The Early Years
The Spanish had a name for this area: el despoblado, or uninhabited land. Before the railroad tied San
Antonia and El Paso together in 1882, there were few permanent settlers between Chihuahua,
Mexico and Forst Stockton, Texas. To Lieutenant William H. Echols, who viewed this land from camelback in 1860, it was a "picture of
barrenness and desolation."
When the railroad came, the settlements of Langtry, Sanderson, Marathon, Alpine, and Marfa were established and the despoblado yielded
to cattle ranching and mining.