 he rebuilt a smaller version of the Jersey Lily and built this separate residence. One of the many tales about his fascination with the actress, Lily Langtry, is that by naming it an Opera House he hoped to lure her to Langtry. Roy Bean never met his idol, though he may have seen her perform in San Antonia. It is said he sent her many letters inviting her to visit her town. She finally accepted but her only visit to Langtry was in 1904 less then a year after he died.

Railroad historians claim Langtry was named for one of their construction foremen, but no one told Lily Langtry this.

Roy Bean's home has been restored to its original condition by the Department of Transportation and became part of the visitor's center in 1998.

The furniture, donated by the Whitehead Museum of Del Rio in 1999, is typical of what would have been owned by Judge Roy Bean.

This stove, a near replica typical of those used in Texas during the late 19th century, stands in the exact location the one used by the Judge stood when he called the "Opera House" home.

There is an area of exposed adobe blocks demonstrating the method of construction used and the numerous materials used. Including dirt, horse and sheep manure, plant fiber and small animal bones.


There are a lot of legends about Roy Bean including one that says he was a hanging judge yet there is not record of him ever sentencing a man to be hanged. One of the harshest punishments in this outpost was expulsion.
He held court on the porch of this building as often as he did inside with spectators watching from horse back. His decisions, from what I have read, were swift and final backed up if necessary by his six-shooter which he kept on the table beside him.

So we ended our visit were we started at the Jersey Lily.

We continued on and arrived in Fort Stockton a little after 2:00pm. Since, it was still early in the day we thought we would grab a late lunch and fill up the gas tank and drive another hour or so. What we soon found out was that gas was not going to be easy to find because of the bad weather the trucks had not gotten through and there was a shortage. The lines were easily a couple blocks long at the one station we saw that had gas. So we used the Good Sam app, found a campground nearby, made a call and spent the night. Actually, after checking the weather out we spent two nights. Tom was able to fill up the tank the following lines.

You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation:
If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish.
                                                                     ~Author Unknown

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