About Brewster County
Brewster County lies in the deserts of the basin and range region of Texas. The Rio Grande River forms its southern boundary. The river makes a large bend to the south such that Brewster county extends further south than the counties on either side. Big Bend National Park is located on this bend in the river. 16,039 square miles are included in the county, making it the largest in Texas, and one of the largest in the United States. It covers more area than the state of Connecticut.
Mountains make up a major portion of the county. Many of them are modestly-sized, isolated peaks scattered through a country of mesas and hills. The major mountain ranges are the Glass Mountains, which extend across the northeast border of the county, the Del Norte Mountains, which run north and south near the city of Alpine, the Santiago Mountains, and the Chisos Mountains, which are found in Big Bend National Park. A major basin, or valley, is found in the central-northern part of the state, between the Glass Mountains and the Del Norte Mountains. This is where the towns of Alpine and Marathon are located. Two other flat areas are partially within the county, at the northern tip, and on the eastern edge. None of these "valleys" have regularly flowing rivers, and there is no significant agricultural region in the county. The Rio Grande, being the only river in the county, passes through narrow canyons and rugged areas not suitable for farming.
The population of Brewster County is 8,866, as of the year 2000. The elevation is generally around 4,000 feet, with mountains reaching into the six thousands. The Rio Grand River reaches to elevations below 2,000 feet. U.S. Highway 90 passes east-west through Alpine and Marathon, and U.S. Highway 385 travels north and south, ending at Big Bend National Park. The county is named after Henry Percy Brewster, a secretary of war for the Republic of Texas.